Mississippi Farmers Market Nutrition Program
Purvie Green, Program Coordinator
P.O. Box 1609 / Jackson, MS 39215
Telephone: 601.359.1100 / Fax: 601.354.6290
The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce along with other state partners coordinates two (2) programs that bridge together farmers with consumers and low-income residents, the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP) and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).
OVERVIEW OF THE WIC FMNP
The WIC FMNP is a unique program designed to provide nutrition benefits to WIC clients and promote the purchase of Mississippi grown fruits and vegetables from farmers at local farmers’ markets throughout Mississippi.
Specially printed checks are provided on a one-time basis to participants enrolled in WIC in communities with farmers’ markets. Checks issued by designated staff members at local Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) Program agency sites are redeemed by participants for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers participating in the program. WIC program recipients certified by the designated staff will receive a one-time benefit of $15 (5 checks valued at $3 each).
Farmers’ markets are selected for the program based on specific criteria agreed upon between the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce and the Mississippi State Department of Health. These criteria include proximity to WIC nutrition sites, WIC target nutrition areas, and areas of farm produce availability. As these sites are chosen, MDAC will train and certify farmers/ market managers and participating farmers.
The FMNP begins in June or July with the distribution of checks to eligible recipients. The checks will be valid for use at all authorized farmers’ markets until October. The program will end in October. Since no change is given to program recipients, if a check is less than the printed denomination value, farmers are encouraged to make up the difference with additional produce items.
Currently, the program takes place in Bolivar, Hinds, Holmes, Lauderdale, Noxubee, Sunflower, and Warren counties.
OVERVIEW OF THE SENIOR FMNP
The Senior FMNP is a unique program designed to provide more access to good nutrition for low-income senior citizens in certain areas of Mississippi and to promote the purchase of Mississippi grown fruits and vegetables from farmers at local farmers’ markets throughout Mississippi.
The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce along with the Mississippi Department of Human Services conducted a senior FMNP pilot project in 2002 and 2003. Beginning in 2004, the 2 agencies began to operate the program through USDA grant funds. Specially printed checks are provided on a one-time basis to participants above the age of 60 and receiving services from the Area Agency on Aging in communities where farmers’ markets are present. Checks may be issued by designated staff members in June or July at: local congregate feeding sites, through home delivered meals, and Medicaid waiver recipients and are redeemed by participants for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers participating in the program. The recipients certified by the designated staff received a one-time benefit of $28 (7 checks valued at $4 each).
The Senior Program has been made possible by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and will affect up to 4,000 seniors in Adams, Carroll, Desoto, Forrest, Harrison, Hinds, Holmes, Lawrence, Leflore, Lowndes, Marion, Oktibbeha and Walthall Counties and other areas throughout south Mississippi.