University of Missouri Extension is partnering with the Missouri Department of Agriculture to help older adults access fresh, local foods this summer. Through the MDA’s Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, MU Extension will help distribute vouchers to income-eligible people age 60 and older in the Kansas City area starting in May.
The program will operate in 46 counties statewide in 2021, working with partners to provide seniors with 10 vouchers of $5 each to redeem for fresh fruit, vegetables, honey and herbs at participating farmers markets.
MU Extension nutrition educators will conduct outreach at senior housing and community centers to distribute vouchers to more than 800 consumers in Ray, Platte, Jackson, Clay and Cass counties, said Lorin Fahrmeier, MU Extension farm to institution project coordinator. They will also explore pop-up markets and other ideas to help seniors make use of the vouchers, she said. Radio, television and social media messages will help spread the word.
“Food insecurity is a big issue for aging adults,” Fahrmeier said. “Giving seniors the ability to get fresh local produce throughout the growing season while helping local farmers boost their sales is a great win-win for everyone.”
This outreach effort complements MU Extension projects such as ShowMeFood.org, a website that connects consumers and local food growers, and SeasonalAndSimple.info, which provides recipes and preparation tips for in-season fruits and vegetables in Missouri.