The Maine SeniorFarmShare Program (MSFP) is a federally funded program that provides eligible seniors with a $50 farmshare at no charge to spend on produce with an authorized local farmer. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) has operated the program since 2001. This season, 98 farms participated, and served more than 16,300 seniors. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the program.
“At the start of this season, we really didn’t know what to expect,” said Donna Murray, the MSFP Program Manager. “We were concerned that the pandemic would really impair the program this year. But we were able to adjust, most importantly by allowing seniors to sign up by phone. And our farmers were phenomenal in the support they provided to ensure Maine’s seniors received their shares of nutritious local produce.”
I think this was one of the most difficult years that we have ever had to go through as farmers, dealing with the drought, with COVID19, and making so many changes with all the new rules and recommendations. But as a whole I am very proud of us farmers. I think we helped each other out and overcame all the obstacles that we had to go through and made it a successful and safe year for our farms and our seniors. I am very proud to be a farmer this year.-Piscataquis County Farmer
A confidential survey is available online at www.maine.gov/dacf/seniorfarmshare for seniors who participated in the 2020 season. Participating in the survey will help track and improve the program. Seniors interested in participating next year may also take the survey. Signup for the program begins each year in April, and shares often fill quickly, so interested seniors should watch for announcements in the spring. It’s a great way for Maine seniors to access local foods directly from area farms. Said one Kennebec County resident, “My farmer is always there to help me and I love the program! The farmers are always so nice. I definitely eat more vegetables because of this program.” Learn more about the nutritional benefits of the MSFP and the fruits and vegetables it provides by reading our Real Maine Nutrition blog posts!
Seniors: Please take our survey to help improve the program!