14 May 2024

New Program Partners Senior FarmShare, Farmers Markets

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With its 23rd season underway, the Maine Senior FarmShare Program (MSFP) is excited to announce a growing partnership with the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets

This year, some Maine farmers’ markets will allow older adults to sign up for MSFP at the market’s information booth instead of with an individual market vendor. After enrollment, participants will receive $50 in vouchers of $5 and $1 denominations. Each voucher may be spent directly on fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, or honey sold by any vendor in that market.

Eleven farmers’ markets across the state – including Bar Harbor, Dover-Foxcroft, Fairfield, Skowhegan, Portland, and more – are included in this new program model, which is an expansion of a 2023 pilot initiative at three farmers’ markets in the state. To be placed on a list for your preferred market, email SeniorFarmShare.AGR@maine.gov or call (207) 287-3491.

In addition to the new partnerships with Maine farmers’ markets, MSFP will continue as usual at more than 100 farms across all 16 counties, with older adults enrolling at farm stands, farm stores, and individual farmers’ booths at farmers’ markets. Enrollment is rolling through September 30 and is first-come, first-served.

To be eligible to participate, a person must:

  • Be a Maine resident
  • Be at least 60 years old (or at least 55 years old if Native American)
  • Have an income at or below:
    • $27,861 per year for a one-person household
    • $37,814 per year for a two-person household

Program participants receive a $50 value of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and honey produced by Maine farmers. Some farms deliver pre-selected shares to older adults, while others operate it more like a $50 farm credit, allowing participants to shop for what they would like.

MSFP is one of a few federal nutrition assistance programs that can be used to purchase local food at Maine farmers’ markets. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants & Children (WIC) also allow customers to buy local food at farmers’ markets. When shopping with SNAP, shoppers can earn Maine Harvest Bucks – dollar-for-dollar bonus vouchers to redeem on more local fruits and vegetables. Check the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets website for an up-to-date listing of which markets accept which forms of currency.

The Maine Senior FarmShare Program is housed within the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF) and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. Enrollment for the market-wide Maine Senior FarmShare Program will begin on June 1. For more information, visit the Maine Senior FarmShare page on DACF’s website, email SeniorFarmShare.AGR@maine.gov, or call (207) 287-3491.