Warm weather has finally arrived in Minnesota and for the more than 650,000 AARP members in the state that means hiking, biking, canoeing and farmers markets. Farmers markets are a great Midwestern tradition where shoppers have access to nutritious, locally grown produce and local producers have access to a crucial marketplace.
See also: 7 tips for shopping farmers markets
Farmers markets also provide a key resource for low income seniors to access affordable, nutritious produce through the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Senior Farmers Market Program. Under the program seniors who participate in Minnesota’s Food Support program can use their benefit at more than 140 participating farmers markets across the state.
AARP’s Drive to End Hunger is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in need has access to affordable and nutritious food. AARP believes that no one – of any age – should go hungry. Unfortunately, in the days of $4 dollar gasoline and skyrocketing medical costs more and more people are struggling to afford food.
Nationally there are more than 4 million Americans over the age of 50 who qualify for some level of nutrition assistance but fewer than 50% of those eligible are actually enrolled.
Participation in the farmers market program also helps strengthen Minnesota’s rural economy. According to USDA, every $5 spent through the Food Support program creates nearly $10 in economic activity in our state.
Find a participating farmers market online. To find out if you are eligible or contact the Minnesota Food Helpline at 888-711-1151.