Free farm shares available for eligible Maine seniors

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 8:30am

The Maine Senior FarmShare Program will provide 16,000 senior citizens with free fresh produce this year. Eligible Maine seniors can sign up through farmers in their area, starting immediately. Qualified participants will receive $50 of fresh produce during the season from one of approximately 100 participating farms.

Seniors contact participating farmers directly to sign up for the program. Farmers sign up seniors on a first-come, first-served basis, and the number of Senior FarmShares is limited at each farm.

“We’re excited to provide so many seniors with free Senior FarmShares,” said Donna Murray, program manager, in a news release from the Maine Dept. of Agriculture. “In a recent survey, 91 percent of the seniors reported that they ate more fruits and vegetables because of the Maine Senior FarmShare Program and over 98 percent would like to participate in the program again. Our farmers love the interaction with the program recipients and, of course, it helps them financially as well.”

Participating Maine farmers provide the produce in a variety of ways. Seniors pick up their produce at a specific farmers’ market, or at their farm or farm stand. Some farmers offer delivery to seniors at their homes or housing sites. Farmers provide a broad range of produce during the growing season. FarmShare produce includes fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

To qualify, a participant must be a Maine resident, at least 60 years old, and have a household income of not more than 185 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines ($22,459/individual; $30,451/two-person household).

Seniors can contact the Maine Area Agency on Aging at 877-353-3771 to find a participating farmer. Participating farmers can also be found online at

The Maine Senior FarmShare Program is run by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The US Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) funds the program. Based on a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, a Senior FarmShare is an agreement between a participating farmer and a qualified senior for $50 of fresh produce.

For more information, contact Donna Murray, Program Manager, Maine Senior FarmShare Program, 207-287-7526, or visit: Maine Senior Farmshare on

Comments received on the Maine Senior FarmShare Program from participating seniors:

“I really appreciate the FarmShare Program. As a senior on a fixed income, I wouldn’t enjoy as many fresh vegetables without it.”

“I hope everyone appreciates this program as much as I do. I love veggies and had a garden all my life. At 93, I just can’t anymore, but I am still on my own!”

“Eating delicious, fresh, and beautiful veggies was very good for my health! And getting to talk with friends that I don’t see very often was good for my soul!”

“I am in my 80s, a vet of WWII and Korea, and I think the FarmShare is something to be so thankful for.”

“The quality, freshness, and very generous bags full—delivered to our Senior Apartment Complex!”

“Thank you for giving me the produce; I never knew how much better tasting fresh veggies were!”

From a Participating Farmer:

“Many of our senior participants have had gardens of their own and we have learned a great deal from their experiences and have received some wonderful recipes from them. Our seniors have so much knowledge and experience that we feel lucky to be able to get to know them better. We love being able to give out produce and, of course, the program gives us a big financial boost in the springtime when we need it most. We are so grateful for our seniors and for this program.”