Free farm shares available for eligible Maine seniors

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 10:45am

AUGUSTA, Maine - Free-local-fresh produce for eligible Maine seniors! 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 worth of fresh produce during the season from one of approximately 100 local 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, the program manager. She continued, “In a recent survey 91% of the seniors reported that they ate more fruits and vegetables because of the Maine Senior FarmShare Program and over 98% 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, be 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 http://www.getrealmaine.com

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, donna.murray@maine.gov or visit: Maine Senior Farmshare on GetRealMaine.com