Help us ensure older adults have access to fruits & veggies
March 30, 2021
Each year, from May through September, the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides checks redeemable for fresh produce to low-income seniors at distribution points throughout the state. Administered nationally by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services Agency, in California the program is operated by the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), in partnership with 31 of California’s Area Agencies on Aging.
Last year, the closure of many of the distribution points for the checks, uncertainty around farmers’ market operations throughout the state, and the strict stay-at-home recommendations for seniors as a high-risk group pitched this beneficial program into uncertainty – at a time when supporting the nutritional needs of older adults has become more crucial than ever. CDFA’s top priority in food assistance, like CAFB’s, has been ensuring food security for those in need.
In April 2020, CDFA team asked CAFB’s Farm to Family program to administer fresh produce boxes to seniors. With a group of stakeholders and advisors that included Community Alliance with Family Farmers, California Farm Bureau Federation, CA Department of Social Services, and CAFB member food banks who operate senior food programs, a new program model was born to meet this moment. CAFB issued a Request for Proposals and farmers submitted bids for picking, packing, and shipping boxes to seven food banks and partner agencies across the state. Throughout August and September 2020, participating food banks received a total of 20,242 boxes to distribute.
CAFB is proud to support this program again this year. SFMNP boxes will be provided to nine food banks throughout the state, who will in turn distribute them to older adults in their communities.
If you are a farmer or aggregator that’s interested in supporting this program, the Requests for Proposal opens today, March 30, with a deadline of April 30, 2021. Awardees will be selected in May with shipments to food banks throughout June and July.
Please reach out to Maria Houlne, director of Farm to Family at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.