Free local produce available to low-income families

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State officials are encouraging people to eat healthy this summer, but they know that can be difficult for those living on a lower income.

One program is looking to help. 

The Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program provides access to locally grown, healthy food for families and older Pennsylvanians.

“Everyone can get healthy in the summertime. A great way to do that is come to some of our farmer’s markets across Pennsylvania,” Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Loren Robinson said.

Farmer’s markets are an easy way to buy fresh produce from local growers. but eating healthy and buying local isn’t always so easy for those on a tight budget.

“We know that it’s hard on a low income. It’s hard if you don’t have a job right now to be able to provide for your families. We want to make sure that we’re providing for Pennsylvanians,” Robinson said.

The Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program allows seniors and families on low incomes to get fresh produce from farmer’s markets for free.

“It’s a way of ensuring that there’s some fresh produce, some fresh, local products in people’s diets,” Agriculture Department spokeswoman Shannon Powers said.

Vouchers are available through November. Seniors must be at least 60 years old and have an income that’s no more than 185 percent of the federal poverty level – about $30,000 for a two-person household. 

But the program is now available to women and children in the WIC program. Powers says it’s a win-win, not only for recipients but area farmers as well.

“There’s a real personal touch at a farmer’s market, and you know that produce is grown locally and that money goes back into our economy,” she said.

You can find a list of participating markets available here.

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