Heuvelton's Ritchie secures $500,000 in state budget to deliver fresh fruit, vegetables to St. Lawrence County seniors
State Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, secured $500,000 in the recent state budget that aims to deliver farm fresh fruits and vegetables to area seniors at no cost from farmers markets across Northern New York.
This is the third straight year Senator Ritchie has delivered funding to continue the “Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program,” which gives $20 coupons to seniors living on a fixed income that are age 60 and over that can be redeemed for fresh food at local farmers markets.Thousands of local seniors throughout the region have benefited from this program, which also helps boost the bottom lines for New York farmers. This year, more than 2,000 local seniors will be able to benefit from the program.
The 2017-2018 state budget saw record support for agriculture–totaling $51 million–to boost dozens of programs farmers depend on, as well as launch new initiatives designed to strengthen the connection between consumers and local foods.
“Across our region, farmers markets are in full swing, offering people fresh, healthy foods and more,” said Senator Ritchie, who serves as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “When people shop at a farmers market, they not only are able to purchase nutritious foods, they are also helping to support our agriculture industry. I was pleased to secure funding to continue this program to make it easier for seniors to eat healthy and local.”
Monthly income maximums for receiving coupons are, for a household of one, $1,860; household of two, $2,504; and a household of three, $3,149.
For more information on how to receive coupons, seniors must contact the St. Lawrence County Office for the Aging at 315-386-4730.
In addition, Senator Ritchie is also announcing that her annual 2017 Farmers Market Guide is now available, which highlights markets across St. Lawrence County. The guide is available at www.ritchie.nysenate.gov or 315-782-3418.