The Union Recorder

July 25, 2013

Farmers market to provide seniors with nutritious produce

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Area low-income senior citizens will have the opportunity to purchase fresh, nutritious, locally-grown produce during the annual state-sponsored Senior Farmers’ Market.

Slated from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday at the Collins P. Lee Center located at 237 Harrisburg Road, the Senior Farmers’ Market is a joint effort of the Middle Georgia Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging (MGRCAAA), Baldwin County Parks and Recreation Department, Milledgeville Community Garden Association (MCGA) and First Presbyterian Church.

“This is something that is offered annually to all counties in Georgia. A limited number of low-income senior residents 60 years and older in each county are provided $20 vouchers to enable them to buy fresh, seasonal produce from local farmers who are trained to participate in this market, which is held across the state during the summer,” said Debbie Harshbarger, MCGA board member. “We decided to hold the Seniors Farmers Market at the Collins P. Lee Center this year as a way to draw positive attention to the way the center is being developed as a community resource. We’re excited to offer this event there and bring in residents from Baldwin and Jones counties.”

Palmer Elias Farm LLC of Sparta will be on site at the market as the sole participating vendor to offer seasonal fruits and vegetables. 

“We will have bell pepper, cabbage, peaches, tomatoes, onions, cantaloupes and other produce. Those who have applied for the $20 voucher can receive four or five items,” said George Palmer with the area farm, also a vendor at the monthly Fall Line Farmers Market. “This program is designed for seniors to have healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables.”

As of last Friday, more than 70 seniors received a voucher for this week’s market. The deadline to receive vouchers has passed.

“Because we have been approved by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to process SNAP benefits and EBT cards, participants in the program can also have access to the Senior Farmers’ Market in addition to any customers shopping with the vouchers provided to them,” Harshbarger said. 

The Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services (DAS) and Division of Public Health (DPH) announced the launch of the Georgia Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program in 2006 in five selected areas of the state, including Fulton County, and the LaGrange, Savannah, Augusta and Columbus areas. Around 2,200 low-income Georgians aged 60 and older were served that year through the program.

“We’re targeting local seniors at this event as an opportunity for not only them, but everyone to purchase nutritious, seasonal produce from the local farmers at affordable prices,” Harshbarger said.

For more information about the annual event, or if local farmers are interested in participating in future Senior Farmers’ Markets, call Nicole Gaither of the MGRCAAA at 478-751-6466.

Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder e-edition and view this full article.