Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program in Georgia
The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) in Georgia began in 2008 as a partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services (DAS) and the Department of Public Health (DPH). Those eligible for SFMNP benefits are low-income senior citizens, who will receive coupons from the program to obtain free fresh produce and other eligible foods at farmer’s markets, roadside stands and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs. The Georgia DPH manages the SFMNP application process in GA and offers nutrition education to beneficiaries through other participating state agencies. In addition to informing seniors of the nutritional value of fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, education is provided on how to select, store and prepare the foods purchased with SFMNP coupons. To learn more about the SFMNP, including how to apply for SFMNP benefits in GA and eligibility requirements for the program, continue reading below.
Georgia SFMNP Eligibility Guidelines
Eligibility for SFMNP in Georgia is based on income and age. Low-income seniors meet SFMNP eligibility requirements if they are 60 years of age or older and meet the program’s maximum income requirement. At the state’s discretion, others may be eligible for SFMNP, including Native Americans and certain disabled individuals who are younger than 60 years of age. Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program eligibility must be certified on an annual basis and the previous year’s participation cannot simply be carried over into the new year. To learn more about qualifying for SFMNP benefits in GA, including specific income requirements, you can download our comprehensive guide.
How to Apply for SFMNP Benefits in Georgia
Those wondering how to apply for SFMNP in Georgia must contact the Georgia Department of Public Health. Because the SFMNP application process may vary by location, you can ask the customer service associate what documentation is required to apply for SFMNP in your area. If you already receive another means-tested assistance benefit, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or Section 8 housing assistance, you are automatically eligible to receive SFMNP benefits. If not, your GA SFMNP application may require you to provide proof of income for each person in your household.
After completing the SFMNP application process, you will be notified of your approval to participate or your application may be denied. If you are shown eligible to receive SFMNP benefits, your local program coordinator can provide you with a list of the closest participating farmers’ markets, roadside stands and CSA programs. If your Georgia application for SFMNP benefits is denied, you may appeal the decision unless it was based on a lack of state funds to support new SFMNP enrollees. You have 30 days from the date the agency issued your denial letter to appeal their decision. For more specific information to help you apply for SFMNP benefits in GA, you can download our complimentary guide today.
Foods Available Through the Georgia SFMNP
The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) in Georgia provides low income senior citizens with access to a wide variety of fresh, nutritious foods. All items eligible for SFMNP reimbursement must be purchased at local farmers’ markets, roadside stands or community-supported agriculture program locations. SFMNP eligible foods must not be processed or prepared beyond their natural state except for regular harvesting and cleaning procedures. You may use your SFMNP coupons to purchase locally-grown fruits and vegetables, fresh-cut herbs and some forms of honey.
For foods with GA SFMNP eligibility, the definition of “locally grown” may extend beyond Georgia’s borders into adjacent states, but no further. Foods not eligible for SFMNP include the following, even if they are locally grown and readily available at a farmers’ market or roadside stand:
- Dried fruits and vegetables, including prunes, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes, dried chili peppers and dried herbs
- Potted fruit or vegetable plants and potted herbs
- Whipped, sugared, creamed, dried, flavored, infused or pasteurized honey
- Meat, eggs, cheese or seafood
These are just some examples of ineligible food items. All foods purchased with Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program coupons should be consumed by the participant, and are not meant to be shared with non-participating household members. When shopping for Georgia SFMNP eligible foods, be sure to look for vendors displaying a sign stating that they are authorized to redeem SFMNP coupons.
When does the Georgia SFMNP operate?
After applying for SFMNP benefits in GA, you may wonder when you can use your coupons. Most Georgia SFMNP benefits are available during the summer and early fall months only. This is because most crops grown in Georgia are harvested between May and October. The SFMNP application process includes guidelines stating that no coupons may be redeemed after November 30 of each year.