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Written by: Rachel Brauner

The state of nutrition among low-income older adults can vary depending on various factors such as access to affordable, nutritious foods, education about healthy eating habits, and socioeconomic status. You may already be familiar with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a vital resource for helping income-eligible households access nutritious food. But have you heard about the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)? This lesser-known program offers additional support specifically tailored to older adults. Those who qualify for SNAP or another means-tested assistance program may also be eligible for SFMNP benefits.

Understanding SFMNP: A Fresh Approach to Nutrition

Older adults living on fixed incomes may struggle to afford nutritious foods, especially if they face other expenses such as housing, healthcare, and medication costs. This financial strain can force them to prioritize cheaper, less nutritious options over healthier foods. The SFMNP is a valuable resource designed to enhance the diets of low-income older adults by providing access to fresh, locally-grown produce. Funded by the Farm Bill, this federal/state partnership distributes produce vouchers and offers nutrition education to eligible older adults, empowering them to make healthier food choices while supporting local farmers and economies.

Eligibility and Benefits

To qualify for SFMNP, individuals must be at least 60 years old with a household income not exceeding 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. While specific benefit amounts vary by location, eligible participants typically receive between $20 and $50 annually in the form of farmers’ market vouchers. Some state agencies may accept proof of participation in other means-tested programs, simplifying the application process.

SFMNP currently operates in 57 states. Identifying the agency that administers SFMNP in your state is the first step to accessing benefits. Check to see if your state agency operates an SFMNP. Application procedures may vary, so it’s essential to reach out directly to your local agency for guidance.

Making the Most of SFMNP: Nourishing Health and Community

While SFMNP benefits may seem modest, they can significantly impact low-income older adults’ grocery budgets, especially when combined with other assistance programs like SNAP. By leveraging both SFMNP and SNAP benefits at farmers’ markets, older adults can stretch their dollars further and access a wider variety of nutritious foods. By supporting local farmers, promoting healthy eating habits, and empowering older adults to make informed food choices, SFMNP contributes to individual well-being and strengthens communities. Eating well is essential at any age, and SFMNP is just one of the many resources available to help older adults maintain good health and vitality as they age.


Mabli, J, Ohls, J, Dragoset, L, Castner, L, Santos, B. (2013). Measuring the Effect of SNAP Participation on Food Security. Alexandria, VA: United States Department of Agriculture – Food and Nutrition Service. Available from .

Palakshappa, D., Garg, A., Peltz, A., Wong, C.A., Cholera, R., & Berkowitz, S.A. (2023). Food insecurity was associated with greater family health care expenditures in the US, 2016-17. Health Affairs, 42(1).

Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program | Food and Nutrition Service. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2024, from

Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program | Food and Nutrition Service. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2024, from

SFMNP Publication of the 2023-24 Income Eligibility Guidelines | Food and Nutrition Service. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2024, from

**Photo Source: iStockphoto/Alessandro Biascioli