Keeping people healthy
MSU Extension improves nutrition for community seniors.
Improving nutrition for Michigan seniors
Senior Market FRESH/Project FRESH in Michigan provides seniors who qualify with unprocessed, fresh Michigan-grown produce from registered Farmers Markets and roadside stands throughout Michigan. In Michigan, Senior Project FRESH is managed by the Office of Services to the Aging. MSU Extension provides nutrition classes and distributes coupons. To qualify, a senior must be 60-years of age or older, have total household income of 185 percent of poverty or less, and live in the county where the coupons are issued.
Vegetables and fruits offer important vitamins and minerals to keep us healthy. Most of these foods have little fat and no cholesterol, and are a good source of fiber. Eating more fiber may help with digestion and constipation, and help to lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
Senior Market FRESH is free for seniors and for participating farm markets. It allows seniors to benefit from eating more fresh fruits and vegetables during the summer and helps boost Michigan’s local economy. The coupons can only be used at Farm markets and not at grocery stores or supermarkets. Eligible items that can be purchased include any Michigan-grown fruit or vegetables such as strawberries, lettuce, cabbage, blueberries, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, squash, tomatoes, watermelon, apples, potatoes, onions, beans, etc., as well as honey and some herbs.
Through the partnership with the Gratiot County Commission on Aging and Michigan State University Extension, over 100 Gratiot County seniors were provided with the $20 coupon books in 2017. These coupons provided extra dollars to local seniors for fresh fruits and vegetables, and meant additional income for our local Farmers Markets and growers. RoxAnne White, a SNAP-Ed Program Instructor with MSU Extension was in charge of providing the educational component and coupon distribution at senior centers throughout the county. The eligible seniors were very happy and grateful to receive the coupons.