New changes to Michigan WIC program coming in 2024

Learn more about how Michigan WIC Project FRESH, now called WIC Produce Connection, is set to shift away from paper coupons, and provide benefits electronically through WIC EBT cards.

A mother and child grocery shopping for produce.
Photo courtesy of USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The Michigan Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program is a supplemental nutrition program that serves people who are pregnant, post-partum and breastfeeding/chestfeeding, as well as infants and children up to age five. WIC services are based on income and offer nutrition education, supplemental food, breastfeeding support and healthcare referrals. The USDA Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), which is administered by Michigan WIC and formerly known as Project FRESH, promotes locally grown fruits and vegetables from farmers, farmers markets, and authorized roadside stands in Michigan.

In 2024, Michigan WIC participants can look forward to changes in Project FRESH, which is now known as "WIC Produce Connection." This change is aimed at making fresh and locally grown fruits and vegetables more accessible to participants enrolled in the WIC program. The same qualifying, unprepared fruits and vegetables grown in Michigan will continue to be approved foods.

Some upcoming changes:

  • The program name has changed from WIC Project FRESH to WIC Produce Connection.
  • Instead of paper coupons, participants will have their benefits loaded directly onto their WIC Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.
  • Authorized growers, or farmers, rather than farmers markets, will be the primary providers of fresh produce to allow for more direct interaction between participants and growers.
  • Participants can now use their Cash Value Benefits (CVB) alongside their WIC Produce Connection benefits at an authorized grower. This will allow for more options in purchasing nutritious foods.
  • These changes will include new signage on authorized growers' stands. Training will be set up for market managers, authorized growers, local agency staff, state staff and participants. Also, there will be updates made to publications, brochures, nutrition lessons and quick reference guides.
  • The expiration date for WIC Produce Connection benefits has been extended from October 31 to November 30, giving participants more time to use their benefits.

Further details and updates on Michigan WIC Produce Connection are expected as the rollout approaches in the summer of 2024.

WIC supports one out of every two babies born in Michigan. Michigan State University (MSU) Extension supports Michigan WIC and offers nutrition education programs to families with infants and/or children, including pregnant or breastfeeding parents.

Contact your local Michigan State University Extension office for support and/or classes on how to plan and prepare healthy meals using fresh produce.

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