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Senior Project FRESH/Market FRESH in Michigan

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June 27, 2022 - Author:

Senior Project FRESH/Market FRESH in Michigan

with Michigan State University Extension

 

Senior Project FRESH/Market FRESH (SPF), which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Bill, is a program aimed at older adults, helping them incorporate more fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet.  Senior Project Fresh was created to benefit the restricted income senior and a secondary benefit to the Michigan farmer.

While SPF is in all 83 counties in the State of Michigan, Michigan State University Extension is currently the lead agency, providing nutrition education and coupon distribution in 18 counties, and we provide nutrition education with other distributing agencies, this varies from year to year.

Things you should know:

  • Coupon distribution is on a first come - first serve basis.
  • While the coupons are received in your home county, it can be spent at any authorized market that accepts SPF coupons throughout the State of Michigan.
  • There are purchasing limitations.
  • Distribution is administered by a wide variety of agencies in the State of Michigan.  
  • The program runs from May 1 to October 31 of any given year.  Coupons expire on October 31 of a given year.
  • If you are receiving coupons from a MSU Extension staff person, you may need to attend a nutrition class, with more resources.  This can be attended in-person, by zoom video, zoom audio or over the telephone, depending on your home county.

Who is eligible:

All three (3) conditions must be met:  age, residency, and income

  • By age - Adults 60 years and older, or 55 and older and a member of a Michigan federally recognized tribe or urban tribal group.
  • By residency - you must live in the county where the coupons are being distributed.
  • By income - your income must be at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Guideline:

Household/Family Size

Annual Income

Monthly Income

1

$ 25,142

$2,095

2

$ 33,874

$2,822

3

$ 42,606

$3,550

4

$ 51,338

$4,278

5

$ 60,070

$5,005

 Limitations of the coupon: 

  • The coupon can only be spent at approved farm stands, roadside stands, farm markets and growers.  The vendor will usually have a sign indicating they accept Project FRESH/Senior Project FRESH coupons.  The agency distributing the coupons will have an idea where you can spend the coupons in your home county.
  • There are purchasing limitations:
    • Purchase is restricted to Michigan-grown produce, or produce that is grown in states bordering Michigan.  The the farmer or vendor may sell produce from other states, however, SPF coupons has this purchasing restriction.
    • No processed fruits and vegetables can be purchased with the coupon, like jellies, jams, pickles, canned produce, etc.
    • You cannot receive change after spending the coupon; it is best to supplement the coupon with cash.  For example:  Produce is $5.50, your choices are:
      • Spend one coupon at $5, plus 50 cents cash, or
      • Spend two coupons at $10, and lose the $4.50
    • Coupons are like cash, they cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.

What you get: 

  • One coupon booklet*:
    • Five (5) coupons of $5.00 each, a total of $25.00 for purchasing fresh fruit, vegetables, honey and/or herbs.
    • Coupons are contained in a holder, the holder must accompany the coupons at all times:
      • The holder only is signed by you or a *proxy before going to the market, or when you receive it in-person. 
      • At the market, you or a proxy will sign each coupon, in front of the farmer, when it is spent.  Your signature or that of your proxy on the holder, must match the signature on the coupon.  
      • *A proxy is a trusted individual who you authorize to spend the coupons on your behalf, when you are unable to go to the market yourself.  It may be helpful to let the person distributing the coupons know that you have a proxy,.
      • You are allowed up to two (2) proxies.   

 What do you need to provide to receive the coupons?

For 2022, this information may be collected in-person, by telephone for a web-based application or a paper application, or you may fill out a paper application yourself, depending on the county and/or agency distributing the coupons.

  • Name
  • Birth date
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity and race
  • Address
  • Number in household
  • Income eligibility, by accepting coupons or signing an application form, you indicate that you have seen, or you have received a copy of the current income guidelines, and your income does not exceed the income for the household limit.
  • Do you participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps?
  • Do you participate in other assistance programs, like home delivered meals, commodities, congregate meal sites, etc.           

 To find the lead agency doing education and distribution in your county of residence

(Source: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Aging and Adult Services Agency)

For Making Healthy Choices for Seniors newsletters

For instructions on Freezing and Blanching

For a Michigan produce availability guide

 

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