Farmers Market Nutrition Program or FMNP checks and WIC Vegetable & Fruit Checks are both excellent sources of revenue for farmers and important resources for providing fresh produce to families.
WIC FMNP Checks give eligible, low-income pregnant or nursing mothers, infants and children who are enrolled in the NYS Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC), $4 checks (for a total of $24/year) that can only be used at farmers' markets to purchase local, fresh vegetables and fruits. The checks are received at WIC sites during regular check distribution appointments.
Senior FMNP Checks provide eligible, low-income senior citizens living in New York State with $4 checks (for a total of $20/year) that can only be used at farmers' markets to purchase local, fresh vegetables and fruits. Eligibility is based on age and income; 60 years or older and income no more than 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. The checks are given out by local Office for the Aging sites.
In order for farmers to participate in FMNP and accept the checks, they must:
This paperwork must be submitted by a farmers' market manager to New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Once the paperwork is accepted, the farmer will receive laminated signs that must be displayed stating, "We Gladly Accept NYS Farmers' market Checks." The farmer will also receive a check cancellation stamp, stamp pad, and farmer ID card. The signed ID card must be presented with the cancelled (stamped) FMNP checks at the bank. It is important to note that farmers must re-apply annually. Additionally, only locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables may be purchased with these checks. Other locally grown goods, such as eggs, honey or baked goods cannot be purchased.
WIC Vegetable and Fruit Checks can be used by WIC recipients at grocery stores as well as farmers' markets. This newer program, started in 2009, provides all WIC enrolled families with $6 and $10 checks. These checks can be used to purchase fresh, local produce from authorized farmers. Farmers can become authorized to accept these checks with the caveat that they must first be authorized by NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to participate in FMNP. Additionally, farmers must:
At the farmers' market farmers must:
New York State FMNP Partners
NYS Department of Ag & Markets, http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/
NYS Office for the Aging, http://www.aging.ny.gov/
NYS Department of Health, http://www.health.state.ny.us/
Cornell University, www.cornell.edu
Information for Farmers and Market Managers, http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/