Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Joins USDA Senior Farmers Market Nutrition ProgramFri, 07 Aug 2015 12:02:59 CDT
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Friday announced that the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will become the 52nd state agency to operate the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). The program is part of USDA's efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of seniors, ensuring that all older Americans have access to healthy food.
"Seniors represent a particularly vulnerable demographic to food insecurity, with unique health, social, and nutrition challenges," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "This issue has a particular importance for seniors living in rural areas, as America's rural population is older than the nation overall and rural seniors experience higher poverty than seniors nationwide. The Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program is one way USDA is working to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults, ensuring that all older Americans have access to healthy food."
The program provides access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables to at least 800,000 low-income older Americans in 43 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and with the addition of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, eight Indian Tribal Organizations. In fiscal year 2014, SFMNP coupons for fresh produce were accepted by over 20,000 farmers at farmers markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs.
Farmers markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support farmers and help grow rural economies. The SFMNP benefits local farmers by increasing the sustainability of the land and of the local economy through bringing additional customers to their markets.
In partnership with other local organizations, the program also provides nutrition education to encourage recipients to improve and expand their diets by adding fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as educate them on how to select, store and prepare the fresh fruits and vegetables they buy with their SFMNP coupons.
For more information about the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, click here.
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