Free, fresh produce still available for eligible seniors

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Shawna Kelsey with the Troy Farmerís Market helps people out at the information booth on Friday, June 1. (Ben Kibbey/The Western News file photo)

There are still 20 spots open for area seniors to receive vouchers for $50 to purchase fresh produce at the Troy Farmerís Market.

The vouchers are available through the U.S. Department of Agricultureís Senior Farmerís Market Nutrition Program, and available to area residents over 60 who have a household income not more than 185 percent of the federal poverty level.

Based on poverty guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for 2018, an individual household with $22,499 or less annual income, or a two-person household with $30,451 or less, would meet the 185 percent threshold.

The vouchers can be spent on fresh produce or Montana honey.

Shawna Kelsey with the Troy Farmerís Market said she hopes the program will not only help local residents to eat more nutritiously, but also encourage them to get out to the market and visit and interact with their community.

However, even for seniors who canít make it to the farmerís market every week, they can designate one proxy to pick up their produce that they use the vouchers to purchase, Kelsey said.

Residents who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can also receive credit to purchase an additional $10 in fresh produce when they use their benefits at the Farmerís Market.

Though the assistance programs are restricted to produce or ó with the voucher ó honey, there are many other foodstuffs at the market as well, such as baked goods and stone-ground flour from locally-grown grains.

Residents can inquire further about both programs and apply to participate at the weekly Troy Farmerís Market, held on the lawn of the Troy Museum every Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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