Our Work

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

The purposes of the SFMNP are to provide fresh nutritious, unprepared foods (such as fruits and vegetables) from farmers markets to low income senior citizens who are nutritionally at risk, and to expand the awareness and use of farmers markets, as well as increase sales at such markets.

The SFMNP offers coupons $5 denominations to seniors who participate. Participants can redeem the coupons at authorized farmers markets to purchase Alaskan grown fresh fruits and vegetables. The farmers are reimbursed for the coupons through United Way of Mat-Su, thereby increasing farmer earnings.

There are approximately 25,000 senior citizens living in the south central region that includes Anchorage, Kenai and the Mat-Su Borough. Approximately 12% of these senior citizens receive public assistance. Beneficiaries of the SFMNP include senior citizens over the age of 60 who are residents of Alaska and meet low income guidelines. In the south central area that includes Anchorage, Kenai and Mat-Su, there are approximately 3500 senior citizens who qualify for the SFMNP. 

The nutritional value of eating fresh produce is well documented in medical research, as is the fact that many senior citizens are nutritionally at risk. In addition to the physical benefits of eating fresh produce, seniors who participate in the SFMNP report that they enjoy the social experience of shopping at local markets. United Way of Mat-Su has partner relationships with the local senior centers and our office is located in Wasilla, where many beneficiaries of the SFMNP receive services.

Additional beneficiaries are the farmers. Forty-one farmers from throughout Mat-Su and Kenai participated in the SFMNP in FY08.  Those farmers redeemed 10,556 coupons, receiving a total cash benefit of $52,780.00. Coupons redeemed exceeded the State’s expectation by 1400 coupons and by $7001.00 than what was projected.

United Way of Mat-Su appreciates the opportunity to participate in the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program.  It is a great benefit to our senior citizens as well as local farmers.  We have participated since the program’s inception in 2001 and will be happy to continue our participation in the future. Overall, the program is very well received by seniors and farmers alike.