SC Senior farmers market nutrition program expands to all 46 counties

Fields Market Farms on Johns Island is just one of many farmers markets across the state...
Fields Market Farms on Johns Island is just one of many farmers markets across the state participating in the senior farmers market nutrition program.(Live 5)
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 4:53 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2022 at 4:11 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The United States Department of Agriculture’s senior farmers market nutrition program is back. Through the South Carolina Department of Social Services, low-income seniors can access fresh local produce.

For the first time, the program is going statewide. Eligible seniors in all 46 counties will have access to fresh fruits and veggies, not just those in rural or urban areas.

Eligible seniors 60 and older will be given 25 dollars’ worth of vouchers to be used at participating roadside stands and farmers markets from June 1st through the fall. This program is funded by a grant through the USDA.

Connelly-Anne Ragley with DSS says there are a few changes to the application process this year. One of the biggest changes is eligible recipients must complete their application in person at an approved location. Recipients will also be able to get their vouchers the same day.

Ragley says this program not only helps seniors in the state but local farmers as well.

“We know that being able to help South Carolina farmers directly by purchasing these items through stands, vendors, and markets really will help put that money back in the economy,” Ragley says.

Juanita Pinckney and her son Devonne Hammond own and run Fields Market Farm on Johns Island. Hammond says this 3rd generation family business has been part of this program since about the start, and it’s a great way for them to provide for their community.

“From the farmers’ vantage point, we are able to reach probably a lot of consumers who otherwise may not be able to afford to get fresh produce,” Hammond says.

Fields Market Farm says even when they aren’t open, they are and love to connect and serve their community, and others across the state are gearing up to do the same.

DSS says eligible seniors can only apply at a designated location in the county they live in.

Click here for eligibility and designated application locations.

Participating markets can be found here.

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