Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

July 21, 2016

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces Expanded Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

Program Benefits Now Available for Individuals, Expanded Beyond Household

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that $2 million in Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks are now available for eligible individuals across the state. The program provides checks to low-income New Yorkers age 60 and older to purchase $20 worth of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables from participating local farmers’ markets and farm stands. For the first time, program benefits are being provided on an individual basis instead of per household, expanding the reach of the program to more older New Yorkers. 

Commissioner Ball said, “Governor Cuomo has made it a priority to ensure thousands of New Yorkers have access to fresh, healthy foods at affordable prices through programs like the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. By implementing this new policy that will provide checks redeemable at a participating farmers’ market to individuals rather than by household, even more seniors will be able to take advantage of the program this year, while supporting the hundreds of farmers that take part in the community markets.”

In upstate communities, checks are now available at county area Offices for the Aging. Older adults can also access checks at the following Commodity Supplemental Food Program sites downstate:

  • Kings County Hospital Center, Brooklyn
  • Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rockville Centre, Long Island; and
  • New York Common Pantry, Manhattan 

Additionally in New York City, checks will be available for pick up at congregate meal sites designated by the NYC Department for the Aging starting in July.

Approximately 120,000 booklets consisting of five $4.00 checks will be distributed this year, allowing for the purchase of fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables from 950 farmers vending at over 600 farmers’ markets and farm stands across the state. A pocket folder with instructions on how and where to use the checks to purchase fresh, local fruits and vegetables from farmers at the market will be included with each booklet. Checks can be used at participating farmers’ markets and farm stands through November 30 of this year.

The Senior FMNP is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the New York State Office for the Aging, the New York City Department for the Aging and the New York State Department of Health. For the second consecutive year, additional funding has been provided in the New York State Budget to expand the United States Department of Agriculture’s program.  Nutrition education is provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Eligible recipients must be age 60 or older and meet the income eligibility requirement—$1,832 or less per month for a single or $2,470 per month for a couple— or affirm that they are currently receiving or eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or public assistance or Section 8 housing subsidy. Recipients cannot have received Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program checks from any other location.

New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said, “Governor Cuomo’s leadership will enable more older New Yorker’s to access this important health program. In addition to helping support the farming community, many of which are older themselves, this vital program improves the health, wellness and independence of lower income older adults by providing nutrient rich, locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables.”

New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker said, “We know that eating well is so important for the health of all New Yorkers, especially our aging population.  Governor Cuomo’s initiative will provide seniors with access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables through our state’s exceptional farmers’ markets, and the expanded reach of the program will allow even more seniors to benefit from high quality, New York-grown produce.”

New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) Commissioner Donna Corrado said, “DFTA is pleased to participate in this wonderful program again this summer. Each booklet has coupons redeemable for $20 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables so we expect to place more than $788,000 worth of nutritious farm produce in the hands of New York City’s older residents. We know from high redemption rates in the past they are enthusiastic participants and appreciate the coupons.” 

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts said, “Senior citizens who may be struggling to put healthy food on the table will be able to purchase fresh, nutritious produce right in their own communities with this help. Governor Cuomo has rightly focused on programs such as this as a way to help reduce food insecurity among some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers.”

For more information on the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, please visit:  To view a map of authorized markets enrolled in the FMNP, please visit the Department’s website at

For a listing of farmers’ markets across the state, please visit

2016 Press Releases