Senior Project Fresh/Market Fresh

The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) awards grants to states to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible fresh foods at approved farmers markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs.  The purpose of the program is to:

  1. Provide resources in the form of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables from designated farmers markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs to low-income seniors.
  2. Increase the domestic consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community support agriculture programs.
  3. Develop or aid in the development of new and additional farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community support agriculture programs.


Who is eligible for Senior Project Fresh (SFMNP) benefits?

Low-income seniors – defined as individuals who are at least 60 years old with household incomes of not more than 185% of the federal poverty income – are the targeted recipients of SFMNP benefits.  Michigan accepts proof of participation from such sources as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program or the Food Stamp Program (bridge card), for SFMNP eligibility.  SFMNP coupons are provided to eligible seniors for use during the harvest season.  In Michigan, coupons are distributed beginning June 1st to participating Agencies to hold trainings that will continue until all the coupons are distributed.  


How does Senior Project Fresh operate?

In Michigan, counties raise money to cover the cost of coupons.  This is usually done through partnerships including Michigan State University Extension (MSUE), regional Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), or local Commissions on Aging.  In Alpena County, the Alpena Senior Citizens Center administers the program and raises funds through the Alpena County Older Persons Fund and other grants.   The money raised is then matched by the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) to purchase the coupons.  


Each county has flexibility in determining how the coupons are distributed and the role of each agency involved, following the guidelines developed by the state.  Eligible participants or households receive ten $2 coupons to use throughout the summer to purchase fresh, unprepared or unprocessed, locally-grown produce from authorized farmers’ markets and roadside stands throughout Michigan.   Authorized markets are those that display “Senior Project Fresh / Market Fresh Coupons Welcome Here.”  In Alpena county, the Alpena Farmers Market (downtown Alpena), Kipfmiller’s Produce (Alpena) and AJ Market (Lachine) are authorized markets.  Coupons can be used at other authorized markets located throughout Michigan.


What foods are available through the Senior Project Fresh Markets?

Fresh, unprocessed Michigan grown fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and unprocessed honey can be purchased with SFMNP benefits.  Michigan limits SFMNP sales to Michigan grown produce in order to encourage SFMNP recipients to support Michigan farmers.  Processed foods are not eligible for purchase which include dried fruits or vegetables such as prunes, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes or dried chili peppers.  Potted fruit or vegetable plants, potted or dried herbs, wild rice, nuts of any kind (even raw), pasteurized honey, maple syrup, cider, and molasses are also not allowed.  In 2005, Michigan added parsley to the list of eligible foods.

When does the program begin?

The program is offered on a first come, first serve basis starting in June.  Sign-up (registration) and application/proxy forms are available at the Alpena Senior Citizens Center after May 1.  Participants and/or their proxy shopper must attend training/coupon distribution (dates to be determined) in order to receive their coupons.   All coupons must be redeemed by October 31st of the same year.  

Evidence-Based Health Improvement Programs for Seniors

*PATH (Personal Action Toward Health)

*Diabetes PATH

*Matter of Balance


PATH & Diabetes PATH

As a result of five year’s research, Stanford University created a six week course in Chronic Disease Self-Management and Diabetes Self-Management as a method for seniors to:  1) address their concerns about their own chronic disease; 2) identify and deal with the emotional effect and impact on their personal lives; and 3) to allow for a process where seniors realize their role in managing their own disease.  With self-management tools, participants become proactive self-managers resulting in improved lives.  


Matter of Balance

In this eight week program developed by MaineHealth’s Partnership for Healthy Aging and adapted by Boston University, seniors address:  1) their concerns about falling, 2) manage safety concerns to reduce fall risks at home, 3) examine their attitudes about falling, 4) prevent falls through a series of exercises that increase strength & improve balance, 5) set goals for increased activity and 6) help seniors view falls as controllable.