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Elders Affairs with Farmer's MarketIt was a beautiful October day – perfect for a visit to a farmers market. Crisp air and warm sun mingled with rich autumn foliage to provide a perfect backdrop for the bountiful fresh produce overflowing at the vendor booths.  Not only did the Northampton Farmer’s Market offer a plethora of fresh locally grown foods on but it was the site of a tour joined by The Departments of Transitional Assistance, Agricultural Resources, Public Health and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

The afternoon tour featured the market’s nutritious, affordable, & locally grown foods that are accessible to SNAP & WIC clients and especially seniors participating in the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). It was also a great opportunity to promote local farmers and connect them with seniors who often face challenges in accessing healthy eating options. Currently, there are 255 Seasonal Farmers’ Markets in Massachusetts and 45 Winter Farmers’ Markets, 146 of which accept SNAP benefits and 230 accept WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits.

Executive Office of Elder Affairs Secretary, Alice Bonner was a hands-on participant in the Farmer’s Market tour.  Highlighting efforts to connect seniors with nutritious local produce, Bonner rolled up her sleeves and participated in a cooking demonstration with registered dietitian, Mary DiGioia, from Highland Valley Elder Services. Secretary Bonner donned an apron and set about prepping a spicy fruit salad with locally grown apples. She summed up the event by asserting “It was a gorgeous day and a great celebration of fresh, tasty, nutritious meals made from local produce as an important part of healthy aging.”

Bonner was joined by Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux and Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Jeff McCue, as well Mayor David Narkewicz, Ward 4 City Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra and other local officials.

Commissioner Lebeaux lauded the day, saying “We are particularly grateful for our collaboration with Elder Affairs, and locally, with Highland Valley Elder Services on administering the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program which provides coupons for fresh, locally grown produce to nutritionally at-risk seniors.”

This Northampton Farmer’s Market was the second destination in this tour series. The first was in Truro in August, the next will be in the new Boston Public Market in December. The goal of this series of events is to increase awareness and celebrate the success of Farmers Markets across the state and  support  efforts to expand access to healthy choices, for SNAP and WIC households, in communities across the Commonwealth.

Elders Affairs With Farmers Market

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