DANBURY, Conn. -- Military veterans who meet an income threshold can receive Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers worth $21 for fruits and vegetables at the Danbury Farmers’ Market, the value of which is doubled to $42 at the market. Vouchers are available at the market every Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Kennedy Park.
In a new pilot program instituted this year by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, and administered by the City of Danbury’s social service department, veterans can get vouchers to purchase fruits and vegetables at the Farmers’ Market. Danbury is one of three cities in the state of Connecticut to offer this assistance to veterans, and it is the first program of its kind in the country. Vouchers are also available for veterans with service-connected disabilities.
“We’re very happy to be part of this program,’’ said Peggy Zamore, a nutritionist who is also the Director of Better Health through Better Food for the Danbury Farmers’ Market. “And the veterans love it. It has been very well-received.”
The program is modeled after similar programs for low-income pregnant women and children who receive government nutrition assistance, low income seniors and people who are on social security insurance for disabilities.
The vouchers are for $3 each. Veterans receive $21 in vouchers, which can be used any time until the Farmers’ Market ends Oct. 31.
To assist participants stay healthier by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, the Norwalk-based Fairfield County Community Foundation has provided significant funding for a match program which doubles the value of the vouchers. Qualified veterans can receive up to $42 worth of produce this season with their vouchers.
“We will double up to three vouchers every time they come to the market,’’ Zamore said. “The Fairfield County Community Foundation was very generous with their support of the program. We wouldn’t be able to do this without them.”
The Farmers’ Market is open Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Kennedy Park in Danbury. It opened in June and runs through October. The market also offers free blood pressure checks and nutrition, health and fitness activities. While vouchers must be used on fruits and vegetables, Farmers’ Market shoppers can also purchase shoreline seafood, fresh baked goods and specialty foods.
Zamore said veterans enjoy the easy access to the program. “There isn’t any red tape involved,’’ she said. “That’s something we all appreciate. Some programs require applicants to bring all kinds of proof of income, etc. We don’t require that. In this program, participants sign a statement attesting to their qualification. All they need is identification.
The Farmers’ Market also accepts and doubles SNAP (food stamp) benefits, up to nine dollars per market visit.
For complete information about the Danbury Farmers’ Market, visit its website or call 203-792-1711.