Do you enjoy biting into a fresh tomato or crunchy cucumber? Our Nutrition and Wellness Director, Thom Simmons, has thought about this and has developed a multi-pronged project called “Eat Your Veggies” to bring farm-fresh vegetables into the homes of aging Vermonters. There are four programs, each with a different focus, and all tapping the bounty of summer.
The first program will supply boxes of CSA produce to 10 meal sites across our service area during the 16-week growing season. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This program, “Locally Yours” is funded under a legislative earmark by Sen. Bernie Sanders. There is no income limit; we simply need to be 60 or older to participate. The boxes will be delivered to the Bugbee Center, Volunteers in Action, Black River Senior Center, Neighborhood Connections, Springfield Senior Center, Bellows Falls Senior Center, Putney Cares, Deerfield Valley, and the Brattleboro Senior Center.
The second program, “Senior Farm Share,” brings produce boxes to residents in affordable senior housing. The list of complexes is growing fast. If your complex rents to those whose incomes are under 185% of the U.S. poverty level and has not gotten on the list, just contact us if you can provide an individual who will coordinate the program at the complex.
The third program is the “Farm and Family Coupon,” for use at farm markets and farm stands. This program was introduced last year. We expect to receive at least twice as many coupon books to distribute in southeastern Vermont this year . Pete’s Farm Stand, in Walpole, N.H., is also participating in the program. In Londonderry, Neighborhood Connections will be taking field trips to farm stands to help residents access various farm stands where they can use their coupons. The coupon book holds $48 in coupons valued at $6 each. These can be spent however you like but be careful because markets may not give change. These coupon books are available in July, so you needed to apply in June to make sure you would yours. You can check to find out if any coupon books are still available by calling our HelpLine at 1-802-885-2669
The fourth and final program under “Eat Your Veggies” is Crop Cash. This is for all of us who participate in 3SquaresVT. In mid-summer, Vermont introduces “Crop Cash Plus.” This means when you take $10 out of your account you will receive $10 in tokens to spend at the Farmers Market that day. In addition, you will receive another $10 in tokens for fruits and vegetables, plus an additional $10 in tokens for baked goods and other items that you normally can’t purchase with 3Squares tokens. So, you get 3 times the value, tripling your Crop Cash money. What a great deal!
So, let’s all get ready to eat our veggies! To kick it off please look at the Springfield Area Public Access (SAPA) video on our website where Thom presents all these programs in more detail. That video can be found here.