Farmers market vendors encouraged to take part in nutrition program
PUHI — The Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i is encouraging vendors in farmers markets to participate in the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program, SFMNP.
On Wednesday, Michelle Panoke and Tisha Remigio visited the pop-up farmers market at The Shops at Kukui‘ula in an effort to locate new farmers for the program, as well as renew their respective contracts to continue in the program.
The Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i partners with the state of Hawai‘i Office of Community Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service to organize the program designed to provide low-income kupuna with access to locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs.
Remigio said the program started in 2018, and has not stopped since launching.
“We were able to help 251 kupuna in 2022,” she said. “That is equivalent to $12,550 worth of vouchers, helping kupuna to get the access to healthy, nutritious foods.”
Eligible kupuna receive $50 worth of coupons to obtain foods without charge from participating farmers, farmers markets and roadside stands. Farmers are invited to apply and participate because the vouchers are acceptable at all of the markets they participate in.
New applicants, or kupuna over the age of 60, can visit hawaiifoodbank.org/sfmnp to fill out an application online.
Farmers and applicants can also contact Panoke at 808-482-2087 to receive an application by mail.
Remigio said applications for kupuna who have previously participated in the program have been mailed out.
“We understand that kupuna may have lack of transportation, and it is suggested to have a designation of proxy,” she said.
“This allows the kupuna to receive their nutritious foods by the support of caregivers, family or friends by being their authorized representatives. Kupuna can redeem vouchers by looking for the orange “authorized farmer” sign at the different farmers stands.
Additionally, Remigio said the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i is looking to fill a position for this program.
Interested? Call 808-482-2224, or visit hawaiifoodbank.org/careers.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or email@example.com.