Author

Krista Connor

Date of Award

5-2006

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Food Science and Human Nutrition

Advisor

Richard Cook

Second Committee Member

Adrienne White

Third Committee Member

Phil Pratt

Abstract

In November of 2000 the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) brought the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) into existence. The SFMNP was set up to provide fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs to low-income seniors; increase the consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs; and develop or aid in the development of new and additional farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs (1, 2). Currently the federal government is in the process of making this program a permanent opportunity for low-income seniors. As part of the process of the SFMNP becoming a permanent program the federal government is looking to offer eligible seniors nationwide a benefit that is consistent. This action would cause Maine seniors, who are currently receiving a higher benefit than seniors in some other states, to cut their benefit in half. The Maine Senior FarmShare program is currently reaching greater than 7000 low income seniors. During the growing season, the low income seniors that are provided with fresh fruits and vegetables from this program have fewer difficulties paying for necessities such as prescription medications, electricity, phones and heat. The homebound participants of the program found it more convenient when farmers delivered their fresh fruits and vegetables, alleviating the stress as to how they would be able to obtain them. In this study it was found that there was a wide variety of available fruits and vegetables provided to the low income seniors; however, due to changes in availability based upon the growing season, the quantity provided did not always meet the recommended 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily. This shortfall could be even more of a problem, should the Maine Senior FarmShare benefit be reduced by the Federal Mandate in the future.

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