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Agriculture Press Release
April 5, 2002
Farmersí Market Nutrition Program benefits at-risk mothers and their children
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today announced the kickoff of a state program that benefits at-risk mothers and their children by improving their diets.
The WIC/Farmersí Market Nutrition Program is a joint program of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Florida Department of Health, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Its purpose is to help pregnant, postpartum or breast-feeding women, and children between the ages of 1 and 5, to include more nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets. To accomplish this, women who participate in the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program are provided $16 worth of coupons that can be used only at authorized local Community Farmersí Markets to purchase fresh produce from Florida farmers.
"This program, which started in Florida in 1998, benefits farmers by expanding the base of consumers who shop at Community Farmersí Markets," Bronson said. "It also benefits consumers, who can easily purchase locally grown fresh produce using their program coupons. Fresh fruits and vegetables are important to good health, and these programs enable WIC participants to conveniently purchase nutritious products that enhance their diet."
Only fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Florida or within 50 miles of the authorized Community Farmersí Market may be purchased with the coupons. Coupons may be used to purchase a wide variety of approved commodities.
The program operates in 13 counties: Alachua, Bay, Escambia, Gadsden, Jackson, Holmes, Leon, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, Suwannee, Wakulla and Washington. Coupons are valid from April 1 through July 31, 2002.
"Last year more than 27,000 clients received coupons," Bronson said. "They were redeemed for more than $300,000 in commodities supplied by 160 participating small farms."