florida-agriculture.com

Agriculture Press Release

April 8, 2003

Expanded farmers' market nutrition program to benefit Florida farmers and at-risk mothers and children, Bronson announces

TALLAHASSEE -- A state nutrition education program designed to help at-risk mothers and their children is once again under way in many Farmer’s Markets in Florida. Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson also says program benefits have increased over last year and more areas of the state are participating in the program.

The Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, Farmers’ 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 that began in Florida in 1998.

The program provides pregnant, postpartum or breast?feeding women, and children between the ages of 1 and 5 who participate in the WIC program with nutritional information on the importance of including fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet. Each recipient also receives $20 worth of coupons that can be exchanged for nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s a 25 percent increase over last year. The coupons can be used only at authorized local Community Farmers’ Markets to purchase fresh produce from Florida farmers.

“It’s important that our at-risk citizens be able to improve their diets and this program enables consumers to easily purchase locally grown fresh produce which is so important to good health,” Bronson said. “Farmers also benefit through an expanded base of consumers who shop at Community Farmer’s Markets. It’s a positive program for everyone.”

Only fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Florida or within 50 miles of the authorized
Community Farmers' Market may be purchased with the coupons. Coupons may be used to purchase a wide variety of approved commodities.

The program now operates in 16 counties, up from 13 last year. Participating counties are: Alachua, Bay, Escambia, Gadsden, Jackson, Holmes, Leon, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, Suwannee, Sumter, Union, Volusia, Walton and Washington. Coupons are valid from April 1 through July 31, 2003.

Last year more than 26,000 clients received coupons. They were redeemed for more than $200,000 in commodities supplied by 145 participating farms.

For more information about the WIC/Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, contact the
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1?800?357?4273 or visit
www.florida?agriculture.com/wicfmnp.

                                                         


For more information:
Carl Penn
1-800-357-4273

Liz Compton
(850) 488-3022

 


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