Maine Senior FarmShare information for seniors
The Maine Senior FarmShare Program is administered through the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Please see below for more details on this program.
→HOW AND WHEN SENIORS SIGN UP:
Seniors sign up directly with a participating farmer each year in the spring for the upcoming season. The specific startup of the Maine Senior FarmShare program varies from year to year contingent on many factors. We anticipate seniors should be able to commence the sign up process by the second week in April for the 2016 season. When the list of participating farmers is available the link will be posted on this page. Seniors can also contact the Area Agency on Aging for assistance in locating participating farmers by calling 1-877-353-3771. Seniors contact farmers directly to make arrangements to complete an agreement form. Each farm handles this process differently. Seniors may choose a different farmer each year, but can only sign up with one farmer per year. Seniors must contact a farmer each year to enroll in the program. The agreement forms are usually available from the farmers sometime during late March to early April each year. Seniors are not officially signed up until they complete and sign an agreement with a farmer for the season. Please be aware that the number of seniors who qualify for FarmShare significantly outnumbers the number of shares available for distribution. Seniors can request the farmer to put them on a waiting list if the farmer has filled all of their allotted FarmShare slots for the season.
To participate in the Maine Senior FarmShare Program a senior must:
Be a Maine resident, 60 years old or older
Meet the income guidelines below:
Maximum of $21,978/per year for a one-person household; or
Maximum of $29,637/per year for a two-person household
→BENEFITS OF FARMSHARE:
A FarmShare is $50 worth of fresh, unprocessed Maine-grown vegetables, fruits, and herbs during the FarmShare season. Certain foods are not eligible for purchase with FarmShare benefits; these include dried fruits or vegetables, potted fruit or vegetable plants, potted or dried herbs, wild rice, nuts of any kind (even raw), maple syrup, cider, and molasses are not allowed. The season is determined by the farmer and it varies at each farm. The FarmShare Program is based on an agreement between the senior and the farmer. The variety of produce and supply method varies depending on the farm the senior selects. Many participating farmers allow the senior to pick up their produce at specific farmers’ markets, or at their farm or farm stand. Some participating farmers deliver the produce to the senior at their homes or housing sites.
It is the senior's responsibility to contact a local farmer to sign up. Seniors must agree to use their entire FarmShare by the date the farmer sets. Seniors should only sign up for a FarmShare if they are certain they will be able to use the entire $50 amount. Seniors must notify the farmer if they will not use the entire $50 FarmShare for any reason. Once a senior has signed an agreement with a farmer they are obligated to fulfill their share for the season with that farmer unless extenuating circumstances occur. Seniors cannot change farmers during the season but they can certainly sign up at a different farm the following year.
*Things seniors should carefully consider before signing up with a farmer:
Does the farm grow fruits and vegetables that the senior prefers?
Does the senior choose what they will receive or does the farmer choose?
Are seniors required to pick up produce or does the farmer deliver?
If produce must be picked up, does the senior have transportation to get to the pick-up location?
→AVAILABILITY OF PRODUCE from the farmer:
Different farms participating in the FarmShare program offer different types of fruits and vegetables. Seniors should check with the farmer before signing up to be sure the farm's crop offerings will meet the senior’s preferences. The fruits and vegetables will be available at different times during the growing season.
→RECIPES/BENEFITS OF FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES:
The benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables are plentiful! For specific information on the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables and for recipes click on the links below:
Fruits and Veggies Matters: www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov
Recipe Source: www.recipesource.com
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO LOW-INCOME SENIORS:
Seniors that qualify for Senior FarmShare may also qualify for other benefits. Contact the Area Agency on Aging by calling the ELDERS-1 toll free number at 1-877-353-3771 regarding other benefit opportunities, or do a self-assessment test online: http://www.benefitscheckup.org
These benefits may include:
- Maine Rx Plus
- Low Cost Drug Program
- Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
- Food Supplement Program
- Medicare Savings Program
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
OTHER MAINE RESOURCES:
Prescription Drug Assistance: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/aging/home_care/low-cost-drug.html
DHHS Office of Aging and Disability Services: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/aging/
Cooperative Extension Food and Health Publications: http://extensionpubs.umext.maine.edu/ePOS/form=cat.html&cat=8&store=413