Kelly Lippert-Flick of the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A), which helps distribute the vouchers, said the coupons will be mailed directly to eligible seniors this year.
“The Farmers Market Authority has been giving the vouchers to each of the 13 Agencies on Aging in the state and then we gave them to the senior centers to distribute. This year, they have changed the program and want people to complete an application,” Flick said.
Applications are available online at www.fma.state.al.us. Seniors may also call M4A at 1-800-570-2998.
To receive the free vouchers, seniors must be 60 or older and have a gross household income not exceeding $16,800 for a household of one ($1,400 monthly), $22,600 for a household of two ($1,883 monthly) or $28,400 for a household of three ($2,367 monthly).
Vouchers will be issued on a first come-first serve basis until a county's allotted books are exhausted.
The coupons are valid only at farmers markets and roadside stands authorized by the FMA. A list is available on the FMA website.
Alabama’s Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program is the fourth largest in the country but can only serve 23 percent of eligible seniors due to limited funding, according to the FMA website.
Flick said the program is important because it helps seniors as well as farmers.
“Many seniors are on a fixed income and don’t have a lot of extra money to buy produce. So it gives them some healthy, high fiber food and helps area farmers too,” Flick said.