Senior Farm Share Program
Thanks to a grant from the USDA, the Senior FarmShare program provides low-income seniors the chance to receive fresh vegetables and fruits from Maine farmers during the growing season. Farmers sign up in January, seniors sign up in March and April.
Information for Seniors
2013 Eligibility Requirements: To participate in the Maine Senior FarmShare Program you must:
- Be a Maine resident, 60 years old or older (55 if Native American)
- Meet the 2012 income guidelines below:
- Maximum of $20,665/per year for a one-person household; or
- Maximum of $27,991/per year for a two-person household
These eligibility guidelines are updated annually and if you are uncertain about your eligibility to participate in the Maine Senior FarmShare Program, you should contact the Area Agency on Aging by calling the ELDERS-1 toll-free number at 1-877-353-3771.
Benefits of FarmShare
Participants in the Senior FarmShare Program are entitled to receive a FarmShare ($50 worth) of first quality, fresh, local produce from a Maine farm for a core 8-week period during the growing season. The variety of produce and supply method will vary depending on the farm you choose.
How and when to sign up
Seniors sign up directly with a participating farmer each year during March and April. Please see the participating farmers list. Please do not assume that you are automatically signed up if you participated in a prior year. You may choose a different farmer each year, but you can only sign up with one farmer per year.
The number of seniors who qualify for Senior FarmShare significantly outnumbers the number of FarmShares available for distribution. You can ask to be put on a waiting list if the farm you contact has filled all of their FarmShares. Please understand that meeting the eligibility requirements does not guarantee you a FarmShare.
You are not officially signed up until you complete and sign an agreement with a farmer. These forms are available to the farmers in March. It is the senior's responsibility to contact a local farmer to sign up. Either you can use the participating farmers list or you can contact the Area Agency on Aging for assistance by calling the ELDERS-1 toll free number at 1-877-353-3771.
You are signing an agreement with a farmer to use your entire FarmShare by the date the farmer sets. Only sign up for a FarmShare if you are fairly certain you will be able to use the entire $50 amount. You must let the farmer know if you will not use your entire $50 FarmShare.
Things you should consider when signing up with a farmer:
- Does the farm grow fruits and vegetables that you enjoy?
- Are you required to go pick up your produce from the farm, or does the farmer deliver to you?
- If you have to pick up your produce, do you have transportation to get to the farm enough times over the 8-week season to use your full $50 FarmShare?
- Is the place where you have to pick up your produce close enough to your home?
- Do you choose what you will receive or does the farmer choose for you? (This will be explained by the farmer and written on the agreement form.)
Recipes/Benefits of Fresh Fruit 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:
Seasonal availability of produce in Maine
Different farms participating in the Senior FarmShare program offer different types of fruits and vegetables. You should check with the farmer before signing up to be sure the farm's offerings will meet your needs. The fruits and vegetables will be available at different times during the growing season. Since the FarmShare program only includes Maine-grown produce, you should realize that you will not receive items such as bananas, oranges, lemons, and other tropical fruits.
Additional Resources 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.