What is the WIC Farmers' Market Program?
The WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is associated with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC, provides supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education at no cost to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding post-partum women, and to infants and children up to 5 years of age, who are found to be at nutritional risk.
The FMNP was established by Congress in 1992, to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC recipients, and to expand the awareness, use of and sales at farmers' markets.
A variety of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs may be purchased with FMNP coupons. Each State agency develops a list of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be purchased with FMNP coupons.
Which Farmers' Markets participate?
Due to funds and availability, not all farmers markets participate in the program. Check the West Virginia Farmers' Market Directory to see if your farmers market accepts WIC Coupons after July 1, 2012.
How does the program operate?
The FMNP is administered through a Federal/State partnership in which the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provides cash grants to State agencies. The FMNP is administered by State agencies such as State agriculture departments or health departments or Indian Tribal Organizations. State agencies develop plans to operate the program that are approved by FNS.
Eligible WIC recipients are issued FMNP coupons in addition to their regular WIC food instruments. These coupons can be used to buy fresh, unprepared fruits, vegetables and herbs from farmers or farmers' markets that have been approved by the State agency to accept FMNP coupons. The Federal food benefit level for FMNP recipients may not be less than $10 and no more than $20 per year, per recipient. However, State agencies may supplement the benefit level with its matching funds. The farmers or farmers' markets then submit the coupons for reimbursement.
Nutrition education is provided to FMNP recipients by the State agency, often through an arrangement with the local WIC agency. Other professional educators and program partners may provide nutrition education and/or educational information to FMNP recipients. For example, Cooperative Extension Programs, local chefs, farmers or farmers’ markets associations, and various other non-profit or for-profit organizations may provide nutrition education to FMNP recipients. These educational arrangements help to encourage FMNP recipients to improve and expand their diets by adding fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as educate them on how to select, store and prepare the fresh fruits and vegetables they buy with their FMNP coupons.
To Be a WIC or SENIOR WV Farmers' Market Farmer
When starting the application process to become a farmer with the WV WIC or Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program you must first take the WV FMNP Farmers training. To register for a training session in your local area contact Connie Tolley at the WV Department of Agriculture – Marketing and Development by phone: 304-558-2210