DACF to Increase and Improve Access to Maine-Grown Foods

DACF to Increase and Improve Access to Maine-Grown Foods for Older Adults Using New Federal Grant

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Agricultural Resource Development

For Immediate Release
March 28, 2023

Media contact: Jim Britt

DACF to Increase and Improve Access to Maine-Grown Foods for Older Adults Using New Federal Grant

Augusta, ME – The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) announced today that it will utilize an $800,000 Federal grant to expand the Maine Senior FarmShare Program. The program provides low-income older adults the opportunity to receive up to a $50 share of fresh, local produce at no cost directly from Maine farmers.

DACF estimates that the additional funding will expand the program by up to 3,000 more low-income older adults and authorize more Maine farmers to join over the next two years. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with the goal of expanding and modernizing similar programs across the country.

“We are very pleased that this new funding allows the expansion of the MSFP to include a broader range of our low-income neighbors and involve more Maine Farms,” said DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. “Our department staff are eager to play a role in steering this effort to increase access to fresh food from local farms as we pursue the vision and goals of Maine’s Roadmap to End Hunger by 2030.”

“MSFP is beginning its third decade serving Maine’s low-income older adults. I am excited at this infusion of financial support to ensure that this vital program continues, adapts, and improves,” said G Cherichello, Maine Senior FarmShare Program Manager. “One-quarter of our funding will support partnerships and training to ensure that MSFP serves adults in communities that experience disproportionate rates of hunger, including people of color and members of the LGBTQ community.”

To participate in the program, a person must be a Maine resident; be 60 years old or older, or 55 years old or older for Native Americans; and meet income guidelines. More than 100 farms in Maine, distributed across all 16 counties, are authorized to participate in MSFP.

Eligible adults can contact an authorized farm to sign up for MSFP now. Participants must re-enroll yearly and may only sign up with one farm annually. To learn more, including for those interested in becoming an authorized MSFP farm, go to www.maine.gov/dacf/ard/seniorfarmshare, call (207) 287-3491, or email SeniorFarmShare.AGR@maine.gov. Eligible adults can also call their Area Agency on Aging at 1-877-353-3771.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through more than 15 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC, and SNAP. Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over a year.