The USDA Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, organized locally by the FACS department of foods and nutrition and the Institute of Gerontology in the College of Public Health, provides low-income older adults with access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
The first market of the season was held Tuesday at the Athens Community Council on Aging, with 142 locals being served, including Meals on Wheels clients at ACCA and several residents of nearby Denney Towers.
Program participants were provided $20 vouchers that could be used to purchase produce brought in from a local farm. ACCA employees and volunteers helped navigate participants along a table filled with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
FACS doctoral candidate Kristen Johnson, the wellness coordinator for the Northeast Georgia Area Agency on Aging, and FACS grad and Aging Services assistant TaMara Myles, who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from FDN, helped organize Tuesday’s event.
Johnson and Myles weren't the only FACS grads assisting with the event.
Heather Sweaney Tracy, a 2000 consumer journalism graduate who now serves as director of operations for the ACCA Center for Active Living, assisted with the program, as did Northeast Georgia Regional Commission employee Anne Hansen (MHE, 1992), ACCA manager Kenna McConnell, a 2013 HDFS grad, and Kellyn Shollenberger, a 2014 FDN grad and current master’s student.
Around 600 local low-income senior citizens will participate in the program this year, Johnson said. The next markets will be held in Elbert and Morgan counties next month.
“It definitely is very rewarding knowing we’re able to help these older adults get fresh fruits and vegetables,” Johnson said. “And you can see how appreciative they are. It’s just rewarding being able to work with them and see their faces and know we’re helping them to eat healthy for the next few days.”
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