Summer is in full swing and for many people, that means it is time begin looking at fresh and locally grown produce. Some W. Va. seniors may not know that they can get some fruits and vegetables for free, thanks to vouchers provided through the Department of Agriculture and distributed through Community Action.
The vouchers are offered to citizens 60 years of age or older, which make less than $1832 a month in a one person household or $2470 a month for a two person household. They can be obtained at the Community Action office on Lick Creek Road.
Boone County Community Action Director, Judy Easter, said that the Department of Agriculture provides these coupons as a way of providing healthier choices to the 60 and over crowd.
“They do that so seniors can eat healthy, though it is only $28, it gives them the chance to eat produce from W. Va.,” Easter said.
Easter said that the number of books allocated to the area is calculated by the amount of coupons actually spent. This year Boone County was allocated 420 books. She said the seniors look forward to receiving these coupons.
“They are so excited when they come to get the $28, most of the time they want green beans and cucumbers,” Easter said.
The vouchers can only be redeemed at markets that sell W. Va. produced produce. While this may seem limiting, it still provides a few options locally. Joe Eddie Griffith, the owner of Griffith’s Produce, said that he believes these vouchers provide assistance to seniors.
“It’s a lot healthier, I think that’s a big help for them, it’s all we’ve ever known,” said Griffith, “We’ve survived 65 years, so the community must like it.”
Griffith said he also provides assistance to local farmers by providing alternate ways to sell their harvest.
“We barter a lot, like in the olden days, just the other day a farmer dropped off cucumbers and took a watermelon, and we do that a lot,” Griffith said.
Another local option is the newly opened Mr. Green Jeans Farms located in Madison. Not only do they sell local produce, but they also have plans to open a locally sourced butcher shop and a greenhouse. One of their employees, Sarah Duran, said it is important to support local enterprises.
“When you help your local people, that’s America building American, you’re putting money right back into your back yard,” Duran said.
Finally, the other local option is the Logan Farmer’s Market, which just opened this past weekend. It is ran by the Department of Agriculture and strives to only sell produce that was picked the previous day.