Project Fresh provides an opportunity for low income seniors to include more locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets. Throughout the year UCOM identifies eligible seniors, age 60 or older, who may be interested in shopping at a farmers' market. Enrollees receive a one hour educational presentation that combines program details with nutritional information. Program participants are given between $20 and $40 worth of coupons to be used to purchase Michigan fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets.
The program runs from June 1st through October 1st. Clients are encouraged to think seasonally when planning meals. Michigan farmers' markets provide an abundance of produce choices. For example in June a Project Fresh participant might choose strawberries, asparagus, greens, lettuce, green onions, spinach, or turnips. While in September, choices might include apples, berries, melons, cherries, peaches, pears, carrots, tomatoes, or broccoli.
For more information about the importance of local foods or a listing of local farmers markets, check out the Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council's website at www.foodshed.net.