Produce vouchers still usable at markets

Low-income seniors in Carson City who received vouchers for fresh produce at the Carson Farmers Market may continue to use them at the Telegraph Square Farmers Market beginning Sept. 7.

The vouchers are from a pilot program of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program in Carson City.

The vouchers were specified for use at the Carson City market this month. After August, seniors could then use them at various markets in Reno and Sparks. But with the opening of the market at Telegraph Square, RSVP Executive Director Janice Ayres wants to get the word out they are still all right to use here.

"Some of our people who received the vouchers don't know they can use them at the Telegraph market," Ayres said. "We want them to know they don't have to travel to Reno. Many of them can't travel."

Ayres said each low-income senior received a booklet of 10 vouchers, at a value of $3 per voucher, totaling $30. They turn the vouchers over to the vendor, who completes the form and mails it to the RSVP office for reimbursement.

"These are small businesses and they are doing this program on good faith with us so we like to reimburse them within five days."

The program, called Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program, is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ayres developed this as a pilot program with the USDA. There were enough funds to send vouches to 200 seniors in Carson City who are already on the food commodity program.

"Next year, more funds should be available and we can take this program statewide," Ayres said.

"People on low incomes just can't afford to buy fresh produce. They are already on the commodity program and a lot of that food is high in salt content. With fresh food, they can regulate the seasonings and have the health benefit."


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