The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog


Posted on
September 10, 2020 by
The VRG Blog Editor

By Reed Mangels, PhD, RD

The WIC (Women,
Infants, Children) Program can be a helpful source of healthy food for
low-income pregnant and post-partum women, infants, and children up to age 5.
It includes many options
for vegans
.

     Many states participate
in the WIC Famers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). The program currently
operates in 39 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin
Islands, and 6 Indian Tribal Organizations; however, it is not always available
in all areas of a state. This program was created to benefit both WIC participants
and local farmers. Women, infants (over 4 months old), and children (1 to 5
years old) that have been certified to receive WIC benefits or who are on a
waiting list for WIC are eligible to participate in this program, although some
states may not provide farmers’ market vouchers for every participant
category.  If your state has this
program, you can receive special coupons (Farmers’
Market Nutrition Program
coupons) in addition to your regular WIC benefits.
These coupons can be used to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs from farmers,
farmers’ markets, or roadside stands that have been approved by the state
agency to accept FMNP coupons. Some states only allow these coupons to be used
to buy specific foods grown in the state to encourage recipients to support
farmers in their own state. Look for a sign – Farmers’ Market Coupons Accepted – to find a farmer who
participates in the program. When you’ve chosen your fruits and vegetables,
give the farmer your coupon. No change is given so you may be encouraged to
choose more produce if your selection is less than the amount on the coupon.
Each state decides the amount of this benefit. Typically, it is between $10 and
$30 per year per eligible family member although some state agencies add
additional funding.

     In addition to Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
coupons, some states also allow you to use the vouchers for fruits and
vegetables that you receive as a part of your WIC package at some farmers’
markets. These Cash Value Vouchers
are issued monthly and provide eligible women with $11 per month and eligible
children with $8 per month to purchase fruits and vegetables.  These vouchers are a part of the WIC package
in all states although only some states allow them to be redeemed at specified farmers’
markets. 

     To see a list of
states and other entities that participate in the Farmers’ Market Nutrition
Program go to  https://www.fns.usda.gov/contacts?f[0]=program%3A30
 

     Contact your
state WIC agency for more information about using the Cash Value Vouchers at farmers’ markets. A list of state agencies’
contact information is available at https://www.fns.usda.gov/contacts?f%5B0%5D=program%3A32

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