For the first time since the market started in 2009, it will be able to take part in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). People eligible for this benefit are generally those who are at least 60-years-old with household incomes of no more than 185 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines.

“This is one more way the Gray Street Farmers Market is expanding its reach to give access to area residents with lower incomes,” said Melissa Schreck, market manager, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS).

People can use FMNP benefits to purchase unprepared fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service administers FMNP grants to state agencies. The 2008 Farm Bill provided $20.6 million annually for the program through 2012. Kentucky received about $297,000 for 2011. Seniors in the program will receive a total benefit of $28, with distributions starting June 1.

Patrons also need to know:

  • The market again will provide access to the EBT/debit machine, which allows it to accept food stamps and process debit cards.
  • Hours are 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., rain or shine.
  • Fare includes fruits and vegetables, fresh breads, poultry, beef jerky, jam, granola, kettle corn, crafts and many lunch options.
  • As part of opening day festivities May 19, the market will have a drawing for prizes, including a $20 farmers market gift certificate. There will be other drawings through the end of the market season.

The Gray Street Farmers Market is a combined effort to improve food access and have a positive impact on community and individual health. SPHIS partners with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, UofL Health Care, the Louisville Area Chapter of the Red Cross and Norton Healthcare.