Benefit to Farmers
The FMNP provides a marketing alternative for small fruit and vegetable farmers. In other words, with this directional benefit, the program produces new customers for participating farmers and farmers markets that may not usually shop at local farmers markets. When FMNP check recipients redeem all of the checks that have been issued, program recipients may use more funds to purchase additional fruits and vegetables, thus potentially increasing sales of farmers at participating farmers markets.
Additionally, when a recipient redeems a check at the market, the participating farmer can immediately deposit the check at his/her bank or financial institution.
Benefit to Participants
The FMNP enhances the supplemental food benefits received by WIC participants. Along with the nutrition information participants receive at local WIC clinics and senior service sites, participants have an opportunity to purchase healthier food items that coincide with nutrition education as given by WIC nutritionist and senior nutrition specialists across Mississippi.
At farmers markets, WIC and senior participants potentially receive tips from farmers on ways to prepare and store fruits and vegetables hopefully increasing consumption.
How to Participate as a Farmer
The criteria to participate in the FMNP as a participating farmer requires the farmer to be a bona fide grower and grow and harvest the produce he/she intends to sell. Certification is a two-step process. First, growers must attend a training session as coordinated by the FMNP coordinator or receive training from farmers market managers to understand the requirements of the program. Second, growers must complete the FMNP Farmer Application and Agreement (PDF) and submit a crop plan which identifies what fruits and vegetables they intend to grow and sell at participating farmers markets. Once a year, a staff member of MDAC or a market manager may visit the grower to ensure compliance with program requirements.