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Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Central Plains Area Agency on Aging

We're proud to highlight the award-winning work of the 2019 winners of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week, we are focusing on Central Plains Area Agency on Aging's Mobile Farmers' Market program. The agency was a 2019 Aging Innovations Award winner in the Nutrition category.

The Central Plains Area Agency on Aging has worked with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for eight years to administer the Kansas Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (KSFMNP). This unique program allows for older adults to receive KSFMNP booklets, valued at $30, to use at local farmers markets in their area. Older adults can purchase fresh produce, herbs or honey at farmers markets with the booklets that the Central Plains Area Agency on Aging distributes to older adults in the community. The popular program served 1,043 older adults in 2018 alone.

In recent years, the AAA team went a step beyond just distributing the booklets by initiating a mobile food truck program to reach older adults at local senior centers, effectively bringing the farmers market to them. The creation of the Mobile Farmers' Market allowed older adults in the community access to farm fresh produce that they weren't able to access prior to the program. Some participants even tried produce they had never tasted before and learned from the farmers how to prepare the food at home.

A partnership with Common Ground Producers and Growers, Inc., a local nonprofit that operates the mobile food truck, allowed CPAAA to increase use of the booklets and access to fresh produce by 218 percent.

The Mobile Farmers' Market program helped older adults living in food deserts access fresh produce. It also addressed the huge unmet need of transportation in the community. Since the food truck comes to them, older adults who no longer drive or use transportation can enjoy farmers markets in a unique way.

AAAs interested in replicating the Mobile Farmers' Market program should connect with the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) in their state. The next step would be to identify food deserts in their areas as well as communities with limited access to farmers markets and grocery stores.  It is also important to research the areas with limited transportation options.  If AAAs have a partnership that already exists with the state SFNFP, AAAs can work with their local Extension Center Agent to identify farmers or farmers market vendors who may be open to working with the AAA to take produce to older adults where they live or frequent.

To learn more about Central Plains Area Agency on Aging's Mobile Farmers' Market program, contact Annette Graham, Executive Director at agraham@cpaaa.org.
 
For more information about the 2019 winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners to learn how your agency can implement this or similar programs in your community!

Join n4a and winners of 2019's Aging Innovations Awards for n4a Lunchtime Innovations, a four-part webinar series that will share secrets to success for these award-winning programs, including Aging Ahead. 

 

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