REGION – June is a month of celebrations, graduations, and the official start of summer vacations. For many, it’s also planting season, as we look forward to growing tasty vegetables. Not everyone, however, has a garden. In fact, many don’t even have access to affordable fresh produce. Too many older Vermonters find it difficult to get to a store or market without assistance. And in an era of rising prices, many of us can’t afford the nutrient-rich foods we need to maintain good health.
So what can Senior Solutions do to help?
Nutrition and Wellness Director Thom Simmons has thought about this, and has developed a multi-pronged project called “Eat Your Veggies,” to bring farm-fresh vegetables into the homes of aging Vermonters. There are four programs, each with a different focus, and all tapping the bounty of summer.
The first program will supply boxes of CSA produce to 10 meal sites across Senior Solutions’ service area during the 16-week growing season. CSA stands for “community supported agriculture.” This program, “Locally Yours,” is funded under a legislative earmark by Sen. Bernie Sanders. There is no income limit; you simply need to be 60 or older to participate. The boxes will be delivered to the Bugbee Center, Volunteers in Action, Black River Senior Center, Neighborhood Connections, Springfield Senior Center, Bellows Falls Senior Center, Putney Cares, Deerfield Valley, and the Brattleboro Senior Center.
The second program, “Senior Farm Share,” brings produce boxes to residents in affordable senior housing complexes. The list of complexes is growing fast. If your complex rents to those whose incomes are under 185% of the U.S. poverty level and has not gotten on the list, just contact Senior Solutions if you can provide an individual who will coordinate the program at the complex.
The third program is the “Farm and Family Coupon,” for use at farmer’s markets and farm stands. This program was introduced last year. We expect to receive at least twice as many coupon books to distribute in southeastern Vermont this year. Pete’s Farm Stand in Walpole, N.H., is also participating in the program. In Londonderry, Neighborhood Connections will be taking field trips to farm stands to help residents access various farm stands where they can use their coupons. The coupon book holds $48 in coupons valued at $6 each. These can be spent however you like, but be careful, because markets may not give change. These coupon books will be available in July, so you need to apply now in June to make sure you get yours by calling the Senior Solutions help line at 802-885-2669.
The fourth and final program under “Eat Your Veggies” is Crop Cash. This is for all of those who participate in 3SquaresVT. In mid-summer, Vermont will introduce “Crop Cash Plus.” This means when you take $10 out of your account you will receive $10 in tokens to spend at the farmers market that day. In addition, you will receive another $10 in tokens for fruits and vegetables, plus an additional $10 in tokens for baked goods and other items that you normally can’t purchase with 3Squares tokens. So, you get 3 times the value, tripling your Crop Cash money.
So, let’s all get ready to eat our veggies! To kick it off, please take a look at the Springfield Area Public Access (SAPA) video on our website, where Thom presents all these programs in more detail. That video can be found at www.seniorsorsolutionsvt.org.
Health and Wellness Benefit Fairs in June
June 16 will be a big day in Ludlow. From 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Ludlow Community Center, located at 37 Main Street, Senior Solutions and Black River Good Neighbor Services will be co-hosting a wellness fair. It will feature, among other useful resources, a tai chi falls demonstration to help prevent falls. Information about fraud prevention and home safety will be presented by the Windsor County Sheriff’s Office and the Ludlow Police Department. RSVP will present volunteer opportunities. And, while supplies last, there will be seedlings to take home. Many other organizations will be offering fun and information. Don’t miss the free barbeque lunch.
On June 21, stop by the old firehouse in Wilmington, Vt., 4-7 p.m., to enjoy an open house sponsored by Senior Solutions and Voices of Hope. Located at 18 Beaver Street in Wilmington, the old firehouse has been dedicated as a Deerfield Valley outreach location, to help residents age successfully in Vermont through social service and health agencies. Come meet with SEVCA, SASH, the Care in Vermont Blood Pressure clinic, Shires Housing, and more. Enjoy a barbeque hosted by Trio Community Meals, and see a demonstration of “Zero Balancing”.
Check the Senior Solutions website at www.seniorsolutionsvt.org for benefits, programs, and resources.