Summer is just around the corner and the availability of locally grown fresh produce is just one of many pleasures of warmer weather. Too often seniors, on a tight budget or without transportation, are not able to take advantage of the many farmer’s markets open in the spring and summer months.
Eating a healthy diet can be a challenge when shopping and preparing foods become too difficult in advancing years. The elderly may rely on convenience foods such as canned soup that can be high in sodium and lacking in nutrition. Many seniors are not getting adequate fruits and vegetables or high quality protein.
When visiting an elderly family member, consider taking them on an early morning trip to the local farmer’s market. A membership to a produce delivery service may also be a great way for home-bound seniors to get a taste of locally grown fruits and vegetables.
In British Columbia, The Association of Farmer’s Markets collaborate with community organizations and markets to provide coupons for low income families and seniors. In 2015, 48 communities participated in the program which offers $15 per week for farm market produce including fruits, vegetables, eggs, cheese, nuts, fish and meats to participants who take a free nutrition and skill program.
The program operates from June 9 through October 26 and booklets are distributed through community organizations funded by Healthy Families BC. For a list of participating markets and partners visit www.bcfarmersmarket.org/resources/subpage/information-participants.
For more information about healthy diets, recipes, storing produce and ways to stretch your budget visit www.halfyourplate.ca .