Last Updated January 26, 2010
WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)
Providing women, infants and children with the opportunity to buy and consume fresh, local fruits, vegetables, and herbs directly from farmers
The FMNP is associated with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC, that provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education at no cost to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to 5 years of age, who are found to be at nutritional risk.
The FMNP was established by Congress in July 1992, to provide fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables from farmers' markets to WIC participants, and to expand the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers' markets. It is administered through a federal/state partnership in which the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provides cash grants to state agencies. The FMNP is currently administered by 45 State agencies such as state agriculture departments or health departments or Indian Tribal Organizations.
Eligible WIC participants are issued FMNP coupons in addition to their regular WIC food instruments. These coupons are used to buy fresh, unprepared locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs from farmers or farmers' markets that have been approved by the state agency to accept FMNP coupons. The federal food benefit level for FMNP recipients may not be less than $10 and no more than $30 per year, per recipient. However, state agencies may supplement the benefit level with state funds. Farmers or farmers' markets authorized to accept FMNP coupons submit the coupons for reimbursement.
Nutrition education is provided to FMNP recipients by the state agency. This information encourages FMNP recipients to improve and expand their diets by adding fresh fruits and vegetables, and it educates them on how to select, store, and prepare the fresh fruits and vegetables they buy with their FMNP coupons.
The FMNP benefits both recipients and farmers. In FY 2007, the program served just over 2.3 million WIC participants. In addition, FMNP recipients purchased over $20 million worth of fresh produce from over 15,000 farmers at just over 3,200 farmers' markets and 2,300 roadside stands authorized to accept FMNP coupons.
Application and Financial Information
Grants for administering the program are made to state health, agriculture, and other agencies (or Indian tribes, bands, or intertribal councils or groups recognized by the Department of the Interior). Participating state agencies must initiate the process by applying for participation in the program.
Federal funds support 100 percent of the food cost of the program. Federal funds also support 70 percent of the administrative cost of the program. States operating the FMNP must match the federal funds allocated to them by contributing at least 30 percent of the administrative cost of the program. Indian state agencies may receive a lower match, but not less than 10 percent of the administrative cost of the program. The matching funds can come from a variety of sources, such as state and local funds, private funds, similar programs, and program income.
For fiscal year 2010, Congress provided a total of $20 million for the FMNP.
Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions
As a prerequisite to receiving federal funds for the FMNP, each applying or participating state agency must submit a state plan describing the manner in which the state agency intends to implement, operate, and administer all aspects of the FMNP within its jurisdiction.
New state agencies are selected based on evaluation criteria and the availability of funds. Local FMNP sites are selected by participating state agencies based on concentration of eligible WIC participants and access to farmers' markets.
Women, infants (over 4 months old), and children who are certified to receive WIC Program benefits or who are on a waiting list for WIC certification are eligible to participate in the FMNP. State agencies may serve some or all of these categories.
Each state agency is responsible for authorizing individual farmers, farmers' markets, or both. State agencies have the option to authorize roadside stands. Only farmers or farmers' markets authorized by the state agency may accept and redeem FMNP coupons. Individuals who exclusively sell produce grown by someone else, such as wholesale distributors, cannot be authorized to participate in the FMNP.
Maureen Rankin, Regional Director
Phone: (617) 565-6440
Diana Torrice, Regional Director
Phone: (609) 259-5100
Sandy Benton-Davis, Regional Director
Phone: (404) 562-7100
Elvira Jarka, Regional Director
Phone: (312) 886-6625
Sondra Ralph, Regional Director
Phone: (214) 290-9812
Jean Liekhus, Regional Director
Mountain Plains Region
Phone: (303) 844-0331
Rich Proulx, Regional Director
Phone: (415) 705-1313
Patricia N. Daniels, Director
Supplemental Food Programs Division
Food and Nutrition Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Phone: (703) 305-2746
Fax: (703) 305-2196