Project FRESH - Farmer's Market Nutrition Program

WIC Project FRESH – Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program


The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is known in Michigan as Project FRESH and administrated by the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program. WIC Project FRESH started in 1986 in several states across the country. In 1988, Congress authorized a three-year demonstration project to test the concept in 10 states. WIC Project FRESH was administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture as a federal pilot in Fiscal Years 1989 and 1990. The project's success led Congress to enact the Farmers' Market Nutrition Act of 1992 (P.L.102-314). The program was transferred to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (formerly known as Michigan Department of Community Health) in November of 1992 where it remains today.


WIC Project FRESH helps to provide healthy and nutritious produce to Michigan WIC participants, while fostering economic development by promoting our state’s diverse agricultural products. The program provides low-income, nutritionally-at-risk WIC participants with eligible, locally grown, fresh, unprepared fruits and vegetables from authorized farmers, farmers’ markets and roadside stands throughout Michigan.


How Do WIC Project FRESH Coupons Work?

Enrolled WIC participants, excluding infants, may be eligible to receive a $20 booklet containing ten $2 coupons to be used June 1st through October 31st in the year the booklet is issued. It is the responsibility of the WIC local agency staff to identify eligible participants and issue coupons at either the local WIC agencies, farmers' markets, or roadside stands.

 

What May Be Purchased With WIC Project FRESH Coupons?

WIC Project FRESH coupons can only be used to buy eligible, locally grown, fresh, unprepared fruits and vegetables from authorized farmers, farmers' markets and roadside stands. WIC participants are encouraged to use all their coupons during the season to help meet their special nutritional needs.  They are especially encouraged to buy broccoli, carrots, potatoes, squash, peaches, apples and tomatoes. A variety of produce rich in vitamins A, C, and folic acid are emphasized.

 

How Do WIC Participants Know Which Farmers' Markets Are Authorized?

To assist clients, all authorized farmers, farmers’ markets, and roadside stands, will have a laminated yellow poster stating: "Project FRESH Coupons Accepted Here” posted at their stands.  In FY 2015, 1,767 Michigan farmers, 146 Michigan farmers' markets, and 201 roadside stands were authorized to accept WIC Project FRESH coupons. WIC Project FRESH served more than 23,000 clients through 48 local health agencies in 77 counties in Michigan.


How Do Farmers Become Involved In The WIC Project FRESH Program? 

Farmers, Farmers’ Markets, and Roadside stands interested in the WIC Project FRESH Program should contact Lissa Smith BEFORE APRIL 1st of each year at (517) 335-8901 or at SmithL77@michigan.gov.

 

National Perspective

Michigan has the thirteenth largest WIC Project FRESH program in the nation and the third largest in USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) Midwest Region, which includes Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio. Michigan had a 65% redemption rate during the 2015 season and looks forward to growth in the coming years!

 

Senior Market FRESH

The Senior Market FRESH program is administered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Aging and Adult Services Office (formerly known as Office of Services to the Aging).

Questions about the Senior Market FRESH program should be directed to Aging and Adult Services at (517) 373-8230.