Farmers Market Nutrition Program
In order to participate in the FMNP you must be authorized by the Tennessee Dept of Health. Who is an authorized farmer? An Authorized Farmer is an individual who farms in Tennessee and who has a signed agreement with the FMNP to sell eligible foods at farmers’ markets and/or permanent farm stands. Individuals, who exclusively sell produce grown by someone else such as wholesale distributors, cannot be authorized to participate in the FMNP. Eligible foods are those fruits, vegetables and herbs listed on the Approved Food List and must be grown in Tennessee. The authorized farmer must have personally grown over half of the eligible foods he or she has for sale.
How does the Program Work?
WIC participants and senior citizens in selected counties are issued $5 FMNP vouchers in July and August to purchase Tennessee grown produce from authorized farmers. Participants are also given the names and selling locations of the authorized farmers. The authorized farmer has a poster displayed at his/her selling location. The authorized farmer exchanges Tennessee grown produce for the voucher. The authorized farmer enters the amount of the purchase and the date on the voucher and asks the participant to sign the voucher. The signature must match the signature on the front of their voucher folder. The farmer then validates the vouchers with a stamp provided by the Department of Health. The back of the voucher is stamped with the farmer’s bank account number and deposited into his or her bank account for payment.
How to apply to be an Authorized Farmer:
Individuals must annually apply for and receive farmer authorization in order to participate in the FMNP/SFMNP. The program does not limit the number of farmers who may become authorized. A farmer authorized to accept program vouchers may accept vouchers at any market in the state, depending upon acceptance by the local market. You must complete an application (PH-4171) and submit it to the regional health department office in your area. The vendor representative will contact you to inform you of training procedures. To find out more about the program, you may download a Farmers’ Handbook. A Farmers Agreement (PH-4173) is also available for your review.