Extending Maine Senior Farm Share—“Adopt-A-Senior”
March is sign-up time for low-income seniors who want to participate in the Maine Senior Farm Share Program and receive $50.00 worth of produce over the course of the season. Seniors must be 60 years or over in age (55 for Native Americans), be a Maine resident, and not live in the household or be an immediate family member of the farmer. They must meet the following income criteria:
Live alone and have an income below $18,888.50 ……….or
Have a combined income (with a spouse) below $25,326.50. (Both can have a share.)
The Senior FarmShare program is very popular. Seniors must sign-up each year, even if they were with a farmer last year. For the third year, the Snell Farm in Buxton is offering “Ádopt-A-Senior”, whereby individuals and civic groups may sponsor a senior’s $50.00 worth of fruits and vegetables by paying $45.00 to the farm by May. We will add $5.00 to each “adoption” for the full $50.00 share
For the last four years, individuals and civic groups have sponsored seniors, and several folks recognized it as an appropriate memorial to their departed loved ones.
Seniors may shop for fresh produce at the Snells’ stand at Farmers’ Markets in Portland or Saco, or at the farm in Bar Mills on Route 112 beginning in July and continuing through October until their credit is retired. If individuals are unable to spend their full credit, the balance is used for another senior’s vegetables.
Participants have given the program high marks. Some folks say they had forgotten the very good-taste of fresh fruit and vegetables. Others have reported that while they had the farmshare credits, they did not have to choose between paying for food and buying medicine. Some have tried new foods like unusual greens or ethnic vegetables, and many report they enjoy the social interaction with the farm crew. The payments in May help us farmers with cash flow to pay for seed and early production costs. We, too, enjoy meeting the seniors and their families. It’s another step in keeping the land economically alive and productive.