A CT food assistance program is concluding for the year. Learn where to use your remaining balance
Connecticut’s Farmers Markets Nutrition Program, which provides supplemental assistance to women, children, seniors, and disabled individuals who meet income and housing guidelines to purchase food, ends for the year on Thursday.
At a pop-up farmers market in East Hartford on Wednesday, seniors and WIC participants used their remaining funds for locally produced foods.
Participants will have to re-apply to continue with their benefits as long as they meet the requirements, according to Erin Windham with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.
“We partner with senior sites throughout the state that can be senior centers, senior housing units, other organizations that are verifying their eligibility, that's an income eligibility as well as an age requirement, and we partner with the Department of Public Health who determines eligibility for WIC participants.”
Windham said the federally supported program has over 76,000 participants in Connecticut and typically runs from July 1 through Nov. 30. Participants can use their benefits at 242 local farmers markets and farm stands.
She said any unused funds will not carry over to 2024.
Barry Pickery is a WIC participant from Hartford and a mother of two children. She was at the pop up farmers market in East Hartford on Wednesday to use her benefits.
“The price has gone up a lot. So getting the WIC every month is very, very helpful. Actually it's very helpful right now because it's the end of the month and I'm struggling just a little bit. Today is the last day and I thought I wasn't going to be able to use it and actually I got an email yesterday letting me know that they were going to be here so I think it's awesome.”
Julia Mauer works at the East Hartford Health Department. She was at the pop up farmers market and said she heard the community discussing the same issues as Barry.
“I definitely hear that,” Mauer said. “Inflation is hitting the food market really hard right now.”
From last October to this October, food prices increased by 3.1% in the Northeastern region according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. The only grocery items to decline were meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, down 0.9%.
The following farmers markets and farm stands are open on the last day of the program (Nov. 30), according to a spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Agriculture:
Waterbury Market on the Green, West Main Street, Waterbury: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
St. Peter Church Parking Lot, 104 Main Street, Danbury: 2 – 4 p.m.
New Britain Senior Pop-up Market, 67 Martin Luther King Drive, New Britain: 1 – 3 p.m.
Killam and Bassette Farmstead, 1098 Main Street, Glastonbury: 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Lakeview Market, 14 Tabor Road, Griswold: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Bogue Farms, 3704 River Road, Middletown: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Twin Pines Farm, 121 Blakeman Road, Thomaston: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Stefan Farms, 251 Matianuck Ave., Windsor: Noon – 3 p.m.
Connecticut Public's Matt Dwyer contributed reporting to this story.