What is Senior Farm Share? 

Senior Farm Share is a program administered through the Maine Department of Agriculture. As a participant in the program, you are qualified to receive a free share ($50 worth) of first-quality, fresh, local produce during the growing season. Seniors are sign up with one farmer for the season.

Cultivating Community matches seniors (who are 60+ years or older and meet the income eligibility guidelines listed below) with Fresh Start Farms growers. Seniors either pick up their produce at a farm stand/farmers’ market, or (if it works for both parties) their farmer delivers it to their door.

What is Eldershare?

For seniors living in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood, we also involve high school youth growers who are working at Boyd Street Urban Farm in an expanded Senior Farm Share program called Eldershare.

In Eldershare, East Bayside seniors receive free weekly deliveries of fresh produce grown by Fresh Start Farms ($50 worth) AND youth growers at Boyd Street Urban Farm (an extra $50+ worth). Youth deliver all produce directly to seniors’ doors.

How and When to Sign Up

Sign up will take place during April & May directly with a participating farmer. Seniors must sign up each year with a farmer. Please do not assume that you are automatically signed up if you participated in a prior year. You may choose a different farmer from year to year, but you can only sign up with one farmer for one share in one program year. Feel free to call 761-4769 and we will connect you with our network of Fresh Start Farms growers.

Eligibility Requirements:

In order to participate you must:

Be a Maine resident, 60 years old or older (55 if Native American)

Not be an immediate family member or live in the same household as the farmer

Meet one of the income guidelines:

•  Maximum of $20,665/per year for a one-person household; or $27,991/per year fora two-person household; or

•  Have established eligibility in: MaineCare, Supplemental Security Income, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or the Low Income Drug Program.

Senior Responsibilities

You are signing an agreement with a farmer to use your entire share by the date the farmer sets. Only sign up for a share if you are fairly certain you will be able to use all of it. You must let the farmer know if your share will not be used. If you cannot or do not use your full share, the farmer has to sign up another senior to take your place.

What to consider when signing up for Senior Farm Share

•  Does the farm grow vegetables that you like to eat?

•  Are you required in the agreement to go pick up from the farm, or does the farmer deliver to you?

•  If you have to PICK UP your produce, do you have transportation to get to the farm enough times over the 8 week season to use up your $50 share?

•  Is the place where you have to pick up your produce too far away from your home?

•  Do you choose what you will receive every week, or does the farmer choose for you? (This will be explained by the farmer and written on the agreement form.)

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Recipes/Benefits of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables:

The benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables are plentiful! For specific information on the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables and for recipes click on the links below:

•  Maine Nutrition Network

•  Office of Elder Services

•  Fruits and Veggies Matter

•  Recipe Source

Cultivating Community

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