Seniors, Disabled Gain Access to Food Fresh From The Farm

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

One of the joys of summer is a meal assembled from freshly harvested produce grown locally.

Those who have access to such foods, and the means to buy them, may not realize how lucky they are.

For those on fixed incomes, or who lack the resources or ability to travel to a local farmstand or farmers market, the simple pleasure of a freshly picked ear of corn can be out of reach. Enter an array of resources that can bridge the gap and include all members of the community in this summer experience.

Farmers Market Vouchers will be distributed by the Haverhill Council on Aging on Thursday, Aug. 8, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Haverhill Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St. To be eligible, applicants must be 60 or older, or disabled living in senior housing, and be income eligible. Vouchers will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, contact the Council at 978-374-2390, ext. 3916.

Local Harvest is a farmers market that operates at participating housing sites and senior centers from July through September. AgeSpan, formerly known as Elder Services, works with local Councils on Aging to provide access to free, fresh, local produce from a local farmer. In Haverhill, the “market” is at the Haverhill Citizens Center. Participants must be 60 or older and a member at the Haverhill Council on Aging. For more information, contact Paula at 978-374-2390, ext. 3916.

AgeSpan operates similar sites in Lowell, Methuen, Salisbury and Tewksbury. Call them at 978-946-1279 for information.

Mobile Markets are a collaboration between The Greater Boston Food Bank, AgeSpan and community organizations to provide supplemental food assistance.

They operate in three communities in the region: Haverhill, Lawrence and Tewksbury.

Each month, volunteers gather and fill more than 3,000 bags of shelf-stable and fresh foods. Community organizations take it from there, hosting the food distribution operation at their sites.

Haverhill’s distribution point is the AmVets Post 147, at 576 Primrose St.

In Tewksbury, food is distributed at the Council on Aging at 175 Chandler St.

Both markets are open to Merrimack Valley residents 60 and older, or adults with a disability. Participants must first fill out an application, available at Councils on Aging, and public and private housing offices. AgeSpan, at 978-946-1279, also can provide an application.

In Lawrence, the market operates every third Tuesday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon at the Boys & Girls Club, 136 Water St.

This market is open to all Merrimack Valley residents of any age, on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants must bring their own bags and complete an application at the market.

Contact Program Manager Ruth Ortiz at [email protected] or 978-946-1279 for information.

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