May 24, 2006
ATLANTA (GA) - The Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services (DAS) and Division of Public Health (DPH) are announcing the launch of the Georgia Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (GSFMNP) which will take place June 1 – August 31, 2006 in five selected areas of the state. The program’s goal is to improve access to and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables while providing nutrition education, including health benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables, healthy meal plans, recipes, cooking, freezing, canning demonstrations and more. The program will serve 2,200 low-income Georgians aged 60 and older this year and promote Georgia agriculture and local farmers. DAS is partnering with DPH, Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers, local health departments, and the University of Georgia Extension Service to administer this program.
"Many older Georgians have difficulties affording fresh fruits and vegetables. Our goal is to improve the nutritional status of older Georgians and to expand the program to other parts of the state in the coming years," said DAS Director Maria Greene.
Five vouchers with a value of $4 each for a total of $20.00 for the season will be issued to each registered participant in the selected area. The vouchers can only be used for Georgia grown fruits and vegetables at approved farmers’ market sites in the following five target areas: Fulton County, and the LaGrange, Savannah, Augusta and Columbus areas. For more information, contact the following agencies: Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness, Arlene Murrell, Public Health nutrition manager, 404-505-6754; Southern Crescent Area Agency on Aging, Lisa Hale, wellness program coordinator, 770-719-5050; Central Savannah River Area Agency on Aging, L. Monique Hillman, wellness program coordinator, 706-210-2018; Lower Chattahoochee Area on Aging, Ilona Preattle, wellness program coordinator, 706-256-2939; and Coastal Area Agency on Aging, Loreatha Jenkins, wellness program coordinator, 912-264-7363.
DAS Chief Nutritionist & Wellness Program Director Sudha Reddy said, "Colorful fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients that are important to maintaining good health. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may also protect against the effects of aging and help reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases."
Reddy added, "Many older Georgians have difficulties affording fresh fruits and vegetables. This program will help improve access to, increase consumption of, and create a heightened awareness of fruit and vegetable consumption in promoting health and wellness."
The current recommendation is 5-13 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, which is published every five years by the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In a DAS survey of senior center participants, they found that only 30% of Georgia seniors report consuming the minimum recommendation of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
For information, contact:
Edna Jackson; 404-657-1386