Farmers markets an easy way back to post-pandemic society

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Perry's Jesse Quijas left with quite the haul after visiting the stand of Earlham's Bill Gomez in 2017 at the Perry Farmers Market.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages everyone who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to resume normal activities without wearing a mask.

What a relief!

The outdoor farmers markets are a perfect first step for those of you who have been diligent about social distancing and following mitigation guidelines for many months.

If you are at least 60 years old, live in Dallas County and are within income guidelines, you may apply with the Dallas County Health Department for $30 of vouchers for fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh herbs or honey from any farmers market booth in Iowa that accepts the vouchers.

The income guidelines are as follows: for a single person, no more than $23,828 annually; for a married couple, no more than $32,227.  For a married couple, if both are over age 60, each person will get $30 of vouchers.

The vouchers can be used from June until the end of October 2021.  If it’s difficult for you to get to and/or walk around at farmers markets, you may name a proxy — a substitute — who is allowed to buy produce for you with your vouchers.

The vouchers are funded by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and are distributed by Area Agencies on Aging.  Here in Dallas County, the Health Navigators are working to enroll anyone interested in this program.  See the IDALS website for a list of farmers markets throughout Iowa with vendors who can accept the vouchers.

Call Dallas County Health at 515-993-3750 to apply for Senior Farmers Market vouchers.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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