Market Days! for Older Adults exists to address the growing problem of food insecurity in older adults in Larimer County. The program is a collaboration between the Larimer County CSU Extension, Larimer County Farmers’ Market, and Senior Access Points of Larimer County that launched in 2019.
The Food Bank of Larimer County estimates that 8.4% of older residents are food insecure. While federal assistance programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) exist, most of these older adults don’t quality.
“This is what we call the SNAP gap,” explained Cheryl Noble, Market Days! for Older Adults program coordinator. “Despite being low income, many adults don’t meet the threshold to qualify for federal assistance. It’s a lose-lose: they make too much to receive SNAP benefits but not enough to afford quality, nutritious food.”
Market Days! purchases food from local farmers, volunteers bag up the food in reusable shopping totes, and the produce is distributed across the county.
In November, The Larimer County Farmers’ Market has launched a fundraising campaign with a $10,000 goal. 100% of all donations received in November will go directly to purchasing food for lower-income older adults in Larimer County from local farmers.
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Providing nutritious food for older adults in need
Market Days! provides older, low-income adults with free, fresh and nutritious produce, supporting healthy aging and reducing food insecurity in local communities including the rural Red Feather Lakes area.
Volunteers sign up to deliver bags of fresh produce to low-income adults in Larimer County. For many, the bags of vegetables can be life-changing.
“Many of our patients live in poverty. One 90-year-old woman living alone was eating cat food,” said Tricia Lipinski, Nurse Practitioner at St. Luke’s Medical Clinic. “Several started crying when we delivered their bag of fresh produce. Market Days! is greatly needed in our community.”
For many low-income older adults, the cost of fresh produce can be a barrier. More affordable food choices, such as dry and canned goods, are not the most nutritious options.
Supporting local farmers
Produce is purchased directly from Larimer County farmers at the market, supporting local producers and the Northern Colorado farming community.
In 2020, with support from a COVID relief grant from the NextFifty Initiative and funding from the Larimer County Office on Aging, the program generated an additional $25,000 in revenue for participating farmers.
In addition to produce from market farmers, some produce is donated by community partners. This year, Market Days! received a donation from the Colorado Dry Bean Committee to provide Colorado-grown beans for participants.
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A community-wide effort to support healthy aging
Market Days! identifies participants through community partners working directly with older adults in Larimer County.
This coalition of partners, including the Larimer County Office on Aging, Housing Catalyst, Volunteers of America (Meals on Wheels), A Little Help, Grand Family Coalition and Neighbor to Neighbor, provides a suite of services to support healthy aging in Larimer County.
In addition to fresh produce, bags also include recipes and tips on how to cook or preserve the produce provided. Senior Access Points has also developed information sheets on aging-related resources available in the community for medical and personal assistance that are included in produce bags to further support the needs of Market Days! participants.
In 2020, 269 individuals received bags during the market season (a total of 1,161 bags).
In 2021, 446 individuals received bags during the market season (a total of 1,447 bags). Volunteers spent over 343 hours packing produce, delivering bags, and supporting the program.
With increasing levels of food insecurity across the state, the number of older adults in need is expected to grow as well.
You can make a difference! For just $15, you can buy a bag of farm-fresh local produce for an older adult in need. Your donation helps alleviate the hard decision between paying bills or buying food, encourages healthy aging, and connects local farmers to the greater community while supporting the local economy.
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Learn about Sponsorship Opportunities
We offer a variety of sponsorship opportunities for small and large businesses. Your sponsorship supports our work to reduce food insecurity in older adults in Larimer County.
For more information, contact Cheryl Noble at the Larimer County Extension Office: firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-498-6000.
Thank you to our sponsors:
2022 Premier Sponsor:
2021 Impact Report:
Click here to view a PDF of our 2021 Impact Report (link opens a new tab)
- Total bags distributed between May 22th – Oct. 23rd, 2021: 1,445 (a 25% increase from 2020)
- 65 Volunteers – a total of 363 volunteer hours
- Number of Older Adults Served: 480* (*an additional 46 children benefited through Grand Family Coalition)
- Total Dollars to Local Farmers: $18,785
- 11 Community Partners:
- Larimer County Office on Aging
- Grand Family Coalition
- Meals on Wheels FC
- Lago Vista Mobile Home Park
- A Little Help
- Housing Catalyst
- Neighbor to Neighbor
- Red Feather Lakes Library
- Mason Place
- FC Neighborhood Services
- St. Luke’s Medical Clinic