The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County WIC program is seeking local farmers to participate in the USDA annual Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program scheduled Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 1 through July 31.

Last year, more than 650 WIC participants and consumers took advantage of the Farmer’s Market program, which helped raise awareness and revenues for local producers.

The program is an excellent way for local growers to reach additional customers.

“This program benefits farmers by expanding the base of consumers who shop at community farmers' markets,” said Carl Penn, Division Representative with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “It also benefits consumers who can easily purchase locally grown fresh produce.”

Fresh fruits and vegetables are important to good health and the number of customers seeking a convenient way to buy fresh produce is growing. The program is seeking additional vendors to meet the anticipated growth in consumer participation.

“This year, we’re expecting an even larger turnout,” said Dede Barrett, with the Florida Department of Health WIC program. “There is no cost to participate and our staff can help new vendors with the easy registration process,” Barrett said.

Interested farmers can contact Dede Barrett at 983-5250.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC, provides supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education at no cost to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding post-partum women, and to infants and children up to five years of age, who are found to be at nutritional risk.

The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.