WIC at your Market
What is WIC?
WIC = Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
Similarly to SNAP, WIC is a federally-funded, locally-administered supplemental nutrition program. WIC, however, is only available for income-eligible pregnant and postpartum mothers and their children from 0-5 years. (WIC also offers additional assistance, such as breastfeeding support and healthcare referrals.)
WIC FMNP checks are spendable only at farmers’ markets and farm stands and can be used only for fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and culinary herbs. Regular WIC checks can be used at various retailers, including farmers’ markets if a customer chooses and if there are authorized farmers. WIC can be on a variety of basic food items, including dairy, eggs, whole-grain breads, and legumes, as well as fruits and vegetables. Click on these links for full descriptions of the WIC and WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP).
Both WIC and WIC FMNP checks work similarly to a personal check – they get signed by the user when the purchase is made. The farmer then deposits them like a regular check after stamping them with a unique number stamp issued to each farmer by the WIC program.
How can my farm accept WIC?
Farmers apply during the winter and must complete a brief training program (usually about 1 hour). There is no charge for application or re-authorization. Completion of the application and training process grants authorization to accept WIC (WIC FMNP if applicable) checks for 3 years. Upon authorization, you will receive a WIC sign that should be prominently displayed to let WIC customers know they can shop with you.
Click here to sign up for our newsletter to receive updates about upcoming WIC training opportunities. Contact the state office at the number and address below to receive a WIC farmer application.
Maine WIC Program
SHS 11, 286 Water St.
Augusta, ME 04333
How can our market as a whole support WIC customers?
- If your market has vendors who accept WIC vouchers, remind shoppers often, particularly on social media. (We have some graphics here.)
- Encourage more vendors to apply for WIC certification over the winter
- Remind certified vendors to display their WIC sign prominently so customers know where to go (for a printable WIC sign, click here: WIC Accepted Here small poster)
- Distribute and provide a small flyer that lists the vendors where customers can use WIC and WIC FMNP checks
- Connect with your local WIC office to see if someone on staff is able to do an on-site distribution day where they visit the market to distribute WIC FMNP checks and provide information about the program. Click here to find your local WIC office.
- See the “Partner & Promote” bullets within the SNAP section above for relevant ideas on how to promote WIC at your farmers’ market