The Fruit & Vegetable Check Program is administered and managed by the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DHMH) as part of the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program. Pregnant women, new mothers, and infants under the age of 5 (or their guardians) who are eligible based on certain qualifications are issued checks to spend at grocery stores on items such as formula, cereal, and other healthy supplemental foods along with nutritional counseling. A national program, WIC is funded through the USDA and administered at the state level.
The Cash Value Voucher (CVV) was added to this program in 2009 in a national effort to increase consumption of fruits & vegetables. In Maryland it is called the Fruit and Vegetable Check (FVC). States were given the discretion to allow the checks to be accepted at farmers’ markets in addition to supermarkets, if they were willing to include the farmers as part of their already established vendor system.
Maryland was one of just 17 states to allow FVC redemption at farmers markets right at the beginning, and 2010 was the first market season that farmers could accept FVC checks in addition to the other federal nutrition benefits (FMNP, SNAP). DHMH worked closely with the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) so as to minimize the burden on farmers for participation in this new effort.
As a result of this collaboration, farmers use the same stamp from the MDA FMNP for the DHMH FVC, and can attend training for both programs at the same time (training dates are offered each spring throughout the state). This means that farmers only need to submit one application to DHMH for the FVC program, and then they may use the stamp that they already have to deposit the checks along with their FMNP checks.
More information on the following aspects of FVC program can be found here: