Starting Oct. 1, the Women, Infants and Children program allowed participants to use vouchers to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables at retail outlets and farmers markets.

Here are some notable milestones affecting the WIC program.

1989 — Farmers Market Nutrition Program begins in 1989 as a U.S. Department of Agriculture-sponsored pilot project including 10 states.

1992 — Farmers Market Nutrition Program established by Congress.

August 1998 — United Fresh staff meets with USDA Food and Nutrition Service officials to begin discussions about need for fruits and vegetables in the WIC program.

September 1999 — Washington Public Policy Conference includes focus on WIC.

May 2000 — The fifth edition of “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” released on May 30, 2000, adding separate guideline for fruit and vegetable consumption.

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January 2001 — A Clinton administration draft regulation that would have prescribed some dark green and orange colored vegetables for the WIC program is never published as the Bush administration moves into office.

July 2002 — GAO publishes a landmark report, “Fruits and vegetables — Enhanced federal efforts to increase consumption could yield health benefits for Americans.” Momentum builds for changing WIC program.

August 2004 — Preliminary study green lights adding fruit and vegetable options to WIC.

April 2005 — Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends that the U.S. Department of Agriculture include vouchers for fruits and vegetables in nutrition assistance for women and children.

August 2006 — USDA publishes a proposed rule with a 90-day comment period that mirrors recommendations the agency received from the Institute of Medicine.

December 2007 — USDA publishes interim rule that states WIC moms will receive a fruit and vegetable voucher for $8 a month, while WIC children would receive a voucher for $6 a month. WIC breastfeeding mothers would receive a voucher for $10 a month. The rule sets an Aug. 5, 2009, deadline for implementation, which is later adjusted, moved to October 2009.

Source: The Packer, United Fresh Produce Association, National WIC Association.