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CALLING ALL FARMERS: Grants announced to pay farmers for produce

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STATEWIDE – The Farms to Food Banks program has received special grant funding from the Educational Foundation of America to support the expansion of the project, with the program now looking for local farmers to participate in being paid to provide produce for food banks.

Feeding Kentucky’s Farms to Food Banks program increases access to nutritious food among hungry Kentuckians through distribution of 28 types of locally-grown surplus and “ugly” fresh produce, which is fresh and edible but not sellable produce. 

While any Kentucky farmer with produce grown in any of the 120 counties in Kentucky may participate, the recently-announced grant will allow the program to pay farmers in counties with one or no farmer participants in the program since 2011, which includes Magoffin County. 

Tamara Sandberg, the program’s executive director, told the Independent this week that the Water Into Wine food panty in Magoffin County received 95,578 pounds of produce through the program in 2018 alone.

“Our goal through the project is to increase the amount of local produce sourced from farmers in the Appalachian Kentucky counties and distributed by our three Appalachian-serving regional member food banks – God’s Pantry Food Bank, Facing Hunger Food Bank, and Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland – and their 299 partner distribution agencies in the area,” Sandberg told the Independent.

Locally, Saint Luke’s Food Pantry, Water Into Wine Food Pantry, Mountain Comprehensive Care Center and Magoffin County Senior Center all receive produce from the program.

“The current Farms to Food Banks program model is a market-clearing model,” Sandberg explained. “Offers are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis and no guarantees of minimal quantities are made with any farmer. Our plan is to test whether offering contracts to farmers for a guaranteed amount of produce at a set price will increase participation in the region.”

For more information about the program or how to become involved, check out FeedingKy.org or call 859-986-7422.

Feeding Kentucky (formerly the Kentucky Association of Food Banks) is comprised of the seven regional Feeding America food banks serving all 120 Kentucky counties in partnership with 800 local charitable food organizations such as soup kitchens and food pantries. Last year, they distributed 64 million meals in Kentucky and fed over 50,000 Kentuckians.
 

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Heather Oney

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