FRANKFORT, Ky. — During Farmers’ Markets Week, Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles joined leaders of the Community Farm Alliance (CFA) to raise awareness of a state program that makes more fresh, local produce available to low-income Kentuckians.
Kentucky Double Dollars allows low-income Kentuckians on federal SNAP, WIC, and senior nutrition benefits to double up their buying power at 47 participating farmers’ markets in the commonwealth. This program is a collective effort of the CFA, Bluegrass Farm to Table, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, Passport Health Plans, and WellCare Health Plans.
“Farmers’ Market Week is the perfect time to talk about the Kentucky Double Dollars Program, which helps achieve one of the key goals of our Hunger Initiative – making fresh local foods accessible to more Kentucky families,” Commissioner Quarles said. “By increasing the buying power of some of our more food insecure residents, we are creating a more stable food supply for low-income Kentuckians. We also have the added bonus of increasing sales at Kentucky farmers’ markets, creating new income for producers, and possibly new customers. Helping others get the food resources they need is the best outcome of this program.”
Commissioner Quarles and representatives of the partner organizations had a news conference in Berea to talk about the Double Dollars program and the impact of farmers’ markets in urban, as well as rural, communities.
“Community Farm Alliance launched Kentucky Double dollars in 2014 at six farmers markets in eastern Kentucky,” said Martin Richards, CFA Executive Director. “Today, thanks to the many partners, Kentucky Double Dollars is available at 47 farmers market, 11 Fresh Stop community markets, and five retailer grocery stores. The program allows thousands of Kentuckians to access healthy Kentucky grown products impacting their lives, the lives of the farmers, and the lives of all Kentucky due to its economic impact.”
While at the event, Commissioner Quarles signed a proclamation naming Aug. 7-13 Farmers’ Markets Week in Kentucky. The week serves to salute the 170 farmers’ markets in 112 Kentucky counties. In those 170 markets, more than 3,000 vendors offer products for sale. With reported sales across Kentucky of more than $14 million last year, farmers’ markets are an economic engine that celebrates the state’s agricultural roots and brings the farm to Kentucky’s consumers.
Last year, more than 12,000 participants of the Kentucky Double Dollars program redeemed more than $307,000 at farmers’ markets, retail locations and fresh stops, and community markets across the state. For more information about Kentucky Double Dollars visit: https://kentuckydoubledollars.org.
Commissioner Quarles launched the Hunger Initiative in 2016 to bring together farmers, charitable organizations, faith groups, community leaders, educators, and government entities to look for ways to reduce hunger in Kentucky. To find out more about the Hunger Initiative, go to kyagr.com/hunger.
— Kentucky Department of Agriculture