Outside of bourbon, horses and basketball, Kentucky might be most known for its rich agricultural history.
Yet, nearly 700,000 Kentuckians are food insecure, including more than 200,000 children. For a state flush with farmland and abundant natural resources, that’s troubling.
However, those numbers are an improvement from recent years and more programs are being created, or gaining support, to further chip away at the troubling statistics.
Starting today, many low-income families will see their purchasing power doubled at local farmers markets thanks to the Double Dollars program.
The Community Farm Alliance and Bluegrass Farm to Table announced this week that Kentucky Double Dollars and Bluegrass Double Dollars were merging. The expanded program provides financial incentives for low-income families to help them buy fresh, Kentucky-grown products at farmers’ markets, Fresh Stop Markets and two retailers.
“The Double Dollars Program helps achieve one of the key goals of our Hunger Initiative — to make fresh local foods accessible to more Kentucky families,” said Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles.
Previously, the Double Dollar program allowed families and individuals relying on federal programs, such as SNAP, WIC and the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program, to double up their card or vouchers for $10 of their money per visit. Now, participants can double up to $20 on fresh fruits and vegetables at participating locations.
This season, 27 Kentucky farmers markets, including the Berea Farmers Market, 12 Fresh Stop Markets (in Lexington and Louisville) and two Lexington-based retailers (Good Foods Co-op and Lexington Market East End) are offering Kentucky Double Dollars.
It’s not only the Kentucky Double Dollars program that is helping families. Many businesses, churches and organizations, especially in Madison County, are participating in the Summer Food Service Program, which provides free meals.
“Summer meals play a critical role in closing the hunger gap and supporting summer programs, keeping low-income children healthy, learning and engaged during summer vacation,” said FRAC President Jim Weill.
With options to receive nutritious meals, Kentuckians have a true chance to take a bite out of hunger. We hope, all who truly need the help, take advantage of these great opportunities.