VERSAILLES, Ky. (WTVQ) – August is peak growing season in Kentucky, which means it’s
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles visits with a family at the Woodford County Farmers’ Market Wednesday. Quarles was there to celebrate Kentucky’s Farmers’ Market Week and to raise awareness of the Kentucky Double Dollars program that benefits low-income Kentuckians. (Kentucky Department of Agriculture photo).
the perfect time to buy local produce.
This week, Woodford County is celebrating National Farmer’s Market Week, which seeks to honor the economic importance that agriculture and farming has in communities around the nation.
The Woodford County Farmer’s Market, just one of the 170 farmer’s markets in Kentucky, features fresh baked goods and produce from farms within a fifty-mile radius of Woodford County, ensuring all its vendors are local.
“It’s good for the economy, it’s good for your body to buy local, and you get all the good vitamins…and you’re supporting local farmers instead of big corporate produce,” said Versailles resident Olivia Flint.
For the past five years, Kentucky has been making shopping for local produce more accessible.
Through the Kentucky Double Dollars program, 43 farmer’s markets provide shoppers with the option to use an additional benefit through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to buy their produce. This is all in an effort to make sure every Kentuckian has access to fresh, local food.
“Support a local farmer, and consider going to a farmer’s market every week, not just during National Farmer’s Market Week, because this is economic development,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles.
National Farmer’s Market Week continues through Saturday, August 7.
“The Kentucky Double Dollars Program helps achieve one of the key goals of our Hunger Initiative – to make fresh local foods accessible to more Kentucky families,” Commissioner Quarles said. “It also increases sales at Kentucky farmers’ markets, creating new income for producers. During the pandemic, this program was a lifesaver for our farmers and low-income Kentuckians. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”
Quarles and representatives of the other partner organizations had a news conferences in Versailles Wednesday to talk about the Double Dollars program and the impact of farmers’ markets in urban as well as rural communities.
“When Kentuckians use the Double Dollars program at their local farmers’ markets, they can double the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables for their families. The program provides better, fresher food — and more of it — while supporting our local communities,” said Joshua Sloop, President and CEO for WellCare of Kentucky. “Making nutritious food more accessible is an important step in supporting Kentucky families with healthier options, which can lead to a healthier lifestyle and better health outcomes.”
“To be the healthiest version of themselves, our members and neighbors in Kentucky need easy access to fresh, healthy food,” said Ryan Sadler, plan president of Passport Health Plan by Molina Healthcare. “Passport is proud to sponsor this program as part of 2021 National Farmers’ Market Week. We greatly appreciate our local farmers and all they do to assist families by offering healthy food options for citizens across the commonwealth.”
“Farmers’ Markets are important because they are a place of local food access, economic development and community connection,” said Jann Knappage, farmer and CFA Board Chair. “They are the meeting point of all things that make a county/city vibrant and a truly wonderful place to live.”
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.