Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, Community Farm Alliance, and WellCare
collaborate to expand programs that benefit families and farmers
|Lisa Kelly, co-owner of Pet Wants Fort Thomas, is part of the Fort Thomas Farmers Market. Photo: Fort Thomas Farmers Market Facebook page.|
This season, 25 Kentucky farmers markets and two Fresh Stops Markets in Lexington are offering the successful “Double Dollars” program, which allows people receiving government nutritional assistance to double their spending power if they shop at local farmers markets.
RELATED: The 2016 Fort Thomas Farmers' Market Vendors (Every Wednesday from 3-7 p.m.)
The expansion was announced this morning during a celebration and proclamation of Kentucky Farmers Market Week at the Franklin County Farmers Market. Those in attendance included Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy executive director Warren Beeler, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, Community Farm Alliance executive director Martin Richards, and several other state and local officials.
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“Double Dollars” means that families receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), or the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) are able to double their spending power (up to $10 per day) by shopping at farmers markets.
“Farmers markets using the Double Dollars program see an average increase in sales of 32 percent,” Commissioner Quarles said. “And, of course, that increase in sales goes directly into the pockets of Kentucky’s farmers, who then spend that money at local stores and businesses. That’s a direct economic benefit for our farming communities, and the program also helps us address hunger and access to fresh food for Kentucky families.”
The state’s Agricultural Development Board, chaired by Governor Matt Bevin, recently authorized more than $78,000 to support the Community Farm Alliance, which administers the Double Dollars program and funds on-site managers for the state’s farmers markets. WellCare Health Plans of Kentucky donated $6,000 and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services contributed an additional $5,500 to support Double Dollars.
“Kentucky’s 110 farmers markets do an excellent job of addressing nutritional needs and food insecurity issues within local communities through state and federal nutrition programs,” Beeler said. “Programs like the ‘Double Dollars’ only help in ensuring consumers have access to fresh and nutritious food products. Additionally, farmers receive a greater return, which increases net farm income and stimulates the local economy. The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board takes pride in funding programs that benefit not only Kentucky farmers, but Kentuckians from all walks of life as well.”
The Double Dollars program began with just six markets in 2014. Richards said the program has been popular with both farmers markets and with the families using the program.
“In many rural Kentucky communities, 25 percent of the population participates in these nutritional programs,” Richards said. “Double Dollars helps draw these people to the wholesome, fresh food of farmers markets, which is good for them and good for our farmers.”
Surveys of Double Dollars users showed that people using the program felt they were eating a lot more fruits and vegetables and felt more educated about healthy eating.
“You’ve heard of BOGO – buy one, get one – this is BOGO for your health,” said Kelly Munson, senior vice president of WellCare, which has repeatedly contributed to CFA to help administer and promote the Double Dollars program. “We know healthier people not only save money on health care but are better able to obtain or retain employment. This program helps Kentucky families in the most straightforward way possible – by putting healthy food on the table.”
Double Dollars are available at the following markets:
· Bardstown Road Farmers Market, Louisville
· Berea Farmers Market Cooperative
· South Point Farmers Market, Louisville
· Bounty of the Barrens Farmers Market, Glasgow
· Boyle County Farmers Market LLC
· Community Farmers Market Bowling Green
· Cumberland County Farmers Market
· Farmers Market on the Square, Columbia
· Franklin County Farmers Market
· Gateway Farmers Market (SoKY Marketplace), Bowling Green
· Gray Street Farmers Market, Louisville
· Jackson County Farmers Market
· Knox County Farmers Market Inc.
· Magoffin County Farmers Market Association
· Metcalfe County Farmers Market
· Owen County Farm and Craft Market
· Perry County Farmers Market
· Phoenix Hill NuLu Farmers Market, Louisville
· Winchester/Clark County Farmers Market
· Whitesburg/Letcher County Farmers Market
· Downtown Richmond Farmers Market
· Five Lexington Farmers Market locations