Commissioner celebrates Farmers’ Market Week with Kentucky Double Dollars initiative

Low-income Kentuckians can double their buying power at Farmers’ Markets During Farmers’ Markets Week, Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles joined leaders of the Community Farm Alliance (CFA) and other partners to raise awareness of a state program that makes more fresh, local produce available to low-income Kentuckians.

Kentucky Double Dollars doubles federal SNAP, WIC, and senior nutrition benefits at 43 participating farmers’ markets in the commonwealth. This program is a collective effort of CFA, Bluegrass Farm to Table, the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA), Passport Health Plans, and WellCare Health Plans.

“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.”

Commissioner 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