Food Banks Feed the Hungry, Support Kentucky Farmers
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 25, 2018) — The Kentucky Association of Food Banks (KAFB), a 501(c)3 charitable organization, was formed in 2001 when representatives from all seven Feeding America food banks in the state collaborated with the mission to end hunger in Kentucky. The seven Feeding America food banks include Dare to Care, God’s Pantry, Facing Hunger, Purchase Area Development District, Tri-State, Freestore, and Feeding America, which service all 120 counties in the state. Building alliances that help support hunger relief are at the forefront of KAFB’s goals while increasing quality, variety and nutritional value of the food that is available to hungry Kentuckians. Their outstanding work in mobilizing the public to join the hunger fight has led to a fantastic impact on the state.
KAFB started its partnership with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in 2009 to establish the Farms to Food Banks program. Less than ten years later, in 2017, KAFB reports 3.6 million pounds of food was distributed translating to roughly 6 million meals for hungry Kentuckians. Fortunately, KAFB is not just in the business of helping hungry Kentuckians; they also do a great deal to support local farmers. KAFB uses funds to help farmers recoup the loss from produce that otherwise may be considered unmarketable. It’s important that the food banks are able to offer a fair price to farmers for surplus product without directly competing with local markets or spurring additional production. The University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification and Department of Agricultural Economics have worked closely with KAFB to help them determine appropriate pricing for the products they buy. These prices are based on average produce auction prices with some consideration given to regional terminal market prices. Over $600,000 went to farmers for 28 different types of produce, which resulted in farmers receiving an average payment of $1,700. So far, in 2018 (as of 9/14/18) KAFB has reported purchases totaling $584,837, which has provided 3,175,929 pounds of produce or 5,293,215 meals to all 120 counties.
2018 has been an excellent year for KAFB, with $1.0 million for the Farm to Food Banks program included in the biennial state budget. The fiscal year shows 7.6 million pounds of produce and grocery products resulting in 64 million meals reaching one in seven Kentuckians. KAFB has accepted more than $300,000 of In-Kind contributions, and they anticipate this number will continue to grow throughout the remainder of the year. Additionally, 335 farmers from 64 counties have worked with KAFB to provide fresh local food to hungry Kentuckians.
For more information about how you can help KAFB visit their website at kafb.org. To reach someone directly, contact Tamara Sandberg, executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sarah Vaughn, program coordinator, at email@example.com.
This article was written by Alex Butler, extension associate; Brett A. Wolff, extension associate; and Timothy A. Woods, an agricultural economist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. The article first appeared in the September 2018 edition of the Center for Crop Diversification newsletter.