KENTUCKY, USA — The Kentucky Department of Agriculture received a big tool in the fight against food insecurity in the Commonwealth.
The United States Department of Agriculture awarded a $5.4 million grant to the KDA’s Food Distribution Division to improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency.
“Kentucky’s rich agricultural land doesn’t shield its residents from food insecurities," Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles said in a release. "With one in seven Kentuckians, including one in six children, facing food struggles, we are extremely excited for the opportunities this grant presents,”
KDA will spread the funds through three main programs. Two programs will partner with the Feeding Kentucky network of food banks to purchase and expand the distribution of food and frozen meals to food-insecure Kentuckians.
The third project will provide boxed food to Kentuckians who face food insecurity.
The food in these boxes will be bought from Kentucky producers to strengthen market channels.
“A primary goal is that these partnerships will develop into sustainable, long-term commercial relationships for local producers," Quarles said.
The funding is part of the national, ‘Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program,' which is authorized by the American Rescue Plan. The USDA will award up to $400 million nationwide through agreements with local governments to support local food producers through the purchase of their locally produced food.
“USDA is excited to partner with Kentucky to promote economic opportunities for farmers and producers and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.