A Kentucky program that increases the amount of produce in food banks is paying farmers more for their crops. The Kentucky Farms to Food Banks program wants to make sure farmers can cover the cost of growing, picking and getting their produce to food banks.
So the program is compensating farmers based on wholesale produce prices in Atlanta, Chicago and St. Louis -- instead of on Kentucky markets.
Tamara Sandberg is executive director of the Kentucky Association of Food Banks. She says farmers are now getting paid 46-cents for a pound of tomatoes—up from 30-cents a pound last year.
“Another real popular crop has been yellow squash. Last year we paid an average of 25 cents a pound and this year it will be closer to 39 cents a pound. Sweet corn went up a lot, too, yes. Last year it was 17 cents a pound and this year we should be paying closer to 43 cents a pound," Sandberg says.
She says farmers from 58 counties are taking part in the program. “4 farmers from Warren County, 2 from Barren County, 6 from Daviess County, 13 from Hart county and 11 from Pulaski County. So our goal is to reach as many farmers in as many counties across Kentucky as possible.”
The Farm to Food Banks programs buys produce that farmers can’t sell to grocery stores because it has minor blemishes. Last year 302 farmers took part in the program. So far this year, 26 new farmers have signed on.