Partnerships with farmers markets have been an integral part of Glean Kentucky’s work ever since we began gleaning back in 2010. Gleaning farmers markets is an efficient way to gather surplus produce from many farms at one time, thus minimizing time and labor. Plus, seeing our volunteers and staff in action at farmers markets helps the public understand the need for gleaning programs. We’d like to shine the spotlight on a farmers market that has been instrumental in helping us expand our work throughout the Commonwealth.
When we began building a program in South Central Kentucky last fall, we quickly formed a partnership with Community Farmers Market (CFM), a year-round farmers market in Bowling Green that works to provide all members of the surrounding community with access to healthy, local food. Since October 2020, we have visited CFM every week to glean surplus produce from a number of local farms, including Smallhouse Homestead, Stonehouse Market Farm, Top Crops, Very Good Farm, and Need More Acres. The cold winter weather of the past several months has limited the amount of excess produce that each farm has at the end of a market day, but when multiple farms donate small amounts of produce, it adds up quickly. We have gleaned several hundred pounds of vegetables from the market so far. We anticipate that the amount of gleaned produce will grow substantially this summer when warmer temperatures and longer days bring bigger harvests.
Our gleaning partnership isn’t the only way that CFM is working to provide equitable access to nutritious foods. CFM supports the community in Bowling Green through several innovative programs that reduce the cost of healthy, locally produced food for people with limited incomes. The Fresh Rx Program For Moms provides expectant mothers on Medicaid with $20 per week to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. The Double Dollars program increases the buying power of SNAP/EBT benefits, WIC vouchers, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers, and even Western Kentucky University students’ Big Red Dollars by doubling the value of vouchers up to certain amounts. The Double Dollars program at CFM was the first of its kind in the state and has been replicated at farmers markets throughout Kentucky. Glean Kentucky is proud to partner with an organization that is so committed to providing the whole community with access to affordable and healthy local foods.
If you would like to stay up-to-date with our work in South Central Kentucky, sign up for our monthly regional newsletter here. To learn more about ways that you can be involved with our work, email firstname.lastname@example.org.