Farms to Food Banks in Kentucky

Friday, February 8, 2019

In 2017, The Kentucky Association of Food Banks received a $400,000 Community Food Projects grant for the Farms To Food Banks Capacity Building project. The project will increase access to nutritious food among food-insecure Kentuckians and strengthen the linkages between key sectors of Kentucky's food system, including farmers, nonprofit food distributors and low-income consumers.

The project will increase the capacity of Kentucky’s emergency food distribution system to distribute fresh produce. To accomplish this objective, a Western Star 5700 XE tractor truck was placed with God’s Pantry Food Bank in Lexington, Kentucky the spring of 2018. 

During the first four months of full service, the equipment dramatically improved the food bank’s fresh produce handling capacity in Southeastern Kentucky. Specifically, produce volumes increased more than 37 percent versus the same period last year.

Food pantries in the following counties received fresh produce as a result: Bell, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel, Leslie, McCreary, Owsley, Pulaski, Rockcastle, and Whitley.

Many of the local charitable feeding organizations in Kentucky’s food bank network lack the cold storage capacity necessary to store perishable items for distribution to low-income consumers. The increased capacity allowed God’s Pantry Food Bank to expand its distribution capabilities and deliver the highly perishable product to partner agencies using a “just in time” model that required minimal cold storage capacity on the part of agencies. The increased capacity also allowed God’s Pantry Food Bank to distribute the produce directly to consumers in communities without a partner agency able to distribute fresh produce. Kentucky’s charitable food distribution network now possesses enhanced physical infrastructure and increased capacity to safely distribute perishable fresh produce.

Read more about this project through NIFA's Data Gateway.

NIFA supports this work through a Community Foods Project grant.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Related Information

U.S. States and Territories:
Kentucky