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Kentucky Farms to Food Banks Starts Season with Solid Budget to Buy 'Ugly Produce' and Protein Items

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Feeding Kentucky/Farms to Food Banks
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A perfect appearance isn’t everything when it comes to produce. 

The Kentucky Farms to Food Banks program proves that by purchasing what's affectionately called 'ugly produce.'  That's fruits and vegetables with a bruise or imperfect shape that makes it hard to sell to grocery stores that want to display 'perfect' produce. 

But ugly produce can still be fresh and nutritious, and help stock the pantries of families that are food insecure. 

The Farms to Food Banks program is beginning to line up farmers who want to sell extra produce ranging from apples to zuccini this year.

Farms to Food Banks is in excellent financial shape thanks to the generosity that continued through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Feeding Kentucky Programs Director Sarah Vaughn said Farms to Food Banks is planning to complement the produce this year with increased purchases of protein products, like meat, eggs, and cheese.

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic we have received a lot more support from foundations and corporations and the community in general, so our budget is a lot larger this year than it has been in the past,” said Vaughn.

Last year 371 farmers in 63 Kentucky counties took part in Farms to Food Banks and many are expected to particpate this year, but join later in the season. 

“We have already had farmers start to sign up. I believe we’ve had 16 applications already turned in and we’ve signed up six produce auctions or cooperatives across the state," said Vaughn. "But I get daily inquiries from people wanting to sign up, so I foresee that growing quite a bit as the season moves along.”

Rhonda Miller joined WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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