FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 5, 2017) — The Franklin County Farmers’ Market has been awarded a $199,245 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for an innovative project that aims to help local farmers increase sales while improving access to fresh food in Franklin County.
“This project will help the Franklin County Farmers’ Market expand its reach and make fresh, nutritious foods more readily available to its customers,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “This project has the potential to reduce food insecurity while growing the local food economy in Franklin County. We congratulate the leaders and vendors of the Franklin County Farmers’ Market on this opportunity.”
“This has been an exciting year at the Franklin County Farmers’ Market with an expanded Double Dollars program, great attendance at our monthly Kids’ Days, and increased engagement with a range of community partners,” said Connie Lemley, market farmer and Local Food for All project manager. “There is so much good work that we can do to improve access to fresh local foods and build a vibrant local food economy, and we are thrilled that this grant will give us the opportunity to do more of it.”
The Farmers’ Market Promotion Program grant will enable the market to implement its “Local Food for All: Increasing Farm Sales and Access to Fresh Food in Franklin County” project over the next three years. The goals of the project include hiring a full-time community engagement coordinator, launching two pilot projects, Farm to Workplace Deliveries and a Mobile Farmers’ Market; and increasing community engagement and attendance at the market.
Community partners in the project include Kentucky State University, the Food Literacy Project, Franklin County Cooperative Extension, the Friends of the Market, Community Farm Alliance, the United Way, Frankfort Parks and Recreation, Frankfort Independent Schools, Kids Grow KY, the Franklin County Health Department, New Roots, the Frankfort Tourist Commission, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown Frankfort Inc.
The Franklin County Farmers’ Market is a growers-only market located in downtown Frankfort. The market is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings from late April through late November, and is also open select Saturday mornings through the winter. The market sells a wide range of agricultural products produced by 30 farmers from Franklin County and adjacent counties. The Franklin County Farmers’ Market has been in existence for over 30 years and has been at its current location under the Market Pavilion at River View Park in downtown Frankfort since 2004.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture works closely with farmers’ markets to help them maximize their sales and profits. Sharon Spencer of Frankfort, director of the KDA’s Direct Farm Marketing Division, travels the state to provide assistance and education to markets and vendors. KDA works very closely with the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Food Safety Branch, and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment to provide the markets and consumers the most up-to-date information. This partnership created the Kentucky Farmers’ Market Manual and Resource Guide for farmers’ market managers, vendors, and potential vendors.