Every year, families gather around their table to celebrate Thanksgiving by sharing a home-cooked meal, cooked with love. It is a wonderful opportunity to see family and friends who live near or far and to remember the importance of having an attitude of gratitude.
For far too many Kentucky families, putting food on the table is a daily struggle, and preparing a Thanksgiving meal is even more difficult. That’s why Feeding Kentucky works with farms across the state to provide fresh, nutritious food to families through its Farms to Food Banks program.
This program gives farmers like us the opportunity to donate their surplus crops and provide healthy food to a family in need. Much of the food in the field is not marketable to grocers because it does not meet their size requirements. But it’s good to eat! Farms to Food Banks connects Kentuckians to these good, healthy products, helping us reduce food waste and help our neighbors.
This year, the program allowed our farm to donate nearly 245,000 pounds of fresh produce and was a win-win situation for our family farm and hungry families across the Commonwealth.
Farm to Food Banks started just over a decade ago, in 2011. We are very grateful to have been a part of this program for about four years and to have had the opportunity to share our products with others Kentuckians. We were able to donate some of our fresh produce to God’s Pantry Food Bank in Lexington. As farmers, we want to grow something on our land and know that we are making an impact on our community. This program helps us do just that: grow produce and feed our families and communities.
In 2022, Feeding Kentucky’s Farms to Food Banks program distributed more than 3 million pounds of fresh produce to food banks across the state, helping feed more than 30,000 families who struggle to put food on the table. Table.
As a former teacher, I (Morgan) have seen first-hand the impact of hunger on our community, and as a mother, I know how important it is to provide our children with a meal healthy. People are looking for fresh produce, and I (Jonathan) have seen it firsthand. When I go to a food bank to deliver fresh produce, I sometimes hand out watermelons to people on the road who see me and ask for them. People want healthy food and we can share that with them.
This program is a vital part of Feeding Kentucky’s mission to end hunger in Kentucky because it not only connects families to food, but also to healthy and nutritious products. More than 90% of households served by Feeding Kentucky members purchase unhealthy foods because they are expensive. They are able to put some food on the table for their family, but it does not have the nutritional value that they or their children need to thrive.
Donations to the Farms to Food Banks program help cover the costs of harvesting, packaging and transporting farm produce donated to food banks or families. In turn, the products are distributed to hungry Kentuckians across the state through the Feeding Kentucky network. With your donation, Feeding Kentucky helps us reduce food waste and keep Kentuckians fed.
Much like a Thanksgiving meal, good food is at its best when shared with others. We are extremely grateful for the tangible impact we have been able to make on others by donating our produce to farms and food banks.
This Thanksgiving, we encourage you to support the Farms to Food Banks program and help ensure that all Kentuckians have access to the food they need for a healthy lifestyle. If you are a farmer and want to donate some of your crops, you can visit this website. If you would like to give back to Feeding Kentucky through a donation, visit feedky.org.
Jonathan and Morgan Berkshire of Berkshire Farms in Glencoe, KY, have been participating in Feeding Kentucky’s Farms to Food Banks program for nearly four years.