The Letcher County Farmers Market is an exemplary market, offering several programs to serve its community and make the market more accessible to all. The programs are designed to offer alternative methods of payment and encourage a healthy lifestyle. MACED is proud to be providing a consultant to help them develop a strategic plan that will further strengthen the market.
Here’s a rundown of their programs:
- The Kids Kafé is a USDA summer feeding program that provides free lunch to all kids 18 and under (adults may also purchase meals at a low cost). Local growers provide the majority of the food, and CANE Kitchen prepares the meals. The Kafé is a collaboration of Letcher County Public Schools and the Kentucky Department of Education, with Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC) funding the booth when school is back in session.
- The FARMACY program allows qualified families or individuals to receive “prescriptions” for local fruits and vegetables to be redeemed at the market. This program serves 200 families weekly, and is made possible by a partnership with MCHC.
- Tanglewood2Table UK Walking program is a research project in its third year. It incentivizes walking by providing $10 for individuals to spend on fresh produce for every mile they walk along the Tanglewood trail. Participants also receive meals from the CANE kitchen during the market’s off season. In 2019, there were 63 people in the walking program with about 57 showing up each week.
- Healthy YOUth Challenge is a booth that provides nutrition and physical challenges for youth under 18, where they can earn tokens to spend on produce at the market. This booth is run by youth from the Interns on the Creek program.
- The Double Dollars Program matches the amount of any benefits a person may be receiving (WIC, SNAP, senior vouchers), allowing a customer to purchase double the amount of produce. This program is offered with support from Community Farm Alliance’s Farmers’ Market support program.
- Through the BackPack Program, children who receive free or reduced-price meals also receive a backpack of food to take home on the weekends. Any child who receives a backpack through that program can also receive $25 to spend each week at the market, as well as a $10 gas card made possible through the Appalachian Impact Fund.