Combatting food insecurity in Kentucky: How Ag Commissioner Quarles is fighting for food

06/20/2016 03:30 PM

As one-in-six Kentuckians face food insecurity GOP Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles is attempting to find a remedy by partnering with the agriculture community in the commonwealth.

At the beginning of the month, Quarles announced the launch of a statewide Kentucky Hunger Task Force initiative, a first-of-its-kind effort to alleviate food insecurity in Kentucky.

“What’s different about this initiative is that we’re starting from the farm level,” Quarles said. “Meaning we’re involving people who actually put the seeds in the ground to those waiters and waitresses that clean up the food at the end of your dining session at a restaurant, so we’re really hoping to have an inclusive substantial conversation and come up with a statewide strategic plan addressing hunger.”

Starting this week the task force will begin regional meetings. The first meeting is slated for Tuesday afternoon at the Campbell County Extension Office in Highland Heights. Overall the group is expected to hold six to eight meeting across the state through the end of the year.

Quarles expects the group will develop a list of possible solutions after hearing the issues affecting the different regions of the state, but he thinks there will be many solutions.

One way the agriculture commissioner already assumes will be a recommendation is to involve farmers in the solutions by partnering with food banks. Another idea would be engaging with the church community to work a communal green space.

“We’re also looking at urban agriculture and also better understanding how we can use government benefits at our 173 farmers markets across the state,” Quarles said.

Watch the full interview with Quarles in the video below.


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