A robust local food system is good not only for environmental sustainability and for Lexington’s economy, with its deep roots in farming, but it also supports the community in one of its greatest underlying sources of wealth—the health of our present residents and future generations. That’s why I worked on grant support and city funding for creation of the first ever local food coordinator position in 2014. I am grateful to Mayor Gray, Chief Development Office Kevin Atkins, and my colleagues on Council for their support of this initiative.
We were fortunate to hire Ashton Potter Wright as the local food coordinator in the summer of 2014. She has done an incredible amount of work in less than one year on the job. What follows provides information about just one the of the many developments that the newly-named Bluegrass Farm to Table that she heads has brought to our community.
In cooperation with my office and the Blue Grass Community Foundation, Ashton secured a highly competitive Federal grant that will bring dollars to our city and increase the health of our citizens. The program, to be available starting in June of 2015, is called Bluegrass Double Dollars. Through a matching program, it will help SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) recipients purchase local foods. The program and its funding are important because while local food improves long-term health outcomes, it is often more expensive than other options. For those struggling to make ends meet, the program will help overcome this serious obstacle to a healthier lifestyle. We want more families, especially our community’s neediest children, to have access to healthy, local food and the quality of life it enables.
I encourage you to learn more about the program from Ashton and community leaders at the Blue Grass Community Foundation–in their own words–by checking out this great video feature highlighting this new and exciting program:
Also, please “Like” Bluegrass Farm to Table on Facebook so that you can stay connected to the many ways that Ashton and the many cooperating individuals and organizations are working to develop and enhance our local food economy. You can do that by clicking here.
We can all be proud of the work that Ashton has done in her brief time as local food coordinator to increase increase revenue for local farmers and improve the health of our community.