12:44pm

Fri March 23, 2012
The Commonwealth

Food Banks Project Receives Tobacco Funds

The governor and first lady were joined by other state officials in Frankfort yesterday to present the Kentucky Association of Food Banks (KAFB) $60,084 from the Phase II Tobacco Settlement Trust to aid the Farms to Food Banks project. “In these tough economic times, it gives me great pleasure to present these funds for a project that will help both our farm families and Kentuckians in need,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a news release.

“Last year, the Farms to Food Banks project distributed more than 790,000 pounds of produce in 108 counties, providing an alternative market for 202 farmers.”

The Farms to Food Banks project provides fresh, healthful produce to Kentuckians in need, while providing additional markets for farmers, according to the news release, which went on to say that the association buys Kentucky-grown surplus and No. 2 produce that is edible but not sellable on the retail market. The produce is distributed at no cost to low-income Kentuckians throughout the foods bank network.

“This presentation is a fitting way to commemorate National Agriculture Day with agriculture and food banks working together for the benefit of citizens in need,” Jane Beshear said.

“With the need for food assistance skyrocketing across Kentucky, this grant is timely and critical,” Tamara Sandberg, executive director of KAFB, was quoted as saying. “The funds will allow for the purchase of 300,000 pounds of fresh, healthy produce for distribution to our struggling neighbors, while helping Kentucky farmers recoup losses.”

The National Tobacco Growers Settlement Trust, commonly called Phase II, was established to compensate tobacco growers and quota owners for potential losses expected to result from the Master Settlement Agreement – the landmark settlement between 46 state attorneys general and the major cigarette manufacturers.

These Phase II payments stopped with the passage of the “tobacco buyout” in 2004 that ended the Depression-era U.S. tobacco quota program.