Health and Family Services Cabinet
WIC Program Encourages Participants to Buy Locally Grown Produce
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) urges participants in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program to take advantage of its annual Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, an ongoing effort by DPH to encourage consumption of healthy, locally grown foods.
The program, which runs from the beginning of June until the end of September, is coordinated through local health departments working with 46 markets around the state. To participate, WIC clients receive checks to purchase approved items at their local markets.
“Summer brings an abundance of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, which are not only delicious, but also rich in vitamins and nutrients we need to sustain a healthy diet,” said DPH Commissioner William Hacker, M.D. “A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important for optimal growth, maintaining a healthy weight and preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, all of which currently contribute to health care costs in the United States.”
Providing well-balanced, fruit and vegetable-rich diets for mothers and their children is the cornerstone of the WIC Program, a United States Department of Agriculture nutrition program for those who qualify for benefits. Nutrition education about implementing adequate fruits and vegetables into families’ eating plans is provided for each WIC participant.
“Local farmers can play an important role in helping Kentuckians add healthy items, like fresh fruits and vegetables, to their diets,” said Fran Hawkins, director of the Kentucky WIC Program. “These markets provide a great opportunity for Kentuckians to shop locally – and healthfully.”
The goal of the WIC Farmers’ Market Program is to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables among WIC participants and to help farmers reap the financial benefit from money spent at the Farmers’ Market. Food checks are good for locally grown produce only. Locally grown produce is defined as produce grown in Kentucky or within 50 miles from the Kentucky border.
For more information, contact Hawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or (502) 564-3827, ext. 3831, or your local health department.