putting the evidence in evidence-based
An Analysis of the Local Food Procurement Practices of Kentucky Schools
There is overwhelming evidence that Kentucky’s children are unhealthy and getting unhealthier, with the Commonwealth consistently ranking among the top spots on all the lists you don’t want to be on. It is not a coincidence that Kentucky's children also rank among the most economically insecure and hungry in the nation. Nelson Mandela once said that "the true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children." If that is true, Kentucky policymakers, schools, and direct-service organizations must hold each other accountable for past failures and work together to support struggling families and children.
Simultaneously, there are a number of reasons we should look to local farmers to help feed our children and improve their health. Kentucky’s agricultural sector accounts for about 1.3 percent of Kentucky’s gross domestic product ($5.5 billion in 2020 ), a number that has been steadily declining for the last several years. One area in Kentucky with many opportunities for improvement is the institutional purchasing of locally-grown foods, especially in preK - 12th grade schools. In 2015, the average Kentucky school district self-reported spending just 3% of their budget on local products. In 2019 that number had climbed to only 5%. There is much opportunity to grow this sector to ensure Kentucky children are properly fed and Kentucky farmers are turning a pro