The Franklin County Farmers Market is searching for a few dozen helpers to launch this year’s South Frankfort Food Share, a community-driven cooperative food-buying program that allows folks to purchase fresh, local vegetables on a sliding scale, on June 18.
“Once a month throughout the summer, shareholders get together to distribute the food, share recipes, try food samples and convene over food,” Lisa Munniksma, community engagement coordinator for the farmers market, said.
Volunteer tasks can range from setting up and taking down tents and tables; sorting and packaging vegetables; assisting shareholders; and helping the guest chef.
“We have 21 volunteer spots for each South Frankfort Food Share and shifts run from 3:30-7:30 p.m.,” she added.
The food share, which had a brief trial run toward the end of last season, is open to everyone — not just those living in South Frankfort.
“Last year, the response was so tremendous that it was obvious there is a need for a fresh-food-access project like this in Frankfort,” Munniksma said.
The co-op purchases vegetables in bulk from farmers in Franklin and surrounding counties and then divvies it up evenly among the shareholders.
The sliding scale allows shareholders to pay what they can for the produce. For instance, those buying their food share with a SNAP card will pay $6. However, those with higher incomes can purchase their share for the retail amount of $30. A Food Justice Share is available for those with additional resources for $40.
Munniksma said a $12 food share is also an option for those who identify as having limited income according to the limits set by the Kentucky WIC eligibility scale.
“That’s a maximum yearly income of $23,107 for a household with one person and an additional $8,177 of income for each person after that,” she stated, adding folks don’t need to have children to qualify for the $12 food share. “We use this scale as our guide.”
Building on last year’s momentum, the South Frankfort Food Share is hoping to offer four events this year — June 18; July 16; Aug. 20; and Sept. 17. Pickup times are from 5-7 p.m. at Second Street School, so those who are unable to attend the farmers market in the mornings are still able to enjoy fresh, local produce at home, Munniksma said.
Food shares must be purchased in advance and there are a limited number of shares per event — 60. When those run out, a waiting list will be started.
There are three ways to sign up for the South Frankfort Food Share — at the farmers market from 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; online at franklincountyfarmersmarket.org/foodshare or by arranging a meet-up by emailing the firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We realize this isn't going to solve food insecurity, though we have several hopes for what a project like this can do,” Munniksma added. “Through the food share, we are exposing people to different kinds of vegetables and also teaching them how to use those vegetables through a chef demonstration, easy recipes to take home, and volunteers who show them how to cut and store their vegetables.”
All food share and other volunteer opportunities can be found by clicking on the banner at the bottom of FranklinCountyFarmersMarket.org.