AG Commissioner Ryan Quarles holds Health and Hunger forum in Pikeville

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 1:05 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - On Friday, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles made a stop in Pike County for a “Health and Hunger Forum” and to speak to the community about food insecurity and hunger.

“As the Commissioner of Agriculture, we are helping lead an effort to reduce hunger in our state,” said Quarles. “That means making sure that we listen to the needs and the regional uniqueness across our state.”

Community members and local representatives also got the chance to voice their own opinions and concerns about the topic. Topics ranged from healthy foods, transportation issues, and an uninformed population.

“Whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables are really important to families and especially in Pike County,” said UK Cooperative Extension Service Pike County Family Consumer Science Agent Leslie Workman. “We have transportation issues so a lot of our communities are considered a food desert.”

Many officials said healthy eating was more important than just the quantity of food present in food banks.

“You know, a lot of times we focus on getting the volume of food out to our food pantries,” said Quarles, “but we want to start having a conversation about healthy outcomes.”

Others said education and teaching others how to prepare healthy meals, store foods, and preserve foods was an important subject.

“The better you are able to use fresh items, the better your nutrition is going to be,” said Workman. “So if we can help you increase your nutritional content in your meals, then the better health your family is going to have.”

Quarles also said he asks Kentuckians to donate to a food pantry or food banks. Whether it be donating food, donating money, or simply donating your time by volunteering.

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