UK Picked to Oversee Nation's First Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center

Mar 19, 2015

Left to right, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack-UK College of Agriculture Dean Nancy Cox-Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    

The University of Kentucky has been selected to head the first federal Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center.  The program aims to reduce child food insecurity in states with high poverty.

The Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center at UK will administer and evaluate sub grants in 30 rural areas in up to 15 states.  In Kentucky alone, more than a quarter its of children live in poverty.  U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in Lexington for the announcement.  Vilsack says distance can be a factor in providing enough high quality foods for rural areas.  "Mobile units, for example, that potentially could be funded to travel around and provide in-home delivery," said Vilsack.  "Is that a workable solution? And if so, what would that look like? And how would it be conducted? "

Governor Beshear says the program will do more than offer aid.  He says it will attack the root causes of hunger and poverty.

The center will be established with $2.5 million in federal funds.   UK College of Agriculture Dean Nancy Cox says firsthand knowledge of Appalachia is a plus for communities in the Commonwealth.  "We think we probably have an edge for our people that are gonna be working in Kentucky because we're already so familiar with the communities," said Cox.  "Nationally, we're not quite as familiar with the ones that we'll be working with."

In Kentucky alone, more than 26 percent of children live in poverty.​