Kentucky Proud Holidays
Many of you are shopping at your favorite grocery store, visiting your local farmers’ market, and surfing the Web to create a Kentucky Proud holiday feast for your loved ones. Those local foods that you demand are available because of a complex network of farmers, processors, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, educators, government agencies, and others working together to get those products from the farm to your cart (real or virtual) to your table.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA’s) team of marketing specialists is constantly working with family farmers and small food businesses to help them get their products to market.
Recently, the KDA and the Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association hosted a meeting of Kentucky Proud fruit and vegetable growers and buyers at the Fayette County Extension Office. More than a dozen retailers, distributors, processors, and food bank representatives talked about their respective organizations’ needs to a room full of growers. During breaks, growers and buyers introduced themselves, chatted, and exchanged business cards. KDA and University of Kentucky personnel led training sessions for producers. We expect that numerous business relationships were forged that day, and we look forward to the fruits (and vegetables) of their efforts.
Other similar events have sprung up organically, so to speak. For example, in October, several Kentucky Proud producers, businesses, and restaurants were invited to exhibit at the Courier-Journal Food & Wine Experience in Louisville. More than 1,000 attendees sampled sausage, spices, cheese, grits, country ham, soft drinks and many other Kentucky Proud products.
You demand local foods because you know that they are fresher, they are better, and they contribute to Kentucky’s economy by keeping your food dollars in the Commonwealth. It’s not a coincidence that Louisville is widely recognized as having one of the most vibrant local food systems in the nation, and Kentucky Proud is a model for state farm marketing programs.
We salute everyone in the local food chain, and we look forward to bigger and better things in 2018.
Commissioner of Agriculture
Commonwealth of Kentucky