WKU Research Articles
Local Food For Everyone
It's Cool to be a Farmer...Again
The grant provides funding for educational outreach on healthy food preparation, coordination of events, and opportunities to empower underserved populations. Several initiatives listed below describe work currently underway:
The Mobile Market, a refurbished small school bus, will be seen later this year at the CFM on Tuesdays and Saturdays. On other days the mobile market will make stops at community events and local schools to promote locally produced foods.
Local Food Directory consists of names and locations of farms and individuals producing food for consumers to purchase. The free publication, paid for by USDA grant funds, Kentucky Proud, and advertisers will be published twice a year (spring and fall) to provide consumers with an accurate current list of food providers.
Logo and brand development made available for local farmers wanting to sell directly to the consumer. Many farmers encounter a learning curve when it comes to marketing their products. The grant provides assistance to develop a logo and teaches them how to market their farms and their products.
Food day, brings together the school system, businesses, wholesale buyers, food distributors, farmers, and consumers in one location. Forums, designed to raise awareness of local food throughout the region, help consumers understand their local food channels and help farmers get their food integrated into the local food chain. Food day also makes distributors aware of the local foods available by providers and to buy from local farmers. Many farmers are launching businesses based on the positive outcomes from farmers markets. The food day initiates these functions much like a business incubator without the walls.
Another goal of the grant gets food into the hands of those who don’t have access to fresh foods. The CFM is working with Senior Nutrition and SNAP (EBT – Food Stamps) to provide fresh food to underserved markets. With the incentive approach farmers can bring significantly more shoppers to the markets to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables and put those dollars directly to work in the local agricultural economy. It results in a win-win situation for the local farmers and the consumer.
The CFM has experienced many successes and expects more in the future. However, the one unexpected result of the program has been the volunteerism they have received. As we reach out to different groups they have responded and want to be involved. These individuals work many hours putting signs up and taking them down, delivering food to Hotel, Inc. and helping with activities the CFM hosts. The volunteers want to be involved in the process, have recognized the value of what we represent, and want to see it succeed.
Stone concluded, “The Community Farmers Market is more than just fresh fruits and vegetables. There are crafts, plants, fruit trees, fresh flowers, etc. It is a year round market and because of that we do not lose contact with our customers. We were farmers when farming wasn’t cool. Now it is cool to be a farmer.
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