Through our research we seek to identify the unique challenges in developing mid-tier, community embedded (e.g. ‘local’) food value chains that support family farmers and meet the needs of institutional dining service providers, and develop strategies to address and overcome them. 

Working collaboratively with staff, faculty, students, and community partners, we engage in continuing research and evaluation of our region’s food system with the goal of identifying opportunities and challenges for growing a vibrant food and farm economy.

UK Dining FY17 Sourcing Report 

In partnership with UK Dining and the administration of the University of Kentucky, a team of researchers at The Food Connection conducted a pilot assesment of procurement for Fiscal Year 2017. 

View or Download the report

UK Dining FY16 Sourcing Report 

In partnership with UK Dining and the administration of the University of Kentucky, a team of researchers at The Food Connection conducted a pilot assesment of procurement for Fiscal Year 2016. 

View or Download the report

First Processed Produce in Central KY (5/2016) 

The Food Connection served as the research consultant for a collaborative project with Bluegrass Farm to Table and Community Ventures to identify gaps in our produce value chain, and the specific needs for additional processing capacity in the region. 

View or download First Processed Produce in Central Kentucky Report

UK Dining FY 15 Sourcing Report 

In partnership with UK Dining and the administration of the University of Kentucky, a team of researchers at The Food Connection conducted a pilot assesment of procurement for Fiscal Year 2015. 

View or dowload the UK Dining Sourcing Report

View an interactive map showing KY Proud and Local Vendors

Fayette County Local Food Demand Assesment (11/2015)

Working in partnership with CEDIK and Bluegrass Farm to Table, The Food Connection contributed to this study which examines the current landscape of local food demand in Lexington, Kentucky based on interviews with purchasers, producers, distributors, and processors.

View or download the Fayette County Local Food Demand Assessment White Paper

Click Here for the Full Report

Grasshopper Distribution Evaluation (1/2015)

View or download 'Grasshoppers Distribution: Lessons Learned and Lasting Legacy

(Brislen, Woods, Meyer, Routt, 2015)

County Food Production and Marketing Profiles (9/2016)

The Food Connection, in partnership with Bluegrass Farm to Table, and CEDIK (Community and Economic Development Initiative for Kentucky, and KCARD (Kentucky Center for Agricultural and Rural Development), has developed local food profiles for 23 Central Kentucky counties; these can be accessed below. 

Click Here to go to view County Profiles on CEDIK'S website