MARCH 23, 2022

4th Annual Kentucky Local Foods Summit


Please save the date for the fourth annual Kentucky Local Food Systems Summit which will take place on March 23, 2022 at the University of Kentucky's Kroger Field.

The Food Connection at the University of Kentucky, in partnership with Bluegrass Farm to Table, the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, invite you to join in a full day of workshops, networking, and conversations designed to bring together local food professionals and advocates who work on the front lines of growing our local food and farm economy.

We're thrilled to welcome Kim Niewolny from Virginia Tech University to present the keynote address. View her biography at: More information about the Virginia Tech University Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation may be found at:


The theme of the 2022 Kentucky Local Food Systems Summit is: Harvesting Inspiration & Innovation. Read more about sessions:

Nutritious Food for All

This track explores the ways we work together across the food system to ensure that all Kentuckians have access to nutritious and delicious food that reflects our diverse cultures and communities. Topics might include: Sliding scale markets, effective approaches for leveraging federal nutrition programs, or ways to support our communities in building culinary and nutrition confidence.

Nourish Lexington: Locally Focused

Nourish Lexington is a program that has amazing returns in our community; returns like: increased access to fresh food for Lexington families, more dollars circulating in our local food system, more resilient local farms, more youth and families learning food literacy, and also LESS food waste in our landfills! This session walks you through the timeline of Nourish Lexington from past to present. Learn about the local purchasing impact of the program, the evolution of education from the meals to the recipes, and explore the future of the program with the FoodChain team.

Farm to School for All

Join farm to school advocates from across the state to hear innovative ways farms, schools, and nonprofits are providing children equitable access to healthy and nutritious local food and building life-long supporters of local agriculture through farm to school programming.  Farm to School provides students with opportunities to connect with where their food comes from and the farmers that produce it through local food served in school meals (and out of school time meals), school gardens, and educational programming.  During this panel discussion, you will hear from Need More Acres Farm, Bowling Green Independent School District, and Berea Kids Eat (a non-profit meal sponsor that provides the summer and afterschool meals for their local school district).  Each member of the panel has worked extensively in farm to school efforts and will offer unique perspectives.

Cook Wild Kentucky

According to Feeding America, people who live in rural areas often face hunger at higher rates than those who live in urban areas. SNAP-eligible rural Americans may be able to supplement their diets with wild caught fish and game. Feeding Kentucky and Hunters for the Hungry had an established path for accessing and distributing donated venison through Kentucky Food Banks, but many recipients were hesitant to accept the meat if they were unfamiliar with cooking and eating wild game. In response, UK Nutrition Education Program and FCS Extension collaborated with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to produce recipe cards featuring wild game and fish. The recipes meet nutritional standards from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This project is connecting the existing food distribution system with Kentuckians experiencing hunger, expanding that system through policy change, and utilizing natural resources to improve nutrition. Attend this session to learn more.

Storytelling, Reconciliation, and Envisioning New Futures

We invite novel methods and examples of how to explore and share the stories of Kentucky food systems that reflect the issues we grapple with, both the good and the unpleasant. Bring your community’s examples of how understanding the breadth and complexity of experience and history embodied in our Kentucky food system can help us envision new approaches to a future we all desire.

Podcast + Radio for Community Building

The spoken word is the most traditional form of storytelling, largely pushed aside in favor of social media and the written word. Storytelling creates a dialogue and allows us to make connections more meaningful than can be found in a here-and-gone Instagram caption. Listening to others’ stories provides inspiration for our work, connection with others and an exploration of food systems issues from various perspectives. Broadcasting these stories celebrates people doing the work, generates support for projects, and helps connect the dots between social systems.

We’ll discuss the community-building potential of podcasts and radio programs, using one locally focused radio show (Lexington Food Justice Radio) and one nationally focused podcast (Hobby Farms Presents: Growing Good) as examples. Presenters Rowena Mahloch, who is president of RADIOLEX, and Lisa Munniksma will candidly cover how to get started, challenges and wins, leaning on their experiences with storytelling in the food systems space.

The Real Talk: Real Conversations about Real Food Impact

FoodChain invites folks who have been on the receiving end of food system services throughout the pandemic to tell their stories: the story of navigating changes, seeking and finding access, working together, and when plans went awry. This session will bring in neighbors who serve, people who eat, folks who share, and voices that advocate in order to provide feedback, relate their experience, and talk the real talk: what worked and what didn't.

A Potpourri of Storytelling Tools

Storytelling is all the rage, but what type of story-based method is appropriate for you?  We explore three storytelling tools – each for a different purpose.  Ripple Effects Mapping is an energizing story-based evaluation tool that can be used with food networks or complex, long-term interventions such as community gardening initiatives or nutrition education programs. It is a reflection tool that can jump start participatory planning processes. Leadership storytelling in the tradition of Marshall Ganz’s work is a great tool to help empower change agents to tell their food and farming stories in ways that mobilize people to act.  Finally, story circles are a powerful engagement tool to help people listen deeply, while ensuring that every person gets an equal voice. They can be used to build community and promote productive public conversation about thorny social issues such as food injustice. Come ready to share your favorite storytelling tools too!

New Normal: Market Adaptations That Are Here to Stay

What lessons and innovations are persisting in the post-pandemic food system? How are our local and regional value chains evolving towards greater resilience for the disruptions of the future? Sessions in this track are encouraged to share specific examples from farm and food enterprises, farm-to-institution dining programs, and other real-world trials and tribulations.

Climate Smart Farming in Kentucky and the Southeast

Join Scott Franklin of American Farmland Trust in a showcase of Kentucky farmers who are leading efforts to combat climate change by adopting regenerative farming practices. This session will highlight the impact conservation agriculture has on the Kentucky Local Food economy by examining the Commercial Rye Cover Crop Initiative, diverse cover cropping strategies in the Kentucky Soil Health Demo Conservation Innovation Grant, and next generation Kentucky farmers who use cover crops as a mulch in winter squash production.

Community Farm Alliance’s Healthy Communities Initiative

Updates on Community Farm Alliance’s Healthy Community Initiative featuring Kentucky Double Dollars and Fresh Rx for Mothers on Medicaid (MOMS).

Increasing Local Food Access and Growing Healthier Communities through CSA Partnership

When only 6% of Kentuckians eat the recommended amount of vegetables per day it’s important to think creatively about how businesses, institutions and organizations can make healthy eating convenient and direct more food dollars to local farms. CSA (community supported agriculture) is one strategy that can make healthy food choices accessible and easy for members, offer critical market access for small to medium sized family farms, and promote farming practices that provide environmental benefits while supporting rural economies. Join us for this session, as we hear from Brooke Gentile, Executive Director of Organic Association of Kentucky, about KY Farm Share Coalition workplace CSA program and CSA market opportunities, Dr. Tim Woods, University of Kentucky Agricultural Economist, on the health impacts of CSA, and Jody Ensman, University of Kentucky Health and Wellness program manager, about ways employers can participate in and expand opportunities for innovative local food initiatives.

Bridging and Weaving a Just and Resilient Food System

We go furthest when go together. This session track invites exploration of cooperative strategies, policy solutions, and other collective ways to leverage our strength in numbers to grow just, vibrant, and ecologically sustainable food systems. How are we building bridges across diverse stakeholder networks in ways that shift power and seek solutions that address the impacts and opportunities of those directly impacted by the challenges we see in our food system?

Our Home Place Meat: Putting Farmers First

Our Home Place Meat (OHPM) at The Berry Center is focused on keeping our culture of small and mid sized farms and their communities alive. OHPM’s model of cooperative farming and local processing is based on the burley tobacco program bringing financial stability to our farmers. By applying the principles of supply management and parity pricing, our farmers rely on OHPM to market the product, keep supply and demand in line, and maintain a parity price. Other partners in this model include Trackside Butcher Shoppe, a USDA butcher shop here in Henry County, and Creation Gardens/What Chefs Want, a regional food distributor. All partners are hands-on with our farmers to improve the availability of high quality meat to consumers. The partners (farmers, processor, distributor and OHPM) will explore the why and how this model works and has evolved to encourage replication of its components.   

Building Community Access to Land, Policy, & Food in Louisville

Food In Neighborhoods Community Coalition (FIN) serves as the de facto food policy council in Louisville, KY. FIN is a dedicated group of residents, organizations and businesses working to change policies and increase equitable access to food from producer to consumer. In the past year we have successfully re-written the land development code to include urban agriculture by-right and we continue to work with the Office of Vacant and Abandoned properties and municipal land owners to open up new land for urban agriculture. We are currently applying for American Rescue Plan Funding to energize our local food system to make local food a cornerstone of equitable food access. Learn from members of FIN about their work over the years.

Building a Participatory Statewide Food and Farm Network

Food systems and food movements are complex and made up of many distinct sectors and stakeholders. Every part of the food system has federal, state, and local policies and programs that can help and/or hurt producers, consumers, and communities. But often those most directly impacted by these policies are not involved in the policy making process. Starting at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Kentucky Food Action Network (KFAN) was formed with the intention of being a space where statewide communication and collaboration could happen around food, farm, and hunger advocacy. With almost 2 years behind us, we'll discuss the lessons learned and possibilities ahead for KFAN.

Download the Schedule at a Glance

For Cooperative Extension guests, this summit qualifies for KERS credits. Full program agenda and details to come. Stay tuned for KERS registration.

Registration for the Summit will be $75 per person. Registration includes Summit attendance, parking, all day coffee, a locally farm sourced lunch, and a networking reception. We hope you will join us!

Register Now

Interested in sponsoring this event? Click here for opportunities

Have questions about sponsorships? Contact Ashton Potter Wright by email here.

2022 Summit Sponsors

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