New Internet resource links Kentuckians to local foods

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In an effort to provide more opportunities for consumers to access local foods, Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear and University of Kentucky College of Agricul-ture Dean Scott Smith unveiled the Kentucky and Local Food Resources Web page recently at the American School Health Association meeting in Louisville.

“We were delighted to join first lady Jane Beshear, the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy and others in this effort,” Smith said. “We expect this will enhance community access to healthy, fresh food while also increasing economic opportunities for Kentucky farmers.”

Beshear has worked to increase awareness about the benefits of locally grown food to people across the state. She approached Smith about creating a one-stop, online location for Kentuckians to find local food producers in and near their communities.

“The average meal in the United States travels 1,200 miles from the farm to the dinner table,” Beshear said. “By purchasing locally grown food products, we can fuel our regional economies and decrease our carbon footprint while also improving the nutritional value of our diets. This website will be an exceptional resource to connect Kentuckians to easily accessible and locally grown food. Thank you to UK’s College of Agriculture and GOAP for their dedicated work and support of this effort.”

Janet Mullins, UK associate extension professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, works to increase Kentuckians’ access to local, healthy foods and was involved with the development of the page.

“I see it as benefiting consumers, as it will help people find Kentucky-grown foods in their county or surrounding area and give them more access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said.

The page provides links to all the UK College of Agriculture’s programs and initiatives related to local foods, as well state and national resources. As part of the page, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service agents will have the opportunity to develop county Web pages that list their local producers and products. Franklin and Woodford counties will have the first county-specific Web pages developed.

Mullins said the Web page will give producers a chance to develop partnerships with each other and could help boost the state’s Farm to School program. Farm to School strives to get fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables on the menus in local school systems.

The Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy also has been instrumental in assisting in the development of the website and gathering content for the project.

“An array of local food resources is available across the state, but this site gives us one centralized location to direct consumers,” said Roger Thomas, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy. “We value the UK College of Agriculture’s leadership on the first lady’s initiative, and we look forward to continuing the coordinated effort to educate consumers on the availability of local food resources.”

The Web page is available on the UK College of Agriculture website at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/foods. Source: Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky Extension Associate

Jane Proctor is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer services.