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The connections between poverty, nutrition, and community economics are becoming increasingly apparent; and sustainable agriculture and local food systems can be a gateway for economic vitality, better health, and the creation of community wealth.

Kentucky is a unique state with a wealth of food and farm resources and is at the point where it can build a sustainable food system that is equitable and accessible to all Kentuckians. Yet, there is still a need to provide a space where farm and food networks can coordinate their efforts in an effective engagement process that serves those directly affected by policy.

With funding from a USDA NIFA Community Food Projects grant and matching funds from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, we have completed a feasibility study to build a grassroots driven Food Policy Network for Kentucky. What exists now is a growing broad-based collaborative of state agencies, for-profit and non-profit organizations, farmers, low-income individuals, and the philanthropic community to collaboratively address the issues of food, health and poverty.

What We Learned:

  • Regional/Local capacity building is a priority
  • Priority activities should focus on sharing best practices and local/regional peer to peer mentoring
  • Kentuckians believe it should be led by non-profit, specifically CFA
  • Must intentionally communicate and empower low-income individuals and farmers
  • Must engage policy makers and legislators

Partners:

Cabinet for Health and Family Services; University of Kentucky College of Public Health and College of Agriculture, Food and the Environment; Kentucky Department of Agriculture; Kentucky Youth Advocates; Big Sandy Area Development District; Bluegrass Area Development District; Eastern Kentucky Local Food System Collaborative; Berea College; Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky;