FRANKFORT, Ky. — Ten Kentucky agribusinesses have been awarded United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Producer Engagement grants for training, equipment, and other needs to enable farmers to develop or enhance their farm-to-school marketing efforts, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced today.
“These grants will enable these Kentucky farm families and agribusinesses to improve their marketing to schools across the Commonwealth,” Commissioner Quarles said. “There’s nothing better for our students to eat than Kentucky Proud foods provided by the hard work of Kentucky farmers and agribusinesses. I would like to thank these recipients for applying to this program. I am also grateful to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program leadership for continuing to pursue opportunities that help Kentucky punch above our weight class.”
The 10 Kentucky agribusinesses are:
- Salad Days Farm, applicant Maggie Dungan in Woodford County
- Moonlight Meat Processing, applicant Anne Bays in Whitley County
- Need More Acres Farm, applicants Nathan and Michelle Howell in Allen County
- Struttin Rooster Farm, applicant Ryan Emmick in Butler County
- Livers Farms, applicants Mark Livers and Audrey Livers (manager) in Union County
- Kentucky Horticulture Council for Clark County Farmers Group, applicant Cindy Finneseth in Clark County
- Crooked Row Farm LLC, applicant Robert Eversole in Fayette County
- Butler Farms, applicant Kathleen Butler in Bourbon County
- Cumberland Extension District Board for Cumberland Farmers Group, applicant Chelsey Anderson in Cumberland County
- Lee’s Plant Farm, applicants Scotty and Robin Lee in LaRue County
Sixteen applications were submitted to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) and were reviewed by a grant committee. Applicants were evaluated according to financial need, measurable outcomes, community commitment, and project sustainability.
Each grantee will receive a $7,000 grant after attending one of two farm-to-school workshops. The workshops are scheduled for Feb. 19 in Woodford County and Feb. 21 in Cumberland County.
In June, KDA’s Farm to School Program was awarded a $99,913 grant from USDA to expand its efforts to help Kentucky schools serve local foods to their students. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government was also awarded a $100,000 grant to increase access to local foods for Jefferson County Public Schools students and their families through its Farm to Table Program and The Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farm.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded a total of 73 grants that will serve more than 6,006 schools and 2.8 million students nationwide.
The KDA’s Farm to School Program helps connect Kentucky school systems with local farmers and small businesses. Kentucky schools spent nearly $8.9 million on local food products in 2013-2014. More than 700 schools in 77 Kentucky school districts had programs in place to buy local Kentucky foods for their school cafeterias, according to the 2015 Farm to School Census compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Many students take part in planting school gardens, visiting farms, and turning the cafeteria into a classroom.