UK experts weigh in on trends that will define the decade: Farm-to-table and local food sourcing

local food
Chef Bob Perry instructs students how to slice a banana squash in DHN 342: Quantity Food Production. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The year 2020 kicks off a new decade. What will the next 10 years bring in the areas of health, technology, climate, the economy, politics and more? In a new recurring series, UKNow explores the next decade by asking University of Kentucky experts to discuss and predict upcoming trends in their areas.

UKNow spoke with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Bob Perry. As Foods Lab coordinator in the School of Human Environmental Sciences, he is looking ahead at the issues that will shape 2020 and beyond in the realm of farm-to-table and local food sourcing.

Perry teaches Civic Gastronomy: Our Local Food System, and co-instructs Quantity Food Production, which runs and manages the Lemon Tree restaurant, as well as conducts food system research. He has been a chef for more than 30 years and has served on the boards of many sustainable agriculture organizations.

UKNow: What are you watching for or predicting in the coming decade that you think will be of interest or importance in your field of expertise?

Perry: The continued push toward local and/or traceable food sources and especially local grains.

UKNow: How can UK contribute to this conversation?

Perry: Dr. Van Sanford’s research on small grains is very encouraging. We are working to build value chains that begin with his research on varieties suitable for Kentucky grain operations including research on flavor not just productivity, then connecting the farms to millers, maltsters, beverage companies, restaurants and bakeries.

UKNow: Name a trend you are optimistic about? Name a trend you are concerned with?

Perry: Optimistic: The continuing strong push to identify sources of food by eaters, not just local but all foods. Concerned: Novel foods that are highly processed and do not consider the entire life cycle of their ingredients.

UKNow: What will be the impact of these trends on Kentucky? The country? The world?

Perry: Agricultural development is economic development.


This interview was conducted by Danielle Donham of UK Now.