FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) Kentucky Proud brand is co-hosting the third annual Kentucky Local Food Systems Summit on March 3. For the first time, this event will be virtual this year.
This virtual event is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and brings together professionals and stakeholders for a half-day of presentations highlighting innovative local food projects in Kentucky that demonstrate the strong resilience of the agricultural and local food sectors in the commonwealth.
“The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is proud to support the Kentucky Local Food Systems Summit for the third year in a row,” said Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. “If 2020 showed us anything, it was the importance of supporting local farmers and food producers. Even though the conference will occur virtually this year, it is more important than ever before that we continue having this conversation about growing food and jobs for all Kentuckians.”
In addition to Kentucky Proud, the official state marketing program for agricultural products, the organizing committee for this collaborative event consists of representatives from The Food Connection at the University of Kentucky, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Bluegrass Farm To Table initiative, Kentucky Horticulture Council, and Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Kentucky’s local food system community has shown incredible resilience and ingenuity this year,” said Lilian Brislen, executive director of The Food Connection. “While we’ll miss the great fellowship that comes from gathering in-person, the virtual summit is our opportunity to uplift inspiring examples from across our Commonwealth and think together about how we will continue to grow a local food system that promotes health and wealth for all members of our community.”
The conference will highlight the resilience of the local food scene in Kentucky amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing together panelists who navigated the pandemic’s challenges and provided fresh local food to many consumers who had never purchased from local farmers in the past. It will also highlight projects that resulted from new inspiring collaborations and investments in needed local food infrastructure.
Registration is free.