Campus News

UK announces FoodChain as 2022-23 Cornerstone Community Innovation Partner

Cornerstone digital media wall.
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 19, 2022) — The University of Kentucky is pleased to announce the next Cornerstone Community Innovation Partner (CIP) for the 2022-23 academic year. This year’s partner is FoodChain, which will have an ongoing presence at The Cornerstone to increase community engagement with students and faculty.

This 12-month long partnership is intended to help foster The Cornerstone’s vision of innovation and entrepreneurship through building connection between the community and the university.

“Located at the intersection of UK’s campus with downtown, The Cornerstone was built to encourage vibrant interaction between students, faculty, staff and the broader Lexington community," said Melody Flowers, UK executive director for strategic analysis and policy. "Easily accessible by foot, bike or car, The Cornerstone offers flexible meeting spaces and cutting-edge technology, as well as food and beverages retailers, in a modern space designed to support collaboration and connections."

FoodChain works to connect the Lexington community to fresh food and cultivate more active participation in the local food system. This is accomplished through community outreach including tours, kitchen programming and activities on FoodChain’s aquaponics farm. The organization believes that it is through community that we can build a more just, equitable and sustainable food system for all.

The organization will work with the university, including facilities, colleges, The Food Connection, the UK Economic Development Collaborative and others to bring an aquaponics system into The Cornerstone. Aquaponics are food systems that combine aquaculture (fish, snails, etc.) and hydroponics to grow plants. The system will be available to be used as demonstration for classes and to host training sessions.  

The Cornerstone building serves as the gateway to an emerging innovation district that will further connect the university with the city of Lexington. It is designed to foster a wide range of idea sharing, event hosting and programmatic opportunities around the concepts of innovation, creativity, technology, entrepreneurship and equitable economic development.

FoodChain has a rich partnership history with UK. They have worked alongside the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Campus Kitchen and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

“FoodChain is thrilled to partner with UK in the Innovation Space!" said Kristin Hughes, FoodChain community education and outreach director. "We look forward to connecting with students and faculty to increase education and programming around sustainable food systems while working together to conduct research. We are especially excited to introduce aquaponics on campus and collaborate with UK, other community partners and the Lexington community on urban agriculture and its role in a community food system.”

For more information about community programming at The Cornerstone, please contact Ashley Castorena at ashleycastorena@uky.edu.

 

UK is a powerful economic engine for Kentucky. We educate and empower the next generation of citizens, provide research that influences community and policy development and collaborate with economic partners — all of which strengthen and shape a new future for both Lexington and the Commonwealth. The UK Economic Development Collaborative (EDC) is a network of campus and community stakeholders who oversee UK’s economic development and business engagement activities. The mission of the EDC is to proactively grow economic prosperity in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the areas of talent, innovation, place, partnership and equitable economic development. Learn more at https://edc.uky.edu

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.