LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 11, 2022) — The Food Connection at the University of Kentucky, in conjunction with Bluegrass Farm to Table, the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, will host the fourth annual Kentucky Local Food Systems Summit March 23. Taking place at Kroger Field, the summit will include a full day of workshops, networking and conversations designed to bring together local food professionals and advocates who work on the front lines of growing the state’s local food and farm economy.
“The food summit is really great at bringing together people who work in different areas of the food system in various ways,” said Krista Jacobsen, associate professor in the Department of Horticulture in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and faculty chair of The Food Connection.
“We believe it’s important to bring people together, making the connections between farmers and consumers. This can be anyone from those working on community gardening initiatives to people connecting communities around local food and hunger work, and strengthening local food value chains. There are a lot of people who work to get local food to the table, including many underrepresented voices.”
The theme of the 2022 Kentucky Local Food Systems Summit is “Harvesting Inspiration and Innovation.” Keynote speaker for the event is Virginia Tech University’s Kim Niewolny, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership and Community Education. Niewolny specializes in local food initiatives in Appalachian communities, new farmer sustainability and disability and technology in agriculture.
“Kim Niewolny has been a force building Virginia’s statewide coalition around local food and farmers,” Jacobsen said. “She runs the wildly successful Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition and is the director of Virginia Tech’s new Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation. It will be great having her as a speaker at this summit.”
Registration for the Kentucky Local Food Systems Summit is $75 per person. Registration includes attendance, workshops, parking, all day coffee, a locally farm-sourced lunch and a networking reception.
“We’re going to have some really good workshops this year which will be a mix of different things,” Jacobsen said. “Some of these let attendees hear the voices and stories of local food systems, including successful COIVD-19 marketing and program pivots and stories of effective value-chain coordination to bring local food to the table.”
The event runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. For a full program agenda, visit https://foodconnection.ca.uky.edu/kentucky-local-food-systems-summit.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.