As the state’s largest population center, the city of Louisville has a progam called “Farm to Table” that encourages businesses to use local produce, and is stretching its reach to suggest other institutions consider doing the same. Louisville Metro government’s stated goal is for local farmers to support 10% of the city’s $3 billion food market by 2020.
The city commissioned a 2008 study to create strategies for increasing Kentucky farm income through expanded food sales in Louisville. The primary goal of the study was to identify strategies that most effectively increase Kentucky farmer income through new or expanded sales to Louisville consumers, businesses and institutions. Funding for the study was provided by Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund and Local Food Economy Work Group Member contributions.
The study evaluated income and demand generated by CSA (community-supported agri) groups, full-service restaurants, the Jefferson Co Public School System, the University of Louisville, eight major local hospitals and two correctional facilties, among other orgs that receive food donated from other sources.
There were some interesting recommendations that arose out of the study:
- Create a year-round, indoor public market in downtown Louisville
- Strategies to enhance community supported agriculture, such as collaborative marketing, intern and apprenticeship programs, and CSA expansion of their food product mix
- Enhancing local food distribution to maintain product quality and increase efficiency
- Increasing Louisville’s stature as a top-class dining city by facilitating the use of local produce by area restaurants and raising consumer awareness
- Agri-tourism, allowing consumers to visit farms instead of buying only at local markets
Many other recos and strategies were suggested as part of an overall plan.
This is a program I’d like to follow as it progresses. It’s a visionary move on the part of a city that has so much potential benefit for farmers, consumers, families, schools, businesses and institutions.
Could Cincinnati create such a model?