PHOTO: Matt Barton, UK Agricultural Communications
The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is partnering with KyFarmStart and the Community Farm Alliance to offer the inaugural Kentucky Beginning Farmers Conference Oct. 5. The event will offer information on topics like land access, legal issues, grants and loans, retail versus wholesale, proper record keeping and a “meet the buyers” panel.
“The conference will be a great opportunity for beginning farmers to network with experienced farmers and others just getting started,” said Lee Meyer, UK agricultural economist. “Presenters will be farmers, legal professionals, grant and loan experts and business owners who buy from Kentucky farmers. The farmers who attend will be able to gather a lot of new information and ideas that will help them expand their business.”
Louisville-area farmer Ivor Chodkowski will kick off the festivities at the Kentucky State University Center for Sustainability in Frankfort. Chodkowski has been farming in Kentucky for 15 years at the Field Day Family Farm. Most recently, he partnered with three others to open Harvest Restaurant in NuLu, the East Market District of Louisville, where 80 percent of their menu comes from local food.
"Here in Kentucky, we have an incredible amount of energy focused around local farms and food,” said Carolyn Gahn, Community Farm Alliance fellow. “Our job as a community is to support these new food-based businesses and provide them with the resources they need to be successful. The age of the average American farmer has been going up every year since 1978—with this group of new farmers and entrepreneurs, we can reverse that trend.”
Registration will begin at 7 a.m. with the program starting at 7:30 a.m. Registration is $15 and includes a light breakfast and lunch. The program ends at 4 p.m. For more information or to register for the conference, visit http://www.communityfarmalliance.org. The conference is also sponsored by Good Foods Market and Café, Seed Capital KY and Iroquois Valley Farms LLC.
The KSU Center for Sustainability farm is located five miles south of Interstate 64 at 1525 Mills Lane in Frankfort.
Community Farm Alliance is a grassroots, member-based organization whose mission is to organize and encourage cooperation among rural and urban citizens, through leadership development and grassroots democratic processes, to ensure an essential, prosperous place for family-scale agriculture.
KyFarmStart is designed as an online and classroom-based learning tool to provide beginning farmers, defined as those who have worked as a primary farmer for 10 years or less, with a variety of resources including access to publications and links, as well as lessons designed specifically for beginning farmers. In addition to the online program, the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service offers a series of face-to-face educational programs and on-farm demonstrations geared specifically to the needs of beginning and transitioning farmers.
Lee Meyer, 859-257-7276