October 27, 2011

While providing nutrition education to her low income clients, Brittany Young realized that few had any connection to or knowledge of local agriculture. With this realization and inspired by Farm to Table, Young created the Community Food and Farm Tour in Warren County.

“A lot of my families are used to canned items,” said Young, the county’s assistant for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education for the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. “When teaching about fresh produce, it became apparent that many of the families had never been to a local farmers market before.”

During a span of three weeks, the tour visited three local agricultural enterprises in three different areas of the county. At Jackson’s Orchard, tour participants were able to taste five different apple varieties and learned which apples were best for different food preparation methods. At Chaney’s Dairy Barn they learned about the dairy, ice cream making and were able to taste their milk and ice cream.  Participants at Pelly’s Farm Fresh Market learned how to make a fall centerpiece using small, locally grown pumpkins and gourds, as well as interesting facts about pumpkins.

“Many of my clients are young mothers with small children, so I wanted to make the tour educational for them, but still fun,” she said. “Plus it was a chance for them to get out of the house with their families at no cost to them.”

At each location, Young shared low cost, easy-to-prepare recipes that incorporated local ingredients.

“With this tour they were able to taste and see local foods,” Young said. “They really made a connection to where their food comes from, and it was good for them to see what our local agricultural producers do.”

Debra Chaney, co-owner of Chaney’s Dairy Barn, said she and her husband Carl were more than happy to be a tour stop.

“The family unit means so much to us, so Carl and I want this to be a place where families can have quality time together,” she said. “We hope they walk away with some education about agriculture and the importance of farmers.”