February 21, 2007 | By: Laura Skillman

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and College of Fine Arts are teaming up to sponsor a unique symposium exploring opportunities for Kentucky agriculture, rural communities, local markets and development of sustainable food systems.

The symposium titled “Growing Kentucky II: Land, Food and Culture – Creating Sustainability Where You Live” will focus on rural economies and agricultural sustainability and suggest opportunities to help Kentucky develop through sustainable means. The event will be March 13 and 14 at the Worsham Theater in the UK Student Center with evening activities at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

The program will bring together journalists, poets, chefs, artists, environmentalists, agricultural economists, farmers and educators from across the region and nation. All aspects of Kentucky’s rural agricultural communities, including the economic, environmental and social, will be considered.

“By bringing together a broad spectrum of talent and expertise from agriculture, humanities and the arts we hope to stimulate innovative thinking and encourage suggestions for action,” said Scott Smith, dean of UK’s College of Agriculture.

The program will feature discussions on the media’s role in communication and sustainability, sustainability on campus and in the community, sustainability and business development and policies and programs to foster a local food economy. A panel of chefs and farmers will also be featured.

Among the participants will be Kentucky authors Bobbie Ann Mason and Wendell Berry, garden designer Jon Carloftis, chef Frank Stitt and food photographer and Saveur magazine founder Christopher Hirsheimer. 

Professor Marion Nestle, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies & Public Health at New York University and author of several books including Food Politics and What to Eat, will be Tuesday’s keynote speaker.

Kentucky’s Best/A Taste of Kentucky reception featuring local chefs and local food will be held Tuesday evening. Music will be provided by Ron Pen and the Red State Ramblers with readings by Mason and Berry. The reception will also mark the opening of the pottery exhibit “From the Earth” in the Singletary Center.

The conference sessions are free and open to anyone interested in sustainability. However, there is a $15 fee for the Kentucky’s Best/A Taste of Kentucky evening reception on March 13 and $20 for Kentucky Proud/Slow Food luncheon on the following day. The registration and payment deadline is Wednesday, March 7.

Registration and detailed conference information is available on the UK College of Agriculture Web site at http://www.ca.uky.edu /Sustainability.

Additional symposium sponsors include Brown-Forman Corporation and Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Other supporters include the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, Partners for Family Farms, Slow Food Bluegrass, Kentucky Women in Agriculture,  KET and WUKY.


Bonnie Tanner, 859-338-6887