June 26, 2009

Crossroads Farm City Funfest 2009
Crossroads Farm City Funfest 2009
More than 200 people braved soggy, muddy conditions to learn about agriculture at Sunny Acres Farm in Louisville. The biennial "Crossroads: Farm-City Funfest" went on despite torrential downpours at times. The weather didn't distract volunteers and vendors from their purpose, however - to show rural and urban folks alike what's happening on real Kentucky farms.

"This year we are trying to highlight suburban and rural agriculture," said Bryce Roberts, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources in Spencer County. "We collaborated with the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension office and the Farm Bureaus in both counties to emphasize the importance of buying local products and Kentucky Proud products this year."

Roberts said organizers' biggest aim is to get people thinking about where their food comes from and show them that agricultural products don't really just come from the grocery store.

Crossroads Farm City Funfest 2009"We also want them to know how important it is to have farmers in the area," said Tomee Clark, owner and operator of Sunny Acres Farm.

Clark and her daughter-in-law Samantha Clark run the daily operations of the third-generation farm where Tomee was born and raised.

"It's important for people to know where their food comes from," Clark continued. "The eat local, buy local trend is creating a lot of competition for farmers, and we have to put in a lot of work to raise a good, quality product. So this is a good opportunity for people to see what we do."

This year's Funfest emphasized farmers markets and local products. Roberts said they even allowed about 10 vendors to set up at the farm entrance, "farmers' market style." He said the hope was that people would purchase items from the vendors on their way in or out of the farm and make some connections with producers they might see at a local market in the future.

Crossroads Farm City Funfest 2009Eli Harned of Harned Ranch in Nelson County set up a stand to sell beef to Funfest guests.

"This is a good chance for people to see how we sell things and also how it is out on the farm," said Harned, who works with his father Billy Frank raising Black Angus cattle. "We've heard the past two or three months how big a trend buying local beef is becoming, and people are excited about it."

The Funfest also included tour stops about farm and home safety, local beekeepers, aquaculture, and docents from the Louisville Zoo brought several animals to interact with the participants.

The evening ended with a Kentucky Proud supper and several door prize giveaways.