This article was provided by the Bluegrass Greensource Sustainable Agriculture & Local Food Action Team, originally published June 2020. The Action Team is comprised of volunteers from throughout Central Kentucky with a focus on bringing education and awareness about local and sustainable food systems to all eaters, regardless of their access to a farm or garden. If you would like to join the Action Team, email Giulia [at] bggreensource.org.
The food you eat every day is one very important way that you are deeply connected to the land, water and air that sustain life on earth. Though you likely eat food every day, you may not know anyone who grows food, since only 1.3% of the US population is now employed in on-farm work. You can help keep small, family farms in business by spending your dollars on locally-grown foods.
Check out our top ten list of places where you can buy and eat locally produced food:
1. Farm to Fork Restaurants and other restaurants who buy from local farms – click here for a list of restaurants near you.
2. You-Pick Farms – Sometimes you can get the experience of picking your own berries or other produce; click here for a list of farms in Central Kentucky.
3. Co-ops – In Lexington, Good Foods Co-op carries lots of local farm products from central Kentucky.
4. Other Grocery Stores – While most grocery stores get their products primarily from global supply chains, some may have a few locally or regionally sourced foods. Ask your store’s management what’s local.
5. Produce auctions – Purchase in bulk for freezing and canning. KY Produce Auction Price Reports | Center for Crop Diversification
6. Road-side Stands & Amish stands – click here to find a roadside market near you.
7. Farmers’ Markets – seasonal and year-round, with 160 farmers markets in Kentucky, there’s probably one near you. Check the listing here: Kentucky Proud
8. Mobile Farm Market Trucks – Look for one making stops in a neighborhood near you.
9. Home-based processors & cottage industries – From sweet treats to specialty health foods, home bakers and food entrepreneurs may be taking orders via a website or Facebook page.
10. CSA – or Community Supported Agriculture – is a kind of farm product subscription service. Usually, CSA members purchase a subscription, or share, at the beginning of the season, and then receive a selection of farm products weekly throughout the season. CSA options can be for fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, baked goods or some combination. Some CSAs may offer sliding scale pricing or can be purchased with SNAP benefits.
BONUS – Grow your own – Another great way to get fresh, locally grown food is to grow a little bit yourself. You can start small with a few potted plants.
For more specific suggestions in the 20 county area of Bluegrass Greensource, click this link for county-by-county suggestions. Please let us know if you have a favorite source of local food you’d like to add.
Please note: in the time of COVID19, open hours, locations and procedures have changed for many local businesses. For best results, call ahead before visiting a business to confirm open hours and any special instructions about pre-ordering or contactless purchasing.