Thursday March 8, 2012
Louisville Farm to Table has been busy helping make connections that bring more local food to tables, assisting in the farmers’ bottom lines, and slowly diminishing the gap between supply of local food produced by regional farmers and demand of the institutions who serve food daily to its customers.
“The Farm to Table program not only bridges the gap between local farmers and consumers, putting healthier food on many tables, but it also sustains jobs and helps create new ones within our local food economy,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “It is becoming more and more important to consumers to know the source of their food, which translates to healthier diets, smaller carbon footprints and a more robust farm economy.”
Farm to Table Coordinator, Sarah Fritschner, also a broker-in-residence with Jefferson County Public Schools, has helped JCPS increase the number of contracts with local farmers, as well as the amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables to be included in the 2012 spring and fall School Lunch Program.
Five new items were added to the program, and quantities were increased for five fruits and vegetables, resulting in a total of 17 locally-grown items in the program, at a projected bid of $127,000. This is an increase of $93,000 from the previous year’s School Lunch Program. In addition, JCPS’ USDA-funded Fresh Fruit & Vegetable program, which serves 17,000 children three days a week, is soliciting bids this year, for the first time, from local farmers.
Louisville Farm to Table also has been working with Sysco Louisville, to broker a relationship with Brooks Meat, a meat processor in northern Kentucky, and to connect Sysco with Four Hills Farms, a Kentucky lamb producer. Sysco has made its first order for local meat from Brooks and purchased five whole lambs from Four Hills Farms as a result of these efforts.
“Purchasing whole animals and establishing contracts with farmers are important steps, providing a certain income and knowledge of demand for our farmers,” added Fischer.
Louisville is a $3 billion food market, and Louisville Metro’s goal is to help put as much as 10% of that market into Kentucky farmers’ hands by 2020.
Sarah Fritschner will be awarded Project Warm’s Green Spark Leadership Award, which is awarded to an individual whose personal example, volunteer efforts, and effective leadership have made a significant different in the energy-saving attitudes and practices of our community.