Friday March 16, 2012
Louisville received two grants today for food-related programs from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board. Louisville Farm to Table received $120,000 for two years to continue its work in connecting consumers with local farmers, and a new low-interest loan program targeted to businesses processing food grown by Kentucky farmers, called the Louisville Agribusiness Loan, was created with $250,000. Both grants will be fully matched by the city.
“Buying local is no longer just a slogan, but is becoming a way of life, and these two grants help move our LIFE Zone initiative forward by making locally grown and raised food more accessible to Louisville consumers,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “Thanks to the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board for recognizing and rewarding our efforts.”
The $500,000 Louisville Agribusiness Loan Program is a revolving loan fund created to incentivize new or expanding small food manufacturing businesses to open in the Portland neighborhood, the first LIFE (Locally Integrated Food Economy) Zone created by Fischer. Applicants must demonstrate that the major ingredients in their product come from Kentucky farmers and that they will create jobs in the Portland area.
Interest rates will be competitive, but linked to performance and can be adjusted based on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate benefit to Kentucky farmers. Support for applicants in sourcing ingredients grown in Kentucky as well as advice in identifying potential loan candidates will be provided through Louisville Farm to Table, the Mayor’s Food Policy Advisory Council and other community stakeholders. The Louisville Agribusiness Loan Program is a partnership with the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation, and will be administered jointly with METCO, the Metropolitan Business Development Corporation.
With its grant, the Louisville Farm to Table Program will build new, and strengthen existing, relationships between Kentucky farmers and consumers over the next two years. Additionally, Louisville Farm to Table Coordinator Sarah Fritschner, will be working with food service managers from University of Louisville, Jefferson County Public Schools, and Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s HealthCare System to make connections to local and regional farmers for their cafeterias.
For more information about the Louisville Agribusiness Loan program, visit www.louisvilleky.gov/economicdevelopment/businessdevelopment. For more information about Louisville Farm to Table, visit www.louisvilleky.gov/healthyhometown/farmtotable.