Kentucky Ag News
Agriculture Commissioner James Comer speaks at the launch of the Kentucky Proud Farm to Campus Program April 15 at the Eastern Kentucky University bookstore. (Photo by Chris Aldridge)
Kentucky Proud Farm to Campus program builds on universities'
By CHRIS ALDRIDGE, Kentucky Agricultural News
Using and selling Kentucky Proud products and making sustainable decisions is nothing new at many Kentucky colleges and universities. Now, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has taken it to the next level with the launch of the Kentucky Proud Farm to Campus program April 15 at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.
“This is a very special day for Kentucky agriculture and the Kentucky Proud program,” Commissioner Comer said before cutting a ribbon to open a kiosk featuring Kentucky Proud products in the university bookstore.
Under the Farm to Campus program, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture will partner with Kentucky colleges and universities to help with their buy-local efforts. Over the next two years, the department will target college campuses to put more shelf-stable Kentucky Proud products in their bookstores and gift shops, and more farm-fresh Kentucky Proud products in their cafeterias and food service systems.
“Not only are you buying food that’s fresher and healthier, and keeping your money in your local economy, but you’re reducing your carbon footprint,” Commissioner Comer said. “This will increase economic development because you’re going to keep your money closer to your communities. That’ll create jobs and create revenue for our state.
“Our state is not growing at the rate it should to pay for the No. 1 service we provide, and that’s public education. So we’ve got to do more to generate economic development, and I think Kentucky Proud can do that because it’s keeping money in our local communities, and it’s helping farmers and small businesses.”
The KDA will also work with the universities and student sustainability groups, such as EKU’s Green Crew, on Kentucky Proud/buy local efforts in Richmond and other college towns.
Following is a look at what EKU and four other Kentucky colleges and universities are doing as the Farm to Campus program gets under way: