As agriculture moves toward industrial-level production processes, small farms lose their economic viability, and rural communities suffer. The need for innovative programs to generate and supplement farm income is particularly great in Kentucky, where agriculture has an annual economic impact of more than $12 billion. Highly dependent on tobacco income, Kentucky is characterized by small family farms, and 80 percent of the state’s farms gross less than $40,000 a year.
In order to promote prosperous family farms, sustainable agriculture and strong rural communities, Kentucky farmers need access to market development, training and product diversification. With the support of the SSARE PDP grant, CGC and its partners have been able to develop markets for family farm products and build support for a local, sustainable food system – important steps in Kentucky’s efforts to build a sustainable future for its agricultural community.
1. To build community capacity for managing and expanding local farmers markets and public markets.
2. To organize community food councils and conduct community food access assessments.
3. To train community organizations to expand on and replicate the highly successful Harvest Festivals.
4. To ensure access to marketing and organizational assistance for farmers, by providing training to extension agents, farmers, small business assistance programs and others who can assist farmer associations in community food issues, market development planning, building access to capital, and organizational management for farmer associations.