Bluegrass Farm to Table partnered with the University of Kentucky’s Food Connection and the Community and Economic Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) to conduct a local food system assessment for the Bluegrass Region.

A snapshot of food-related agriculture for 23 counties (CEDIK)

Our local food profiles provide a one-page summary of available data for 23 central Kentucky counties.  Statistics which relate to local food production and marketing from the 2002, 2007 and 2012 Census of Agriculture are included along with additional information from recent KY Proud and Market Maker program reports, as well as the USDA Food Atlas.  Highlights of these profiles include:

  • Between 2002 and 2012, the number of farms marketing directly for retail increased by 45% in the region and by 34% in the state.
  • From 2007 to 2012, the number of farms marketing value-added products increased by 21 to 22% in the region and the state.
  • However, over the same time farms with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) markets decreased by 22% in the region and 34% in the state.
  • Farm sales for direct consumption (retail) increased by 34% in the region and 57% in the state from 2002 to 2012,
  • But more recently, from 2007 to 2012, the rate of increase of direct sales was only 8% in the state and actually declined slightly in the region, by 4%.
  • Agritourism and recreational receipts reported by farms increased substantially during the ten-year period, by 1,758% in the region, and 510% in the state.  

While offering a useful dashboard of readily available information, the profiles are not intended to give a complete picture of local food sources or markets. For example, census statistics do not include intermediated regional sourcing, or production for nearby institutions or large retailers that passes through distributors or aggregators.  While some information is available about trends in produce acreage, few data measuring farm sales of animal products for local markets are available.

These summaries are a first product of a partnership among CEDIK, The Food Connection at UK, and Bluegrass Farm to Table.   Goals of this partnership include better understanding the impact of, and opportunities for development of local food economies, particularly in the central Kentucky region.Continuing studies and analyses aim to enhance assessment, monitoring and analysis of local food systems.

Studies and Assessments

Read the Fayette County Local Food Demand Assessment, published December 2015.

This report examines the current landscape of local food demand in Lexington, Kentucky. Based on interviews with purchasers, producers, distributors, and processors. 

Study of First Processed Produce in Central Kentucky, published May 2016

The Food Connection served as the research consultant for a collaborative project with Bluegrass Farm to Table, NoLi CDC and Community Ventures to identify gaps in our produce value chain, and the specific needs for additional processing capacity in the region.