FRANKFORT, Ky. (8/26/13) – Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer recognized three of Kentucky’s Local Food Heroes in a ceremony Aug. 23 at the Kentucky State Fair.Mike Lewis of Gaining Ground Farm in Berea, Clay Turner of Turner Valley Produce in Russellville, and Ramsi Kamar of Raising Hope Organic Farm in Louisville received awards for being the top vote-getters during the Local Food Hero online voting contest held in July.
“Farmers are important to our state’s economy,” Commissioner Comer said. “The growing market for local food has enabled many farmers who are transitioning from tobacco to find a niche. This competition was a way for us to recognize their hard work and dedication."
More than 2,500 votes from throughout the state were cast in the first Local Food Hero competition, which was made possible through the efforts of Seed Capital Kentucky, Kentucky Proud, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and Louisville Metro Government.
“There are thousands of small farmers in Kentucky who produce food that Louisville and Kentucky citizens consume on a daily basis, and the Local Heroes contest has helped to raise awareness across the entire state not only about how important eating locally-grown food is, but just as much about the impact to the farmers who rely on people to buy and eat it,” Mayor Fischer said. “Congratulations to all the farmers who were nominated.”
To qualify, each farmer had to be registered with Kentucky Proud, the official state marketing brand for Kentucky farmers. Citizens who voted were encouraged to leave comments about their favorite farmers, which are now featured on www.seedcapitalky.org along with the names of the other top 10 vote-getters.
“I think this award is not so much about me, but about the environment we have collectively created that people know and care about locally grown food,” said Local Hero Mike Lewis. “Local food economies build strong communities.”
At the ceremony Friday, Lewis, Turner, and Kamar were awarded plaques and tickets to appear on the field with Commissioner Comer at halftime of the University of Kentucky-Western Kentucky University football game Aug. 31 in Nashville. “Local Food Hero” trading cards with information about each of the winners were distributed at the event and will be available at local food-related events throughout the year to continue to raise awareness about local food and celebrate the winners.
To see the top 10 vote-getters as well as comments and more about the contest, visit www.seedcapitalky.org.
Information provided by Ted Sloan
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