The hunt for great food gets easier with Buy Local program
Published 5:17 pm Thursday, June 29, 2017
FRANKFORT — Kentucky Proud has unveiled Buy Local, a new program intended to encourage restaurants and other food service businesses to purchase locally produced food products, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has announced.
“Consumers want foods that are produced close to home,” Commissioner Quarles said. “The Buy Local program is intended to make it easier for food services to meet that demand. It also provides an incentive for distributors that helps ease the logistics of getting these fresh ingredients on patrons’ plates. The Buy Local program will increase economic opportunities for Kentucky farm families, food processors, distributors, and restaurants while offering customers the local foods they crave.”
Buy Local helps food services identify Kentucky Proud products based on direct farm impact. The program’s mission is to encourage community eateries to increase their local food purchases while heightening their customers’ awareness of the economic importance of supporting Kentucky’s farms and neighborhood businesses. The 15 percent reimbursement provides an incentive for these establishments while they build customer loyalty through highlighting fresh farm food.
Once enrolled in the program, participants must submit quarterly purchasing reports detailing their procurement of eligible products. In addition to the restaurants’ reimbursement, approved distributors that provide detailed quarterly reports on behalf of participating restaurants are potentially eligible for a 1 percent reimbursement.
To join the program, restaurants, food services, and distributors must become, or already be, active members of Kentucky Proud and complete the Buy Local application. The farms and processors where these ingredients originate must also be members of Kentucky Proud. Only items being further prepared by the chefs and offered on the restaurants’ menus are eligible for reimbursement.
Administered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Proud is the Commonwealth’s official farm marketing program. More than 6,000 farmers, processors, retailers, restaurants, school systems, colleges and universities, farmers’ markets, Kentucky state parks, and Kentucky Farm Bureau roadside markets are members of Kentucky Proud. Funding for Kentucky Proud and Buy Local is made possible through a grant from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund.
For more information about Buy Local, including guidelines and a participant application, go to kyproud.com and go to the Forms menu.