I want Kentucky's new agenda to be food security

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The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, with acclaimed former Owensboro mayor David Adkisson as its new leader, invites Kentuckians to help create A New Agenda for our state. In the fall the Chamber will publish a book of the 100 best ideas, and then work to winnow those to a small number, maybe 3-5, to share with Kentucky's new governor. The Kentucky Chamber had a really brief meeting here a few weeks ago to collect ideas for their New Agenda. I doubt if you made it. So how about completing an online form with your own great ideas? I hope you will think about local foods, sustainability, the health and environmental benefits of organic and local production, marketing, and processing - and all such good things.

To see what I submitted...

Kentucky has the climate, water, small farms, educational institutions, living knowledge of agriculture, and can-do spirit to become the next great food capital of the world. With focus, we can grow, cook, preserve and market exquisite food and drink, all with a commitment to sustaining and improving our land, air, and water quality.

We can feed ourselves with world-class food and drink, and attract others to visit and buy our products. We can secure our health, economy, and self-sufficiency by building on our extraordinary intrinsic agricultural and human assets. We can create public schools, state parks, universities, church/synagogue/mosque meals, FFA and Extension events, fairs and festivals, and government-sponsored conferences featuring fine, healthy, delicious, locally grown food and drink.

Our state and local governments can help by developing policies and funding that encourage food self sufficiency.

Economic benefits will include

  1. Reduced food costs;
  2. Increased tourism dollars (think of France, California, or the Farmers Diner in Quechee, VT -- and if these seem too far-fetched, visit Midway's Holly Hill Inn or Lexington's Stella's Deli);
  3. An "owner" economy of small-scale growers, markets, groceries, value-added processors, restaurants, distilleries, breweries, vineyards, and wineries;
  4. Reduced health care costs;
  5. Decreased environmental damage from reducing oil inputs (transportation, oil-based chemical inputs.

Every two years Italy hosts a 5-day local foods showcase, "Salone del Gusto," at Torino. This event attracts more than 130,000 visitors. Great local food is magnetic. We can add local foods to horses as reasons to take pride and attract the world to Kentucky.

A successful focus on sustainable food self-sufficiency will boost quality of life in so many ways that Kentucky's "idea climate" will flourish, holding our own fine young people and attracting both young and experienced new residents to our beloved Commonwealth.

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