Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 22, 2013

Farm-to-market programs celebrated

Coalton — Lyndall Harned must have felt a little like Lenny Harris, one of the best pinch hitters in major league baseball history, during Thursday morning’s annual Agri-Business Breakfast at the Boyd County Fairgrounds.

While Harned, Boyd County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, was not asked to demonstrate his ability to hit a baseball at the event, he was asked to be the last-minute substitute for two of the three speakers at the breakfast. Because of illness and scheduling conflicts, none of the three speakers scheduled for the breakfast were able to fulfill their commitments.

Fortunately for those attending the breakfast, Harned was well-versed on the two programs the speakers were to talk about.

Harned first filled in for Tina Garland, who heads the farm-to-school program in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. A bout with the flu prevented her from being at the breakfast.

Harned said Garland is working closely with food service workers at Paul G. Blazer High School in hopes of having more locally produced foods served in the school cafeteria. Plans are to launch a pilot program at Blazer as early as this fall and, if it proves successful, to eventually expand the program to Boyd County High School and Fairview High School.

“I am confident that we have enough livestock farmers who will be able to supply fresh meat to the high school,” Harned said. “Not just beef, but also lamb and pork.”

Harned said the school now receives most of its meat in frozen slabs, and while the locally produced meat will probably still have to be frozen, it will be much fresher than the meat now served at the school.

Efforts also are under way to get local producers to supply the high school with fresh fruits and vegetables, Harned said.

The state farm-to-school program in Jefferson County has contracted with local orchards to supply the state’s largest school district with apples, Harned said.

“Well, they are just apples you say, but local producers are now supplying the school district with between 16,000 and 18,000 apples a day,” Harned said. “That shows the potential farm-to-school programs have in helping the local farm economy and for getting fresh, locally grown food served in our schools.”

Citing a recent news story showed the number of students eating in local school cafeterias has declined since the implementation of new federal nutrition guideline were implemented, Harned said he thinks the decline is more a result of how much food schools are allowed to serve than the quality of the food.

Simply put, mandated serving sizes are not large enough to fill the stomachs of growing kids, Harned said, but changes are being made in the guidelines so that serving sizes can be increased.

Children at other schools have shown that they want fresh meat and fruits and vegetables, especially when they know that it is helping local farmers and gardeners, Harned said.

Pinch-hitting for Danny Craig, director of Ashland Main Street, Harned said local leaders are taking a

“fresh look” a year around market in downtown Ashland where locally grown meat, vegetables and fruits will be sold.

“Right now we have the farmers market, and that’s a great source of fresh, locally grown produce,” Harned said. “But the farmers market is only May through October. We want to establish a market that will be open 12 months a year. Instead of competing with the farmers market, we think it will actually help the farmers market.”

Harned said a number of obstacles still need to be cleared before the year-round market can be established but Craig is heading a group of dedicated people who are working diligently to create such a market.

However, the local market will be different from large fresh food health markets in Lexington and Louisville, Harned said. “We apparently are not a large enough community to support such a market,” he said. “They won’t even talk to us about it.”

Danny Blevins, a member of the board of directors for River Cities Harvest, pinch hit for RCH Executive Director Bob Owen at the breakfast. He talked about programs River Cities Harvest has launched to get locally grown produce to non-profit agencies that feed the hunger.

The only prison garden in which 100 percent of the produce is donated to local agencies is at the Federal Correctional Institution in Summit, Blevins said, and last year, it produced more than 34 tons of produce for agencies like the Ashland Community Kitchen and local food banks.

The four-acre garden is completely operated by inmates who volunteer for the assignment. A number are studying to become certified master gardeners, Blevins said.

Lori Bowling, who supervises the master gardener program for the Boyd County Extension Office, said at least two former prisoners who became certified master gardeners while incarcerated and helped launch the prison garden are now working in the field because of that training.

JOHN‚ÄąCANNON can be reached at jcannon@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2649.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0416explosives0166 copy.jpg UPDATE: U.S. 23 reopened; explosives eliminated

    More information on the U.S. 23 closure from the the Kentucky Department of Highways.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0415amy4.jpg Local family in midst of marathon tragedy

    Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings that shook the world.
     

    April 14, 2014 3 Photos

  • Boyd Democrats take floor at Elks

    Boyd County Democrats met at the Elks Lodge for a matchup between candidates for two of the hottest primary races in Boyd County: sheriff and judge-executive.
    The candidates, sponsored by the Boyd County Democratic Women’s Club, each took to the podium to face the crowd Tuesday night and discuss the candidacy and platforms for the race that is still over a month away.

    April 15, 2014

  • Shay receives 38 years for fatal shooting

    Casey R. Shay, 27, of Morehead, was sentenced Monday to 38 years in prison for the fatal shooting last year of Cassandra M. “Cassie” Owens, 21.

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416homegarden.jpg Space not problem with home garden

    Growing your own dinner is not a concept lost on Kenny Imel.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greenup court jumpstarts road repairs

    As part of the Greenup County Fiscal Court’s annual expenses, the court approved the first reading of an ordinance that allots up to $1.5 million for blacktopping damaged county roads.

    April 15, 2014

  • Nursing home reports drug theft to APD

    Woodland Oaks Health Care Facility, 1820 Oakview Road, on Monday reported the theft of 30 hydrocodone tablets from a secured area within the nursing home.

    April 15, 2014

  • Devices left from previous construction discovered

    All four lanes of U.S. 23 were shut down for nearly two hours Tuesday following the discovery of old explosives on a hillside rock cut.
    The devices apparently were left over from a previous construction project and were discovered by a crew working on the new Ironton-Russell Bridge, Russell Police Chief Tim Wilson said.

    April 15, 2014

  • Boyd walk to raise awareness of autism

    The differences in the nine children in Carla Malone’s classroom are striking.
    A few can talk, but some won’t make a sound and others jabber apparent nonsense sounds.
    There are playful children and those who keep to themselves. Some of the children can read and do other academic tasks. Schoolwork for others means matching pictures and doing exercises to develop fine motor skills, like learning to hold a pencil.

    April 15, 2014

  • Grimes outpaces McConnell in first quarter

    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has again outpaced her likely Republican general election opponent, incumbent Mitch McConnell, in fundraising during the first quarter — but she remains well behind McConnell in total fundraising and cash on hand.

    April 15, 2014