Sustainable Farmer Training a Success!

Monday's Sustainable Farmer Training in Annville, KY brought in farmers, ranchers and advocates from several Eastern KY counties to receive practical advice, ask questions and make connections among each other. Anthony Flaccavento, an expert organic farmer with 15 years of experience, came from Abingdon, VA to share his expertise on knowing your assets and limits, season extension, choosing what to grow, determining your market and knowing when to scale up. Lily Brislen, a graduate student from UK, got the group talking about why they're farming, the challenges they face, and what they need to overcome those challenges.
The meeting was held at the Jackson County Regional Food Center, a terrific resource for producers and entrepreneurs. In addition to services like recipe testing and nutrition information, the Center provides processors, cookers, canners and labelers for large-scale value-added food production. These products can then be shipped worldwide; manager Greg Golden told the group that one client had recently finished an order of barbeque sauce destined for Switzerland! The Center is also a docking station for the Kentucky Mobile Poultry Processing Unit. Clients can process and package poultry at the certified facility that can then be sold commercially statewide.
Community Farm Alliance and MACED put together the meeting as part of the Eastern Kentucky Local Foods Collaborative. The Collaborative is a group of folk working together to strengthen the local food system in the region, from producers to consumers and everyone in between.