Any plan for economic success must begin with sufficient research and education. To enhance agricultural literacy in the Appalachia Proud region, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has:
- Launched a Mobile Science Activity Center designed to traverse the Appalachia Proud region’s challenging topography. The Mobile Science Activity Centers visit schools and events throughout Kentucky to teach students about agriculture’s importance by enabling them to conduct scientific investigations.
- Expanded the Farm to Campus program, which helps participating institutions get local foods to serve to their students, faculty, and staff while boosting their local economies. Three of the 10 Farm to Campus member institutions – Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, and the University of Pikeville – hail from the Appalachia Proud region.
- Buy Local is a Kentucky Proud® program for restaurants, caterers, schools and other food service participants that source and support local farms. Offered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, this program rewards participants for enhancing their menus with locally sourced Kentucky Proud® farm ingredients. Enhancing their menus with locally sourced Kentucky Proud® farm ingredients, participants generated nearly $3 million worth of Kentucky farm receipts in 2018.
- Created the Kentucky Proud Farm to School Program, which enables schools to purchase local foods to help school children grow up to be healthy adults while creating new markets for local farmers.
- Launched the Farm to School Junior Chef competition, in which high school cooking teams compete for scholarships and the state championship trophy. An Appalachia Proud school has reached the semifinals of the state Junior Chef tournament every year.
- Administered industrial hemp pilot projects in partnership with universities and individual farmers throughout Kentucky.