Resources For Producers

Agricultural Service Providers of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture provides this link to a map of commercial kitchens, Conservation District Offices, and shared equipment available: https://uk-horticulture.github.io/service-provider-directory/

The Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD)

The Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD) is a non-profit organization established to facilitate agricultural and rural business development in Kentucky. They provide educational opportunities, technical assistance, and business support services to new and existing agribusinesses: https://www.kcard.info/start-business

Grow Appalachia

Grow Appalachia provides technical assistance and direct, integrated service to farmers in southeastern Kentucky. They also offer a 6 month training series tailored to farming in eastern Kentucky:
Grow Appalachia's & Technical Assistance (EKY & SEKY)
Grow Appalachia's Beginning Farmer Series

How Much Do I Need?

When planning to supply raw food product, the following resources can help you estimate how much will be needed:

Produce Calculator

USDA Food Buying Guide

How Much Will It Cost?

When preparing to bid to supply local produce, here are sources for reliable cost estimates:

Real time Daily Market Price

National Average Costs for Produce

Price Reports for produce at KY farmers’ markets and KY produce Auctions

On an annual basis, USDA awards competitive Farm to School grants that support planning, developing, and implementing farm to school programs.

USDA Farm to School Grant Program

The Kentucky State University (KYSU) Center for the Sustainability of Farms and Families (CSFF) works to develop resources to provide assistance to small-scale farms through the Small-Scale Farm Grant.

The SOAR Small Production Loan Fund is a low-interest financing resource designed to assist small producers grow healthy, nutritional foods so that they can move into commercial production.

UK Center for Crop Diversification's MarketReady Program

The MarketReady Program provides training to help farm vendors selling dairy, fruits, vegetables, meats, value-added products, and more create a successful business strategy.

Fruits and Vegetables Galore: Helping Kids Eat More

Fruits & Vegetables Galore is a tool provided by USDA. It’s packed with marketing tools and information about produce grades, packing, and storing.

Compliance and Training

Federally, sales to school foodservice are regulated through the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 and its Produce Safety Rule.  The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is responsible for implementing the Act in Kentucky.  This KDA website will aid you in determining how the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Produce Safety Rule apply to your farm: Produce Safety (kyagr.com). Additionally, applications for exemptions and templates for tracking records are available at this site.  

The KDA site will also help determine food safety training and certification(s) necessary and direct producers to sources for training.

University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification

The University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification provides food safety training and general resources about food safety for producers. Produce Best Practices Training (PBPT) is a Kentucky-specific voluntary basic food safety training available through local extension offices. This program is a prerequisite for sampling certificates and a good idea for anyone growing produce. It replaces the GAP training offered through extension offices. Find out more by visiting the Center for Crop Diversification.

Food Safety Plan

The Bringing the Farm to School: Agricultural Producers’ Toolkit Producer Workbook contains a helpful Risk Assessment tool in Module 4: Growing for Schools. This will be helpful in developing a food safety plan.

Food Safety Insurance

Most school districts require farmers and wholesale distributors to maintain Product Liability Insurance before purchasing items from them.  Product Liability Insurance protects growers from people who claim to suffer illness or injury due to the product the farmer provided.  It also positions farmers to sell to grocery stores, farmers markets, and restaurants that often require this insurance.  The amount of insurance liability required varies from district to district, ranging from $100,000 to $3 million.