First Friday event encourages support for new farmers

By Will Wright | Assistant News Editor

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UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment hopes to teach the community at a breakfast Friday morning that farming is more than growing produce and raising animals.

Faculty and staff from the college will expose people to sustainable agriculture and encourage support for new farmers, starting at 7:30 a.m. at the Horticulture Research Farm by the intersection of Nicholasville Road and Man O’ War Boulevard.

First Friday events have been hosted by the College of Agriculture on the first Friday of the month since 2011.

“What we’re doing is equipping people with the practical skills they need to be successful,” said Lee Meyer, extension professor in the department of Agricultural Economics.

Those who attend will be served a burrito made with local ingredients and encouraged to walk around the farm to glimpse the organic produce.

Sarah Lovett, senior extension associate in the College of Agriculture, and Carolyn Gahn of the Community Farm Alliance will examine the problems many new farmers face.

Lovett will speak about KyFarmStart, a program which helps new farmers get on their feet.

Lovett said First Friday is not just educational; it’s also a great way to meet new people.

“A lot of people like going to the organic farm,” she said. “It’s a really nice place to eat and hang out together.”

Networking is an important part of agriculture, said Carol Spence, agricultural communications specialist at UK.

Spence said those who come to First Friday events are meeting people they would not meet otherwise, “It’s building some strong ties between the university and the community,” she said.

First Friday events will take place every month during the school year, excluding January.

Past speakers have touched on topics from biotechnology to the trends around local cheeses.

“We cover a whole gamut of things,” Spence said. “Some people come out every single month and look forward to it.”