Business allows students to have organic produce delivered to their doors



By Will Wright | Assistant News Editor

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The organic food scene in Lexington is gaining popularity with farmer’s markets and new businesses that are setting up shop.

Though organic produce only makes up a small percentage of Kentucky agriculture, the number of organic food outlets is growing, said Paul Dengel, a recent UK graduate who now works for the UK Horticulture Research Farm.

“A lot of people say you can’t feed the world with organic food,” Dengel said. “But if you put all the money into organic that you put into conventional farming, who knows what you could do.”

Robert Perry, chef-in-residence in the department of dietetics and human nutrition at UK, said local food tastes better than food being shipped long distances.

“The closer to home your food is being produced, the more you are going to enjoy it,” Perry said.

Organic products are made without many of the chemicals that industrial non-organic farms use, and that’s better for the environment, he added.

Although local and organic food is more ecologically sound and may taste better to some, Perry said it is a common misconception that it is more nutritious.

One business, called Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, is now offering Lexington residents locally grown organic groceries shipped directly to their doorsteps.

The online grocery service, which stands for biodynamic, education, agriculture and nutrition, was founded in Indianapolis in 2007 as a way to create a support mission for family farms.

“Our model is working,” said John Freeland, vice president of Green B.E.A.N. “We’re keeping money in the local communities, stimulating the local economy and providing a clean avenue to support and foster the success of hardworking farmers and artisans.”

Green B.E.A.N. has spent about $6 million buying directly from local organic farmers and artisans.

“Having a consistent, reliable market is one of the challenges of operating a small farm, and having a buyer that provides fair prices … can really help grow your business,” he said. “Small farms really need that kind of buyer.”

Ben Abell, a Jefferson County produce farmer who sells to the company, agreed.

“Trying to make it as a small farmer growing produce is not easy,” he said.

Green B.E.A.N.’s online store includes produce, meats, dairy products, breads and jellies.

“Pretty much anything you can possibly think of, we have,” Freeland said. “And it’s probably coming from somewhere close to you.”

Many people assume local organic products are expensive, but Green B.E.A.N wants to break that stereotype.

“Our mantra is to make fresh, healthy foods more affordable and accessible to our communities,” Freeland said. “We don’t think of ourselves as something where you have to have a bunch of money to participate.”

Green B.E.A.N wants parents and students at UK to know there is quality food available to them, Freeland said. Visit for prices and more information.

In addition to Green B.E.A.N., there are at least seven farmer’s markets set up in Lexington every week, Perry said.

“More and more people are starting to realize there’s a different way,” Dengel said.