Economics of the Louisville Food System

Baker, J. Duffy. “Investing in Our Food System: Challenges and Opportunities.” Louisville Barn Raising. January 1, 2013. (3 pages)

Duffy Baker, Jr., Louisville Division Manager of Commercial Banking, recommends merging efforts between the commercial and agriculture sectors to stimulate the local economy via the food system. Baker presents examples of creative financing mechanisms, such as the Iroquois Valley Farms Initiative, which would provide incentives to farmers to work towards sustainable practices through investment leasing if such an initiative were brought to Kentucky. The Nutrition Capital Network facilitates partnerships between growing companies in the health-care industry and corporate, banking, angel, and venture investors. Baker cites Asheville, NC and Louisville, KY to illustrate city government and financial partnership to improve the food system through local programs.


Burke, Danny. 2010 Making the Leap to West Louisville: EBT at Grasshoppers Distribution. Report prepared for Community Farm Alliance, Louisville, February. (35 pages)

This is an interesting report prepared for the Community Farm Alliance. It makes the case for increased acceptance of EBT cards (SNAP, formerly food stamps) at Grasshoppers Distribution, a farm-to-consumer distributor. Burke argues that if Grasshoppers were to accept EBT cards, it could better serve individuals in West Louisville, a notorious food desert. Although Grasshoppers Distribution permanently closed in December of 2013, this piece provides a strong argument for wider acceptance of government entitlements at small distributors of local produce, e.g., CSAs. He points to the success of New Roots’ Fresh Stops, which successfully accept SNAP. Burke concludes by restating the importance of increasing West Louisville’s access to healthy produce.


Downs, Jere, and Shafer, Sheldon S. 2014   Food Hub ’Job-Generating Machine’ for West End. The Courier-Journal, September 19 (4 pages)

This article describes a project currently in the works to construct a “local food hub” in Louisville’s West End. The project developer, Seed Capital Kentucky, has secured a 24-acre vacant lot, where they plan to build several facilities including a local food distribution warehouse, a juicing facility, an industrial food processor and a 2-acre demonstration farm. The article suggests that this project may be more critical in revitalizing the West End than the Wal-Mart store which is also currently under development, as the food hub will create ~270 construction jobs and ~250 permanent jobs.


Geronemus, Kate and the Congressional Hunger Center. 2010 The State of Food: A Snapshot of Food Access in Louisville Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement Food in Neighborhoods Committee Report. (31 pages)

The author, an Emerson Fellow, offers a thorough view of food access in the Louisville Metro community. She begins by asking why food matters and then explains the importance of food in peoples’ lives. Geronemus explains that there are disparities in the ways people buy, prepare, and access food. The author says that Louisville is working to “deconstruct” the “complex web of cause and effect” that occurs between farm, supermarket, and consumer. She discusses several local food initiatives and their missions to positively impact our local food environment. The author goes on to detail the citizen’s role in the movement, and provides a statistical breakdown of food disparities within our community. She offers several sources of information regarding research on local food initiatives, as well as maps showing food deserts, and the locations of farmers’ markets. The author gives a detailed analysis of our emergency food system and explains the impact it has on those in need. Geronemus concludes with suggestions for viable solutions to our food crisis including new zoning ordinances that would prevent food “swamps” near public schools, revise the standard of school lunches to include fresh fruits and vegetables, and create a local Food Policy council. She gives a comprehensive description of her “vision for tomorrow,” including accessible and affordable nutritious foods in all areas of the city, coordinated educational programs and social marketing campaigns for healthier food choices, and collaborative efforts of organizations to improve the local food system. Finally, the author makes a bid for the community to get involved in making Louisville a city where all residents have access to healthy foods.


Jennings, Josh. 2011 Building Louisville’s Food Policy Council Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement. (17 pages)

Jennings wrote this report to explain the establishment of the Metro Food Policy Council in 2011. He begins by asking, “What is a food policy council?” After an introduction mentioning obesity, food access, choices, and the local food system, the Community Health Specialist cites that the need for an effective FPC in the Louisville area is important for ensuring that long-term, sustainable, inclusive policies are created locally to establish a healthy and vibrant food system. The FPCs are made up of participants who think strategically about identifying and proposing innovative solutions to improve public health, spurring local economic development, and making food systems more socially just and environmentally sustainable. He explains that the Louisville FPC was the result of a $7.9 million grant awarded to the Department of Public Health and Wellness, the collaboration of organizations such as Food in Neighborhoods Committee and Community Farm Alliance, and the support of Mayor Jerry Abramson. Jennings’s report includes organizational charts for recommendations of how the Food Policy Advisory Council would be structured within Metro Government, detailed lists of all policy and advisory actors, pie-chart data of the breakdown of members of the FPAC by district, gender, race/ethnicity, and stakeholder groups, and an itemization of notable milestones. Finally, the report includes a copy of the signed executive order creating the Louisville/Jefferson County FPAC.


Seed Capital Kentucky and Louisville Metro. 2012   The Louisville Local Food Demand Analysis. Karp Resources. (64 pages)

This analysis lays out the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of the demand for local food in Louisville. Primarily, this report demonstrates a dramatic increase in the demand for local food, suggesting that current demand is not being met by current supply. Among one of the analysis’s three scenarios regarding how to meet this growing and unmet demand is suggested a farm-to-food processing facility. The authors argue that the center would be useful not only for serving individual consumers, but also posit that local commercial enterprises would be more likely to use local food if the supply was sufficient and consistent enough to meet demand. Other suggestions include “more tools for more food” which concerns infrastructure and other technical support, as well as increasing the availability of healthy, local food options in already-existing retail outlets.


Lammers, Braden. 2014   New Crowdfunding Platform Launches in Louisville. Louisville Business First, June 19. (2 pages)

This article highlights the arrival of Kiva Zip, a micro-lending site recently launched in Louisville. The site requires borrowers to be endorsed by a trustee. Seed Capital Kentucky will serve in this capacity for borrowers looking to secure loans for agricultural-related expenses. While Kiva Zip will lend to a variety of businesses, Seed Capital will primarily act as a trustee for borrowers that have the potential to grow the local food economy, according to Caroline Heine, Seed Capital’s project director. Kiva Zip loans are interest free with a 36-month payback period and a 6-month grace period.


Zawacki, Theresa. 2014 Louisville Metro Government’s Local Food Initiatives Economic Growth and Innovation. (12 pages)

The author has created a presentation-style report that outlines the various efforts currently in place in the Louisville area. Her focus for the report follows the themes of regionalism (or local rather than national or governmental projects), economic development (including the sustained, concentrated actions of both policy makers and communities that promote a higher standard of living and better economic health of the local area), and quality of life/quality of place (improving not just the lives of the people, but also the environments in which they dwell). Zawacki, the Senior Policy Advisor to Louisville Forward, begins her presentation with a birds-eye view of the various local food initiatives and then provides a map and data of regional farms and their crops. She addresses the Farm-to-Table movement and looks at a local food demand survey which indicates a distinct willingness among all consumers to spend more of their allotted food budget to purchase local foods, and that they are willing to do so in order to support the local economy and farmers, and for the quality and freshness of the produce. Her survey includes color-coded maps of food access which include food swamps as well as food deserts, both of which indicate an alarming underserved population in Louisville’s densest regions. Finally Zawacki addresses the question of how to proceed with food security, equality, and justice issues in the Greater Metro area, and suggests potential initiatives and strategies for a more dynamic food community.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s