Clay Turner, fellow Food Heroes to be honored at Farm to Table dinner in Louisville
By Chris Aldridge, Department of Agriculture

Posted on July 20, 2014 10:24 PM

Three Kentucky farmers voted as the Commonwealth’s Local Food Heroes for 2013 will be honored in a dinner next month at a $100 per plate dinner in Louisville.

The inaugural Local Food Heroes Farm to Table Dinner is scheduled for Aug. 18 at Ramsi’s Café on the World in Louisville to honor Ramsi Kamar of Louisville, Michael Lewis of Berea, and Clay Turner of Russellville.

“The voters told us that these three gentlemen are their favorite ambassadors for the local food movement in Kentucky,” Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said. “They each bring something ‘to the table,’ so to speak, as we work to build a dynamic local food economy. I am grateful to them for everything they do.”

“Louisville and Kentucky citizens consume food produced from thousands of small farmers in Kentucky on a daily basis,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. “The Local Heroes contest has helped to raise awareness across the entire state not only about how important eating locally-grown food is, but just as much about the impact to the farmers who rely on people to buy and eat it.”

Turner is a graduate of Logan County High School where he was named FFA Star Farmer. He holds a degree in agricultural economics from Western Kentucky University. He operates Turner Valley Produce just outside Russellville along with his sister Lindsay and his mom Elaine. He is the founder and director of Kentucky Wonders Garden Market in a section of Historic Russellville, which features vendors who grow their own produce instead of buying and reselling it.

The three Local Food Heroes were honored by Commissioner Comer, Mayor Fisher and representatives of Seed Capital of Kentucky at the Kentucky State Fair last August. Turner, Lewis and Kamar were also featured on LP Field in Nashville at halftime of the Kentucky-WKU football game

The Local Food Heroes Initiative was created from a partnership between the Kentucky Department of Agriculture; Louisville Farm to Table, an effort to increase the capacity of the local food system; and Seed Capital Kentucky, a nonprofit organization in Louisville dedicated to catalyzing the success and resilience of regional agriculture and the regional food economy.

“The Farm to Table Dinner is a perfect way to recognize our Local Food Heroes,” said Caroline Heine, project director for Seed Capital Kentucky. “The food featured at this dinner, straight from the farms of our Local Food Heroes, represents the hard work and diligence of these farmers, and the good fortune we have to have such growers in our Commonwealth. We hope to make this a key component of the Local Food Hero award for years to come.”

Turner Valley Produce will furnish tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and other vegetables for the meal.

Net proceeds from the dinner will benefit The Lincoln Foundation, a nonprofit that provides educational enrichment programs for disadvantaged students in the region. The Louisville-based organization plans to use the proceeds to implement a new agriculture and culinary education component to its curriculum.

“Lincoln Foundation is delighted to work in partnership with the Local Food Heroes Initiative,” said Larry M. McDonald, president of the foundation. “This new initiative to help us expand our educational programs to include exposure to agriculture and related careers is extremely valuable in opening doors of opportunities for the youth we serve.”

Farm Credit Services of Mid-America is the presenting sponsor, and Old 502 Winery of Louisville will sponsor the cocktail reception. The reception will begin at 5:45 p.m. EDT, with dinner to follow.

Only 50 tickets are available to the Local Food Heroes Farm to Table Dinner, of which Comer and Fischer will attend. Tickets went on sale Friday, July 18 for $100 each. For ticket information, call Ramsi’s Café on the World at (502) 451-0700.

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