Kentucky Proud products for sale on Belknap Campus
Textbooks, t-shirts, class supplies. These are the things people expect to fill the aisles of a college bookstore.
At the University of Louisville, add to that list Kentucky-produced salsa, jam, barbecue sauce and other food products.
UofL President James Ramsey, Kentucky Commissioner for Agriculture Richie Farmer, student leaders and other university officials cut the ribbon on a new Kentucky Proud store April 6 in the bookstore at Swain Student Activities Center. Kentucky Proud is the state's official farm marketing program.
"The University of Louisville has a long history of supporting the community and the state," Ramsey said. Carrying Kentucky Proud products on campus is another way to help farmers and the Kentucky food industry.
Buying locally grown foods also is part of UofL's strategic plan to become a leader in sustainability and to support a healthier lifestyle for students, faculty and staff, Ramsey said.
He noted that UofL plays host to a farmers market at the Health Sciences Center and has offered two community supported agriculture information fairs for faculty, staff and students to meet local farmers, learn about their crops and sign up to receive weekly food baskets throughout the growing season.
Farmer noted that the Kentucky Proud program and UofL "have the same goals: to raise awareness of local foods, to raise farm income and economic development."
"The Kentucky Proud program helps farmers make a living and creates jobs," he said.
When the program began about six years ago, he said, there were few members. Now Kentucky Proud has more than 1,800 members, including farmers, producers and now, the UofL bookstore.
In the last three years, Farmer said, the program has generated some $250 million in retail sales of Kentucky farm products.
The agriculture commissioner also proclaimed April 6, 2010, as UofL Kentucky Proud Partnership Day and made Ramsey an honorary Kentucky agriculture commissioner.
The Kentucky Proud products are displayed on two bookcases by the general book section. Books about Kentucky or by Kentucky authors complement the section.
Some Kentucky Proud products also will be carried in the Cardinal's Nest convenience store in Louisville Hall. Students can purchase those using their meal plan cards.
Mitchell Payne, associate vice president for business affairs, first contacted the Kentucky Department of Agriculture about bringing Kentucky Proud to UofL. He had support in his efforts from SGA Services Vice President Krista Woltermann and Barnes & Noble, which operates the UofL bookstore.
Payne said he hopes the products will appeal not only to the campus community, but also to parents and out-of-state visitors to campus who might want to take home Kentucky products or make their students gift baskets.