Local nonprofits recipients of Farm-to-Fork proceeds

Published 4:21 pm Friday, December 8, 2023

This summer was Wilmore and Nicholasville’s second year of the Farm to Fork Dinner. Now, it’s time for the proceeds to go to two nonprofit organizations.

According to the director of Wilmore Community Development, Judy Woolums, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture started the initiative.

“They reimburse farmers’ markets that utilize locally grown produce, and that’s what we do,” she said
The dinner is a joint effort between the Wilmore and Nicholasville Farmers Market boards. “We thought by pulling the two farmers markets together, we’d have a better turnout and response than individually trying to make a dinner,” Woolums said.

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According to Woolums, the planning for the dinner began in March and started with “talking about what foods we could prepare, and it’s always a gamble because you’re dependent on the weather and the insects.”

“The whole menu is locally sourced,” said Missy Sanders, who works with Triple B Farm on Bethel Road.
According to Dianne Vetters, the longest-standing member of the Wilmore Farmers Market Board, Sanders also put a lot of work into this year’s dinner, ensuring that the event had all the food it needed.

“The whole menu is locally sourced. From the drinks from Highbridge Water, the meat is from a local farm that produces pork or beef, and the vendors have many veggie options and other wonderful things. Then, we also have a silent auction available that evening that vendors can set up and showcase. It’s time for the farmers to meet the consumers,” Sanders said.

One of the requirements of the program, Woolums said, is to give your profits to a nonprofit agency.

The recipients of the proceeds were Justin’s Place and Steps and Strides Equestrian Services. Each received $1,792, presented by Vetters and Wren and Rose Flower Co. Owner and Nicholasville Farmer’s Market Board member Heather Padilla.

“We are an adaptive riding program for children and adults with disabilities, medical conditions, and health issues. We’re a seasonal program running from spring through fall. We provide private, one-on-one adaptive riding lessons and activities. Some don’t ride, some just come in and groom the horses or learn horsemanship,” said Rita Nicholson, the director of Steps and Strides. Nicholson and volunteers with her nonprofit helped run the farm-to-fork dinner.

“It’s so awesome because, as a nonprofit, we rely on donations to run our program, take care of our horses, and buy equipment and supplies. It’s such a big part of our budget, so donations like this help us get through the year,” Nicholson said.

Allie Barnett is the director of Justin’s Place. Like Nicholson’s program, Justin’s Place serves children ages 3-12.

“Our mission is simple- to create moments of peace and joy for them. We do that through horses; we have goats, pigs, bunnies, and now chickens. So we have various recreational activities. We tailor each session for the kid to bring them joy, whatever that looks like that day.” Barnett said. “I have never heard of the farm-to-fork event, and I was super impressed with how beautiful and well-run it was, and the food was amazing. It was cool to be a part of an event that brought members from every aspect of the community together.”