The Food Connection, an applied food systems center in the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, has recently published the FY23 dining report.
The report’s analysis tracks local food purchasing against predetermined benchmarks set forth by the University of Kentucky in partnership with their food service partner, Aramark. According to the report, UK Dining (Aramark) exceeded expectations, set forth by the Kentucky Farm and Food Business Impact (KYFFBI) purchasing initiative, in local food purchasing last academic year (2022-2023) across several key performance indicators.
“In Kentucky, agriculture is a way of life. Access to locally sourced and produced food remains a central issue for Kentuckians and the world,” said Eli Capilouto, UK president. “At the University of Kentucky, we are continuing to lead the way for Kentucky producers. This report further highlights our commitment to growing locally to serve our state as we work to advance the Commonwealth.”
UK’s local food procurement initiative was created in 2014 as a portion of the dining services contract with Aramark and requires fulfilling annual purchasing benchmarks relative to foods sourced from Kentucky farms and Kentucky-based food businesses. These include annual purchasing targets that increase each year. The annual report quantifies how local purchasing requirements in dining services are contractually fulfilled, and identifies opportunities, challenges, best practices and innovations through collaboration efforts.
Created as a part of the dining contract, The Food Connection works directly with UK Dining and other institutions to continuously improve local farm and business impact food procurement – spurring innovation and growth across Kentucky’s local food economy.