Reducing Food Loss Through Post-Harvest Improvements and Market Expansion

Grants and Contracts Details


Reducing food loss through post-harvest improvements and market expansion Kentucky’s fruit and vegetable operations are expanding rapidly, increasing 46% between 2012 and 2017, and generating a market value of almost $160 million. With high local demand and high potential grower returns – especially on small acreages – specialty crops are increasingly attractive and profitable enterprises for Kentucky farm families. Barriers exist that keep growers from reaching their economic potential, including the critical issue of food product loss and food waste and the complexities of navigating intermediated market channels. This project focuses on two primary strategies to minimize food loss: reducing post-harvest product loss through improved practices and preparing growers for market expansion through Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification. The Kentucky Horticulture Council, the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association, the Kentucky State Horticulture Society, and other stakeholders will partner to provide direct technical assistance, educational programs, and innovative tools to help prospective and established specialty crop growers reduce post-production losses and prepare for new markets. KHC 2021 LFPP Grant Proposal Activity 1. Support food entrepreneurs to improve product selection, quality, and reduce food waste. Task 1. On-farm face-to-face grower visits and remote support (phone, text, UK HORT, UK email, alerts) to provide harvest and post-harvest storage recommendations to PPA current and prospective growers at all scales. Assist local food hubs and aggregators with optimizing product storage conditions to preserve product quality. Task 2. Support entrepreneurs in development of value-added products and UK HORT preserving the cold chain. Task 3. Develop tools, techniques, and practices that growers can rapidly adopt KHC, UK to optimize storage conditions and preserve product quality. Transfer HORT, UK knowledge that meets the needs of prospective and established produce PPA, CKY growers and market intermediaries. Activity 2. Support and promote development of market opportunities for Kentucky produce growers in indirect producer-to-consumer marketing channels. Task 1. On-farm face-to-face grower visits and remote support (phone, text, CKY, KHC email, alerts) to aid individual growers and multi-farm groups in obtaining Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification to sell produce into institutional or wholesale marketing channels. Task 2. Host farm food safety workshops and other educational events to CKY, KHC increase grower knowledge of food safety practices and increase preparedness for new markets. Task 3. Connect GAP-certified growers with potential local and regional buyers CKY, KHC and on-boarding program. Activity 3. KHC Administrative Activities. Task 1. Administer grower cost-share program providing financial support to KHC make third-party GAPs audits affordable for growers entering indirect markets and for making changes and upgrades to practices and equipment to improve food safety. Task 2. Project Management KHC Anticipated Roles and Responsibilities KHC will direct the project and assist partners and collaborators with achieving the outlined objectives, including connecting growers with buyers, as well as administer the grower cost-share program. UK Horticulture will provide direct technical assistance to UK Extension personnel and produce growers in the project area and Dr. Rachel Rudolph will supervise technical staff providing on-site services. Assistance will include but is not limited to on-farm farm-to-face visits, remote support, and educational programs. Furthermore, Dr. Rudolph will assist with the creation and promotion of production and post-harvest handling guides. UK Plant Pathology will provide direct technical assistance and educational resources and training to UK Extension personnel and produce growers and Dr. Nicole Gauthier will supervise technical staff providing on-site services to reduce post-harvest and storage losses of food products. On-site assistance, remote support, just-in-time alerts and live and recorded educational programs are examples of technical assistance activities and topics for educational resource development. Cultivate Kentucky (CKY) will develop educational resources and provide GAPs training to growers and UK Extension staff on produce handling and farm food safety plans. Bryan Brady will provide program support and guidance for Extension staff and growers on produce safety and GAPs certification programs.
Effective start/end date9/30/219/29/24


  • Kentucky Horticulture Council: $98,748.00


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