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Kentucky Local Food Heroes honored

Examples of Kentucky-grown produce.
Examples of Kentucky-grown produce.
Courtesy of Seed Capital Kentucky

Last night, at Ramsi's Cafe on the World in Louisville, the inaugural Local Food Heroes Farm to Table Dinner was held. Honorees were Ramsi Kamar of Louisville, Michael Lewis of Berea, and Clay Turner of Russellville.

Ramsi's Cafe is a well-established Louisville restaurant, twenty years old. Recently, however, owner Ramsi Kamar, and his wife Rhona, began growing food for the restaurant on a piece of land they had owned for some time in Fisherville. Where practical, they grow organic. However, they need certain levels of production to continue to have Ramsi's be a gathering place for the community, and to keep prices inclusive. For some items, organic is not practical. However, offering organic food is another way to promote the restaurant, Rhona said. And the farm pays other benefits, like giving them a place to compost biodegradable waste from the restaurant.

Michael Lewis is a Berea farmer who served honorably in the U.S. Army for five years, two as an Honor Guard stationed at Arlington National Cemetery. In spite of accompanying over two hundred soldiers on their final journey, he knew that he needed to do even more for his fellow servicemen and women.

He's quick to point to the sacrifices of those who deployed overseas, and were wounded, like his brother Fred-Curtis Lewis. Fred-Curtis was a combat medic who was shot in the back of the head after several tours of duty in Afghanistan. He was left with a debilitating brain injury, his family joined his brother's in Kentucky, and they began farming side-by-side. "I was dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury," Fred-Curtis told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "He saw how I was transformed. And he realized it was working for him as well." As a result, Michael Lewis' Gaining Ground Farm joined the Farmer Veteran Coalition, a group that seeks to help veterans get involved in food production.

Clay Turner, of Turner Valley Produce, sells produce from a roadside stand at the entrance to his third-generation farm, twice a week at the Logan County Farmers' Market, and at the Kentucky Wonders Garden Market in downtown Russellville, where people without transportation can purchase. A customer commented, "When I am in town on Tuesday or Saturday in Russellville at the Farmer’s Market, it is the first vendor I head to. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication to serving your community.”