When we say the freshest ingredients come from Kentucky farms, it’s more than just a clever tagline. A commitment to local sourcing results in fewer miles traveled from the farm to your plate, keeps more money within your community and creates support for Kentucky farm families and local businesses. And, ultimately, it means tastier, fresher food.
The Goodness of Buying Local
Hungry for Farm Fresh Food?
If you’re like us, the only thing better than enjoying a great meal made with fresh-from-the-farm ingredients is when someone else handles the cooking! Kentucky Proud Buy Local restaurants are dedicated to preparing delectable dishes made with the freshest our farms have to offer. From pasture-raised meats to freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, appetizers to desserts, these menus will keep you coming back for more. Our Buy Local chefs have a proven commitment to building lasting friendships with Kentucky farm families. Treat your taste buds to a uniquely local dining experience today!
Reaping the Rewards
The Kentucky Proud® Buy Local program promotes and rewards participating restaurants, caterers, schools, and other food service participants that are dedicated to purchasing ingredients grown and raised on Kentucky farms.
Buy Local participants may be reimbursed up to 15% of eligible food purchases.
The Buy Local Program is only available to Kentucky Proud members. Not a member yet? Applying is easy, membership is free, and becoming a Kentucky Proud member comes with tons of perks.
Buy Local is an incentive program administered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to reward restaurants, caterers, schools, and other food service participants for enhancing their menus with locally sourced Kentucky Proud farm ingredients. Up to 15% reimbursement may be earned on eligible food purchases. Distributors that provide detailed quarterly reports on behalf of participating restaurants will be considered for a 2.5% reimbursement on eligible sales reports. Yearly and lifetime limits apply – please see program guidelines for further details. When you buy Kentucky Proud, you support your local farmer while telling your customers you care enough to serve fresh, delicious, nutritious local foods. Join the Buy Local program today!
Making Buy Local Work for You
The Buy Local program was created to be a beneficial tool to help your food service operation transition to and sustain purchasing local food from our Kentucky farmers. How does Buy Local work? As a Kentucky Proud member, you’re eligible to enroll in the Buy Local program. Simply submit a Buy Local application (it’s free to apply) and we’ll notify you of your official date of acceptance.
Once your application has been approved, purchase eligible farm impact food items sourced from Kentucky Proud member farms and distributors. Each quarter, submit copies of your invoices and we’ll calculate your total eligible reimbursements. If you purchase from one of our participant distributors, they will submit those purchases for you. Pretty easy, right? Keep your customers happy by serving them locally sourced food made with fresh farm ingredients. Make Kentucky farmers happy by committing to purchasing what they grow and raise. Not to mention, you'll be able to transition to sustaining a locally sourced menu while receiving reimbursements for qualified purchases.
Pick Your Purchase
By purchasing food products that support local farms, you can earn up to 15% reimbursement on your investment. There are three categories of products in the Buy Local Program.
Gold (Pure Kentucky)
The first of three product categories in the Buy Local program, Gold products are 100% Kentucky farm-raised/grown and are eligible for a 15% reimbursement incentive.
Gold Products are 100% direct farm impact. Things like meat, eggs, produce, grains, dairy, honey, and other edibles are sourced directly from a Kentucky Proud member farm or from a production facility or distributor who can verify that all ingredients originated 100% from Kentucky farms.
Silver (Partly Kentucky)
Silver products consist of Kentucky farm ingredients blended with out-of-state ingredients and are eligible for 15% reimbursement incentive (as long as the total Gold outweighs Silver 3:1). In other words, the more Gold purchases you make, the more Silver you can submit for reimbursement.
Silver Products are typically processed foods where significant portions of the ingredients come from Kentucky farms and have some level of direct Kentucky farm impact. Examples include:
A company with beef raised on Kentucky farms but blended with trimmings from cattle shipped in from other states.
An ice cream company where they buy their milk and cream from a Kentucky Proud® milk processing plant.
Jams and jellies where a significant part of the fruit is sourced from Kentucky farms and blended with fruits from other states.
Sauces and salsas where a significant part of the ingredients is sourced from Kentucky farms and blended with ingredients from other states.
Bronze (Connected to Kentucky)
Bronze Products are not sourced from Kentucky farms but may be manufactured or processed in Kentucky and are not reimbursable.
Bronze Products are edible agricultural products that have only a minimal or no Kentucky farm impact. Usually, these products’ major ingredients are grown outside the state, and the Kentucky portion of the ingredients is simply there for flavoring or enhancements. While these products are not eligible for reimbursement, by purchasing Bronze you are supporting other Kentucky Proud businesses. Examples include:
Country Ham where the pork comes from another state but is cured in Kentucky.
Beer Cheese where the cheese is from another state but is processed in Kentucky.
Pasta where the wheat is being sourced from other states but is being made in Kentucky.
We understand that managing a business isn’t easy, so we make every effort to simplify the submission and reimbursement process.
Retain Eligible Invoices
As you make eligible purchases, retain your invoices or receipts from Kentucky Proud member farms and distributors. Invoices must be legible and include the Vendor/Farmer’s Name, Date of Sale, Business, Address, Item Description, Quantity, and Total Sale Amount. Purchases made prior to your approval date in Buy Local or made outside the quarterly reporting period will not be eligible for reimbursement consideration.
Submit or Mail Your Invoices Quarterly
Toward the close of each quarter, we will send a reminder that your request for reimbursement is due. All invoices must be reported and submitted within the corresponding reporting period. This is determined by the invoice date and not the payment date. You may submit your invoices electronically or by mail.
Have a Participating Distributor Submit Your Invoices
Distributors enrolled in the program may submit quarterly detailed purchase reports directly to us on your behalf. In these cases, as a Buy Local Participant, you would not need to submit these invoices yourself. For a current list of enrolled distributors, please contact us. If you wish to enroll your business as a distributor, please reach out for details and separate program reimbursement guidelines.
We calculate and send your reimbursement
Attach a simple cover sheet containing the restaurant or business name to your invoices or receipts for eligible products you have purchased during the reporting period. You may submit your invoices or receipts “as is.” There’s no need to mark which items are eligible or calculate any totals. Our team will examine each invoice for eligible items and calculate the reimbursement total that will be sent to you.
Some Points to Remember
You will be reimbursed on eligible items until you have reached the $8,000 annual maximum, the $36,000 lifetime cap, or until funding is depleted. Keep your eye out for any communications from our staff throughout the year, as you may be required to re-enroll on a biennial basis.
Products not further prepared by your business as part of your menu offering and simply offered for resale through a gift shop or storefront are not eligible for the program.
Retail sales are not eligible for reimbursement, only purchases made for your food service operations.
Products from your own farm, used in your food service operations, are also not eligible.
Buy Local replaces the former “Restaurant Rewards” program as a friendlier, less cumbersome program.
Alcoholic beverages (including, but not limited to: beer, wine, and distilled spirits) are not eligible purchases for reimbursement consideration under the Buy Local program.
We realize that’s a lot of information. So, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us anytime! Chad usually has the answers:
Chad Smith, Director of Promotion & Development
Buy Local FAQs
How do I qualify to participate?
Your restaurant or other food service entity must have an active membership status in Kentucky Proud. If needed, apply online for your Kentucky Proud membership at no cost.
You must submit your completed Buy Local Application and await your official approval date into the program.
This “approval date” will be used to verify reimbursement eligibility of your purchases. Purchases made before this date will not be eligible.
You must be able to submit invoices or receipts showing your eligible farm-food purchases or purchase eligible products from an enrolled distributor that will report purchases on your behalf.
How do I know if the distributors are reporting for me or not?
Each quarter, our enrolled distributors automatically send us eligible Kentucky Proud purchase information for all enrolled restaurants/food service entities. We work closely with our distributor partners and keep them abreast of new enrollees each quarter – even if you’ve never been in the program before. When your calculations are completed, we will send you a copy of what was calculated, and you may double-check that your distributor did report on your behalf and what was reported to us by them.
You do not need to send in copies of invoices from these distributors. We hope this saves you time.
Do you want me to send in copies of my actual invoices or can we send in a report from our QuickBooks?
We request that restaurants and other food service operations send in copies of the actual invoices, please. For convenience, you may submit copies of the invoices electronically.
What is the deadline to enroll in the Buy Local program?
There is no deadline for enrollment in Buy Local. However, purchases are not eligible for reimbursement until the date your application has been received and approved. Reimbursement requests prior to enrollment in Buy Local will not be accepted. Enrollment in the 2021-2022 Buy Local program will provide the participant reimbursement eligibility for purchases made through December 31, 2022, contingent upon funding availability and compliance with all terms of the program.