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Best of both worlds: Farm-City Day features town tour

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Martha Thomas receives award

By Kelly Cantrall

The annual Farm-City Day serves as a bridge between two worlds in Hardin County. Former Hardin County Sheriff Martha Thomas has attended for years, and does what she can to promote the event, she said.

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“It helps foster good relationships between the city and the county,” she said.

Tuesday’s annual Farm-City Day began with glimpses of Elizabethtown facilities and ended with recognizing Thomas for her work in the county. Participants also heard from a supporter of a local food movement.

The event is sponsored by the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and Hardin County Cooperative Extension Service in alternating years. This year, the chamber hosted Hardin Countians interested in taking a look at Hardin Memorial Health and Metalsa.

HMH showed tour-goers a mock-up of a new private room, and Metalsa gave them a peek at new equipment in the facility.

Each year, a county resident chosen by past winners is given the Distinguished Farm-City Service Award. Thomas is the county’s first and only female sheriff, and was the first woman on the Extension service’s board. She has long worked with the Hardin County Fair and runs a family farm with her sons.

She was presented the award by 2011 winner, Ray Allan Mackey.

“This lady lives large,” Mackey said.

Thomas has watched many Hardin Countians receive the award and always thought of it as a nice thank-you to the recipients, she said.

“I never felt myself worthy of that award,” she told the crowd. Those in attendance must have felt differently, as many attendees stopped her after Tuesday’s lunch to let her know how much she deserves the recognition.

During the luncheon, participants also heard from Sarah Fritschner, director of the Farm to Table program in Louisville, which works to sell local food in the city. Farmers are looking for new ways to make a living with the fading of tobacco sales, she said, and Fritschner is working to persuade large organizations, such as hospitals and public school systems, to try local food.

“To change the system, we need to create new ways to get food into the city,” she said.

Fritschner receives push back from organizations that say local food is too expensive, she said.

“It’s really a phrase that stands in for countless reasons why they won’t buy local food,” she said.

She said private residents can support locally sourced products by purchasing them and publicly advocating for them.

“There are many ways to help local food work,” she said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.