Cultivating food inspires 'farm to table' movement, local food heroes


by Whitney Harding

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 11:57 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Thirteen years ago Ramsi Kamar, co-owner and co-chef of “Ramsi’s Café on the World”, bought some land in Jefferson County with the intention of building a home there.

Now, as of four years ago, the land does have a house, but it's a greenhouse where he raises chicken, grows produces and cultivates a dream.

"My husband has always dreamed of having a farm so for him it was a whole new thing,” Rhona Kamar – Ramsi’s wife, co-owner and co-chef said. “Where he comes from there's a real value of the land.”

What Rhona and Ramsi didn't know is that passion for farming reinvigorated their creativity with regards to cooking.

"For us as restaurant owners and cooks it changed everything because when you grow your own food and you actually see it,” Rhona explained. “You take it from the seed, to the sprout, to the actual fruit or whatever it is and you bring it in here. It's really miraculous."

Cultivating tomatoes, watermelon and carrots has blossomed into an award. Ramsi, along with two other Kentucky farmers, received the honor of Local Food Heroes for 2013 thanks to their agricultural ambitions. Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer said these three gentlemen are ambassadors for the local food movement and show that farming in Kentucky is something to be celebrated.

"When you think about it the most important thing in our life is to have a safe, healthy, reliable food supply and we have that here in America because of the sacrifice of our farmers," Comer said. "We're seeing a renaissance in agriculture in Kentucky."

That rejuvenation goes beyond the kitchen. Proceeds from the dinner event benefit the Lincoln Foundation --  a nonprofit organization that provides educational enrichment programs for disadvantaged students and has incorporated agriculture to the teachings.

"The majority of our youth are multicultural, very international group of students and many of them come from very disadvantaged backgrounds," said Lincoln Foundation President, Larry McDonald. “Young people learn about sustainability. They learn that the way you eat contributes to your lifestyle."

"They say if a kid grows his own food he will eat it,” added Caroline Heine, the project director at Seed Capital Kentucky, a nonprofit dedicated to catalyzing the success of regional agriculture. “There's a much better chance that he will eat broccoli that he's watched grow himself than if it's just presented to him.”

 For Rhona and Ramsi, it's all about returning to the basics in order to move forward.

"It makes us really question what we're already selling you know the source of what we've been selling for years,” Rhona shared. “So it's really interesting just keep in touch over the years to see how it changes how we do business."