UK announces FoodChain as 2022-23 Cornerstone Community Innovation Partner

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (August 19, 2022) — The University of Kentucky is pleased to announce the next Cornerstone Community Innovation Partner (CIP) for the 2022-23 academic year. This year’s partner is FoodChain, which will have an ongoing presence at Cornerstone to increase community engagement with students and faculty.

This 12-month partnership aims to foster Cornerstone’s vision of innovation and entrepreneurship by establishing links between the community and the university.

“Located at the intersection of the UK campus with the city centre, Cornerstone was built to encourage dynamic interaction between students, faculty, staff and the wider Lexington community,” said Melody Flowers, Principal UK executive for strategic analysis and policy. “Easily accessible on foot, by bike or by car, the Cornerstone offers flexible meeting spaces and state-of-the-art technology, as well as food and beverage retailers, in a modern space designed to foster collaboration and connections. “

FoodChain strives to connect the Lexington community to fresh food and cultivate more active participation in the local food system. This is accomplished through community outreach, including tours, cooking programs, and activities on FoodChain’s aquaponics farm. The organization believes that it is through community that we can build a more just, equitable and sustainable food system for all.

The organization will work with the university including facilities, colleges, The Food Connection, the UK Economic Development Collaborative and others to introduce an aquaponics system into the Cornerstone. Aquaponics is a food system that combines aquaculture (fish, snails, etc.) and hydroponics to grow plants. The system will be available to be used as a demonstration for courses and to organize training sessions.

The Cornerstone building serves as a gateway to an emerging innovation district that will further connect the university to the city of Lexington. It is designed to foster a wide range of idea sharing, event organization and programmatic opportunities around the concepts of innovation, creativity, technology, entrepreneurship and equitable economic development.

FoodChain has a rich history of partnership with the UK. They worked alongside the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Campus Kitchen, and the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.

“FoodChain is thrilled to partner with the UK in the innovation space!” said Kristin Hughes, Director of Education and Community Outreach at FoodChain. . We are especially excited to bring aquaponics to campus and to collaborate with the UK, other community partners and the Lexington community on urban agriculture and its role in a community food system.

For more information about community programming at The Cornerstone, please contact Ashley Castorena at [email protected]

The United Kingdom is a powerful economic engine for Kentucky. We educate and empower the next generation of citizens, provide research that influences community and political development, and collaborate with economic partners – who strengthen and shape a new future for Lexington and the Commonwealth. The UK Economic Development Collaborative (EDC) is a network of campus and community actors who oversee economic development and business engagement activities across the UK. EDC’s mission is to proactively increase economic prosperity in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the areas of talent, innovation, place, partnership and equitable economic development. Learn more at