“The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense.”
— Tom Clancy

The period of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a plethora of pretending, but I’m not going to pretend there was any reason at all for omitting notice of The LEE Initiative’s and Ashbourne Farms‘ partnership in the Regrow Program apart from your digital editor’s forgetfulness.

The news is two weeks old, but until there’s a vaccine we have lots of time, right? In truth, I was reminded of my Regrow Program oversight yesterday when this post hitched a ride on the Facebook algorithm and appeared on my feed.


With restaurants in some areas “reclosing” (if this word isn’t already in the dictionary, it will be soon), and the pandemic adamantly refusing to heed human calls for normality, it isn’t clear how long Edward Lee can remain in his kitchen before it’s déjà vu all over again.

This said, The LEE Initiative and Ashbourne Farms are partnering to raise $500,000 to support Kentucky restaurateurs. These two entities began cooperating at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, with Ashbourne Farms donating “thousands of meals to the Louisville relief kitchen, established by The LEE Initiative’s Restaurant Workers Relief Program.”

Edward Lee and Lindsey Ofcacek announced the Restaurant Regrow Program, a partnership between The LEE Initiative and Ashbourne Farms, supporting Kentucky restaurants struggling in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis and the fiscal setbacks of closings and layoffs. The groups will work to provide incremental $15,000 grants to restaurants in Kentucky to help local restaurants restore and regrow their passion. The Regrow Program will begin with grants to five Kentucky restaurants, with an overall goal of raising and distributing $500,000 in relief.

The information release continues: “The first two Regrow Kentucky grant recipients are The Mayan Cafe and The Fat Lamb, both in Louisville. For more details on qualifications for restaurants and how to apply, please visit the Regrow Program page. The LEE Initiative and Ashbourne Farms will notify and announce grant recipients on a rolling basis.”