A Union for Sustainable Farming
When I was asked to come onboard with the Indiana Farmers Union (IFU), the idea appealed to me in a very general “Power to the People” sense. From what little I knew, the union seemed to fit my basic philosophies. I am happy fighting for the underdog. Quite often I am the underdog, so the union’s mission and goals in support of Indiana’s family farmers sounded to me like the song of my people.
Thanks to the meetings and discussions I’ve had since, I’ve come to learn so much more, and I often find myself wondering just how this happened. How did I fall into the lap of an organization that so closely aligns with each of my core beliefs?
The IFU has been quiet in recent years, hanging around like a silent partner. Rob Davies, the marketing manager, is doing everything he can to change that. “What we want to be, what we want to do,” he told me this morning during a phone conversation, “is to become the umbrella organization in Indiana that supports and works for diversified and sustainable agriculture and for local and regional food systems.”
That right there. That’s the song.
Davies said he wants the Indiana Farmers Union “to holistically care for the local food system and for local, diversified farmers.”
What does that mean? It means the union wants to do policy work, to get busy as lobbyists on behalf of these folks. It means the union is prepared to connect farmers with the suppliers of inputs that farmers need, whether those inputs be for organic or conventional farming. The union wants to help farmers connect directly with customers. Does that mean creating food hubs, co-ops and farmers markets? Can the union provide seed capital to small farmers to help start their businesses? Quite possibly, and the union is ready to do all of it.
Davies and I have several meetings scheduled. I’m acting as a conduit between the union and other Hoosier organizations working with similar goals and missions throughout the state. The goal is to make good things happen around here—starting now.
Even if you’re not a farmer, if you share these sensibilities and if you enjoy good, healthy, locally grown food, I hope you’ll support the Indiana Farmers Union—simply by liking the Facebook page, by following the Instagram and Twitter pages I just created, and by helping to spread the word about this organization.
And if you’re a farmer, consider joining us. There’s a lot at stake.
The Indiana Farmers Union is:
Grassroots. Indiana Farmers Union is a grassroots organization that works to protect the social and economic well-being of family farmers throughout the Hoosier state.
Policy-Driven. Our members are our policy drivers. The Indiana Farmers Union engages elected officials on issues that come directly from our membership and press lawmakers to implement and enforce laws and regulations that will strengthen agriculture in Indiana.
Diverse. Indiana Farmers Union’s membership is diverse. We support grain farmers, vegetable growers, fruit growers, livestock farmers and dairy farmers — both urban and rural.
Conservation-Minded. Indiana Farmers Union is a home for all family farmers who are committed to conserving our state’s natural bounty—whether they are long-established or beginning their agricultural journey.
Sustainable. Indiana Farmers Union supports and encourages the growth of sustainable and diversified family farms, cooperative businesses, and rural communities.
Locally Grown. Indiana Farmers Markets supports and encourages the consumption of locally grown and marketed produce through farmers markets and food hubs.
Transparent. Indiana Farmers Union encourages and promotes the use of sound environmental agricultural practices and clear labeling of food sources.
Here for You. If you are a family farmer, Indiana Farmers Union is where you belong. Whether you raise corn, beans, grapes, wheat, cattle, fruit or vegetables, farm in the country or in the city, Indiana Farmers Union supports you through education, legislation and cooperation.
For more information, visit the website.