An Indiana Local Food Wrap-Up

There's so much going on in local food in Indiana and beyond that it's hard to know where to focus our attention. With the continued closing of grocery stores in critical areas of the city, there's a great deal of discussion and energy being put toward food security efforts around Indianapolis. I spoke with the executive director of a community development corporation late last week about a small urban farm the organization is hoping to install in a neighborhood in great need. (They're looking for help with this, if you're interested!) The Kheprw Institute is also hosting a ton of events coming up surrounding healthy food access. 

Here are links to events to look into: 

Indy Food Crisis

The People’s Food Summit

Beyond that, I serve as a board member for Hoosier Harvest Market, the state's only farmer-owned online food hub that offers fresh, locally grown food delivered to pick-up sites throughout Indiana. At our most recent board meeting and during recent visits to Carthage Cooperative Marketplace, I heard about the new products coming out of Anna and Keith Welch's organic mill. Organic popping corn, popcorn polenta, popcorn meal, whole oat berries, rolled oats, and non-GMO red fife wheat flower, red fife wheat bran, and red fife wheat berries are all being packaged for retail. I'm really excited to get my hands on these locally grown products. 

My husband, Randy, and I have been watching a few food documentaries lately. We've seen all of the usual suspects, Food Inc., Food Matters, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, etc., but I'd been putting off watching Cowspiracy. I'd assumed it would show a great deal of footage from confined animal feeding operations, which I didn't really want to see. I assumed wrong. What we actually saw was an enlightening documentary on the impact animal agriculture has on our environment. We also recently watched PlantPure Nation, and because of these two documentaries, we're embracing plant-based eating with a little more zeal. We're also drinking a lot of smoothies. 

Beyond our eating habits, I'm incredibly busy with projects for Dugger Family Farm, Indiana Farmers Union, and Purdue Extension. Randy and I spend most of our days and evenings on our farm. Today, we're heading out to Shares, Inc. to re-establish and plant a raised bed garden there.

1. Later in the month, we should hear back about our application to attend the Beginning Farmer Institute through the National Farmers Union. Members of Indiana Farmers Union enjoy discounts on lots of stuff, like Hastings Mutual Insurance, Johnny's Seeds, Burpee Seeds, Sow True SeedsSmall Farm Central services, Rosie's Work Wear, and more, but the educational opportunities are what get me. The Beginning Farmer Institute sends new and beginning farmers around the country to attend classes, visit successful farms, and network with other farmers. That's a great opportunity to learn with nearly 100 percent of expenses paid by the National Farmers Union. 

2. We'll be setting up a small micro greens operation here on the farm soon. Randy's building a greenhouse, and we have the trays, lights, seeds, and soil to get started on a partnership project with the Indiana Farmers Union. I'll talk more about that when it's up and running. 

3. I've joined Indiana's Agricultural Advisory Council for The Humane Society of the United States, and I'm in good company. Pete Eshelman from Joseph Decuis, Greg Gunthorp from Gunthorp Farms, and James Benham from Indiana Farmers Union are also seated on the council. I'm excited to see what good we can do with this group. 

4. I'm organizing a few networking events at local restaurants for farmers, local food advocates, and growers. For starters, I have my eye on SoupHerb in Greenfield, Riverfront Tap Room in Shelbyville, and farmBloomington in Bloomington as event host sites. I'm also hoping Indiana Farmers Union can co-sponsor a hemp event with the Indiana Hemp Industries Association that will take place the first week of June (Hemp History Week).

5. Lastly, I'm on the planning committee for the Indiana Local Food Summit, hosted by Purdue Extension's Local Food Program, which will take place later this year. Lots of opportunities for local food advocates and healthy food access groups to meet and network there. 

Stay tuned for details on all of this. In the meantime, stop by Dugger Family Farm for some pie, coffee, and quality time with the goats. If you're interested in being involved in some of these projects and opportunities, I'd love to hear about it. --Sherri