It’s Time to Grow Our Local Food Community
Ten years ago, my son asked if we could buy a local, pasture-raised turkey for Thanksgiving. Always a Butterball shopper, I had no idea where to begin to look for such a bird or why it mattered. But wanting to be a supportive mom, I set out across Northeast Indiana in search of a locally raised turkey.
After numerous false leads, I heard about Hawkins Family Farm in North Manchester and soon found myself driving west on a country road toward their farm. On that very chilly November morning, I found Jeff Hawkins cheerfully chatting with folks who’d lined up to buy his fresh, pasture-raised birds for their holiday tables. For some in line, this was a yearly tradition. For others like me, it was a new experience to meet the farmer and see the land where my food was produced.
Our turkey tasted especially good that year. Feeling more connected to my food, I gave thanks for this special meal with a new found gratitude for all those that had worked to bring it to our table.
Thus, I became a locavore: a person who makes an effort to eat food that is grown, raised, or produced locally.
Many of you reading this inaugural blogpost of the new Northeast Indiana Local Food Network are also locavores – or you try to be. It’s not always easy to eat locally in Northeast Indiana. Even though our region has an abundance of scenic farmland, it’s surprising to learn that only a small fraction of our land is used to produce food for us to eat.
“Indiana is the 10th largest farm state in the U.S., yet 90% of the food Indiana residents eat is sourced outside of the state. In particular, 98% of the fruits and vegetables Hoosiers eat were imported into Indiana.” – Ken Meter, (Crossroads Resource Center), Hoosier Farmer? Emergent Food Systems in Indiana (commissioned by IN State Dept. of Health), 2012.
We’re here to help. We’re launching the Northeast Indiana Local Food Network to grow the local food marketplace across our region. We want to make it easier for you to find locally grown and prepared products.
We’re also here to support and celebrate our local food producers and entrepreneurs. By highlighting businesses in our Local Food Guide and hosting events to help build relationships between producers, eaters, restaurants, grocers, healthcare institutions, schools, and regional investors, we can make it easier for local food entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
Simply put - we’re here to rouse the demand and the supply of food that flows from our land to our tables. To learn more about our mission, click here.
In coming weeks, we’ll be sharing our plans for exciting upcoming events, fun and delicious ways for you get involved, and projects where you can share your love of local food and help grow our local food community.
Welcome to the Northeast Indiana Local Food Network!
Come eat with us! Learn with us! Collaborate with us! Celebrate with us! #OurLandOurTables
Written by: Janet Katz
Director, Northeast Indiana Local Food Network