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What is local food?

We define local food as food that is grown, raised, produced, sold and eaten within the 11 counties of Northeast Indiana.

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There are varying definitions. Some people define local food as food grown with in a state, region or within a specific number of miles of your table. According to the USDA, local food is the direct or intermediated marketing of food to consumers that is produced and distributed in a limited geographic area. The Northeast Indiana Local Food Network defines local food as food grown, raised, produced, sold and eaten within the local food system in the 11 counties of Northeast Indiana. 

The term local food system refers to all of the activities associated with producing, processing, distributing and marketing foods within a specific region. We’d like that system to stretch beyond logistics and geography — to include consumer education and source transparency. When consumers know where their food comes from, they feel more connected to their community, and they can target their purchases to support their local economy. 

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People in our region are rediscovering the delight of eating fresh food, raised nearby. It’s a way of farming and eating that was ordinary to past generations in this place, of course, given our rich soils and deep-rooted agricultural heritage. The Northeast Indiana Local Food Network has undertaken the important work of reminding us that this is an excellent place to grow and eat food—that good food is one of the greatest pleasures of living here. By vitalizing our local food culture, they are making Northeast Indiana a better place to live.

—Zach Hawkins, 6th generation farmer, Hawkins Family Farm (Wabash County) 

photo courtesy Zach Hawkins