Northeast Indiana Local Food Network is among five local food councils and networks across Indiana to receive a development grant from Indiana Grown, a program of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture in partnership with the lieutenant governor’s office.
According to Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler, grant awardees will demonstrate the major goals of Indiana Grown.
“This funding provided by Indiana Grown has the ability to increase market outlets for farmers and create new opportunities for community members to find locally grown food,” Kettler said. “I am looking forward to working with each of these councils to increase food processing, production and supply in their areas.”
Heather Tallman, Indiana Grown Program Director, said this grant program was made possible due to COVID-19 causing the cancellation of many annual Indiana Grown events, which allowed for the redistribution of the program’s funds.
“Working with communities to increase access to the locally grown food market is one of my passions and something the Indiana Grown program does so well,” said Tallman. “I am excited to support these councils in their regional food systems to increase their outreach and growth for years to come.”
Northeast Indiana Local Food Network will receive $24,938 to grow market opportunities for local food producers in Northeast Indiana by enhancing the organization’s capacity to consistently focus work in three key areas:
1) Build relationships between farms and schools across Northeast Indiana through collaboration with Parkview Health and the Northeast Indiana Farm to School Team to create Meet the Farmer promotions and taste test activities of Harvest of the Month produce.
2) Expand regional engagement with small farms, processors and local food businesses across Northeast Indiana to encourage greater involvement in Northeast Indiana Local Food Network events and programs and participation in both the searchable, online Northeast Indiana Local Food Guide, and all the Indiana Grown and Indiana Grown for Schools Resource Guides. Through hiring a Northeast Indiana Local Food Coordinator, the organization will expand its capacity to more fully engage and connect those who serve our local food economy.
3) Educate Northeast Indiana consumers about the value of supporting our local farms and buying locally sourced food and Indiana Grown products by creating a targeted and consistent marketing campaign through social media, and the organization’s e-newsletter and website.
According to Janet Katz, the Founding Director of the Northeast Indiana Local Food Network, the Indiana Grown grant will allow the organization “to expand our work to promote and connect our region’s local food economy. Interest in buying local food and supporting local farms is growing among families, schools and wholesale buyers across our region and we are excited to help expand these new market opportunities for the farmers and producers we serve.”
The new Northeast Indiana Local Food Coordinator will expand regional engagement from farm to table and support growth of our region’s local food economy. This part-time position will strengthen connections between the farms, markets, artisan food producers, restaurants, organizations and consumers that grow, produce, buy, sell, prepare, serve and support local food in the 11 county Northeast Indiana region. Resumes are being accepted through April 25, 2021. To learn more about this exciting new opportunity, visit www.neifood.org