Indiana Grown Initiative Launches Today
Today the Indiana Grown initiative launched to a crowd of media, farmers, producers, artisans, members of local government and consumers at the sprawling Watermans Family Farm & Market on the Indianapolis east side. Introducing the newly launched program were Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) Director Ted McKinney, Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann and State Representative Matt Lehman.
Indiana Grown was created to elevate the level of knowledge and availability of Indiana farmed, produced, packaged and grown foods in the state. There are currently over 60,000 farms of all size in Indiana and most of the food grown and produced in the state doesn’t stay within it’s borders. Of the over 16 billion dollars spent a year on food, a surprisingly small 10% is sourced form within Indiana. Indiana Grown hopes to change that.
Indiana Grown will serve as a hub for all farmers, growers and producers- no matter the size. Getting more goods into the hands of Hoosier consumers by making more of it available through grocery stores like Kroger, Marsh and Walmart. There will be an identifying label on products with many found on special kiosks in stores. There is also an app in the works that consumers can use to scan the bar code and see exactly where that product came from.
In addition to the leadership of Director McKinney, Lt Gov Ellspermann and Rep Lehman, Indiana Grown also has an executive board comprised of leaders in agriculture and production in the state and led by Indiana Grown project manager David King:
Chris Baggott, Margaret Davidson, Jodee Ellett, Pete Eshelman, Cheryl Carter Jones, Chelsea Marburger, Jeanette Merritt, Mark Straw, Debbie Trocha, Bob White, Sara Yelich.
Last month Indiana Grown held it’s first showcase of products for Kroger. Participants who were enrolled (currently there are over 150) were given a chance to sample their products and share with members of the purchasing and executive teams of Kroger. This was a successful first event and I was excited to be a part of it. I cooked a lunch made up entirely of Indiana foods for the visiting Kroger executives as well as for all of the attendees.
But what does all of this mean for the Indiana consumer?
In my opinion, Indiana Grown will help consumers make more choices that keep their money closer to home. With the ‘support local, eat local’ movement staying strong- we are all looking for ways to show our support. But for many Hoosier families, taking the time to find local producers is out of reach. Many people are doing the best they can with what they have. Now, through Indiana Grown, more Indiana food will stay in Indiana. This food, from producers large and small, will be at the larger grocery stores we may already be a patron of. Easy to find, purchase and enjoy.
“Indiana needs more people buying more Indiana produced foods” David King project manager of Indiana Grown. “It’s not good when over 90% of the food we eat comes form another state”. Source WFIU
The “Made in Indiana” mindset is not a new one, but Indiana Grown has risen up from a few fits and starts. Slow funding and lack of participation hampered a strong takeoff in previous years. Not the case now. The enthusiasm is palpable. Whereas you could already find Indiana grown and produced foods in big box groceries in Indiana (Dean’s, Prairie Farms, Indiana wine/beer/certain distilled spirits, beans, tomatoes, baking powders, sugar, duck, cheeses, private label dairy, eggs, some meats/Indiana Packers, select produce) now there is a purposeful stocking of store shelves. This means more Indiana food in our homes and more Indiana food staying in our state and more money staying in our state. This is a win all around.
Needless to say I am excited about Indiana Grown. Many of you who have followed me since the beginning have shared that you want more transparency in where your food comes from and more security in your grocery shopping experience. The last several years I have shared all of the information that I receive to help you feel better about your food purchases whether they are at your local market or the large grocery in your town. I truly believe that through Indiana Grown, you will get information you need to make informed choices and to support the hardworking Indiana farmers and producers that have already been making the food we all consume. Now it will just be easier to find.
Visit IndianaGrown.org to sign up!
Follow @Indiana_Grown on Twitter and Instagram.