FarmHop was an absolute joy to plan and to experience. The NWI Food Council designed the FarmHop to connect consumers with the amazing work taking place every day on the Northwest Indiana farms that grow our food. The goal was to have consumers gain a new appreciation for agriculture in Northwest Indiana, and the benefits of buying locally grown food, whether they buy produce from the local Farmer’s Market or grocery store, dine at local eateries, buy ethanol gas or plant gardens for pollinators. Over 100 community members came out on September 23rd, 2017 to participate in one of four unique tours:
Gary – Tour 1: Guests toured thriving urban farms with unique solutions for community food access, a garden for the visually impaired, a school’s vibrant and diverse farm and more. Stops included Blind Social Center, Eagles Nest Farm (Thea Bowman Academy), Jay-One’s Grow Space, Peace & Garden Farms and Stewart House Urban Farm and Gardens.
Valparaiso – Tour 2: Attendees explored a biodynamic hop farm, heritage breed animals, a family whose children manage the egg laying operation, and an interesting approach to commercial agriculture that sells nearly all of its products locally. Farms included Howe Farms, K & C Bucher Farms, and Three Guys and Some Chicks.
LaPorte – Tour 3: FarmHoppers visited the historic Chellberg Farms, a public learning farm; Discovery Charter School where students raise and tend bees; a church that created the Jackson Street Community Garden, a food-providing organization to serve the hungry, and Rainfield Farm – an organic Community Supported Agriculture farm that grows a variety of vegetables, flowers and herbs in addition to hens for eggs.
Crown Point – Tour 4: Guests traveled to a diverse organic vegetable farm with year-round growing solutions from high tunnels to greenhouses, and a new level of sustainability from composting to heritage breed animals to growing feed right on the farm. Visits included Perkins Good Earth Farm and Acorn Acres.
Thank you to all our participating farms and to our incredible sponsors: South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority, Market Wagon, Purdue Extension, Nature's Cupboard, Miller Pizza Company, Olthof Homes, The Market, Piazza Produce, Seven Sons Farm