Board President Anne Massie and Vice President Virginia Pleasant attended Purdue University's first ever Land Use Summit. The day provided lots of opportunity for networking and we were happy to run into fellow local food advocates Stephanie Henry (Northeast Indiana Food Council) and Liz Brownlee (Hoosier Young Farmers and Indiana Land Stewardship Council). Municipal planners and non-profits had the opportunity to learn about the importance of proactive planning for food and ag inclusion
Board member and Value Chain Coordinator Virginia Pleasant was a member of the Indiana cohort that recently attended the Power of Procurement Summit in Chicago. This invitation-only event brought together producers, buyers, and experts in food system equity to explore how we can support and strengthen our local and regional food systems through the values-based procurement. The event was generously hosted by the Kellogg Foundation and the Center for Good Food Purchasing
The LaPorte County Master Gardeners invited the NWI Food Council to join a panel discussion on local food at their first session of their Brown Bag Series. It was their largest turn out for a Brown Bag Series presentation with a few dozen in attendance, demonstrating strong community interest in the topic of local and sustainable food. Dominique Edwards, board member with the NWI Food Council and food access expert, had the opportunity to speak about the council’s work and did a deep dive into the basic knowledge around food systems on a local and regional level. The conversation was enhanced as the panel and audience spoke about food insecurity, food access, food deserts, and food justice. Dominique shared her graduate research on Gary's food deserts and the current situation of food insecurity data in LaPorte County. The series wrapped with a discussion on ways to combat local food system disparities.
Dominique was joined on the panel by Jason from the Pax Center, Damien Appel from Native Roots Farm, and Catherine Mrozinski-Langford from the LaPorte Farmer's Market. We were honored to be a part of this panel!
The NWI Food Council volunteers for County Line Orchard’s “Farm to Table” each year to assist chefs with sourcing local ingredients from farms within our region. Our team also spends the evening helping chefs hand out tastings to patrons and working the impressive local cheese, apple and cracker station. It’s a wonderful evening with around 500 guests looking to sample the flavors of the season and the region!
Featured 2018 Farms:
Birky Family Farms - Kouts, IN
Gotham Greens - Chicago, IL
Howe Farms - Crown Point, IN
Kniman Rooster Ranch - Wheatfield, IN
Perkins Good Earth Farm - DeMotte, IN
Grounded Earth Farm - Crown Point, IN
Crystal Springs Creamery - Osceola, IN
Maple Leaf Farms - Leesburg, IN
Traders Point Creamery - Zionsville, IN
Gunthorp Farms - Lagrange, IN
Fairstream Farms - North Judson, IN
Kajers Greens - North Judson, IN
Acorn Acres Farm - Kouts, IN
County Line Orchard - Hobart, IN
photos ©2017 Sarah Highlen
Thank you to the Blueberry Growers of Indiana for inviting us to join their group for a tour at Johnson's Farm Produce!
The Johnson family has been growing food for the region for 75 years! How cool is that? It all started in 1940, when Ethel Johnson began selling extra tomatoes from her garden. Soon, Ethel, her husband Clark, and their son Rod saw the little business grow, and converted an old barn to use as a market. Unlike many farmstands, Johnson's still grows almost everything they sell — a true local food tradition in Northwest Indiana! 🍓
You'll even find farm-to-table baked goods next door at Marilyn's Bakery, launched in 1986 by Marilyn (Johnson) Pearson. They prepare fresh food and baked goods daily, including strawberry whipped pies made with strawberries harvested fresh from Johnson's.
Our team had the opportunity to volunteer at County Line Orchard's Farm To Table dinner this weekend. What a wonderful event celebrating local food, and a wonderful opportunity for us — the Orchard will host our FED event in a few months in exchange for our volunteer work.
The event was founded in 2011 by Ryan Richardson, owner of County Line Orchard, and Anne McShane-Massie, who is now Board Secretary for NWI Food Council. Anne continues to source all the local food for the event, which sets an important example for other other farm-to-table events: supporting local producers by purchasing their ingredients at a fair price.
We were pleased to facilitate the local ingredient sourcing for Sunday Supper with Farms, Forks & Foodies at Lubeznik Center for the Arts on Sunday! (And by "we", we mean our Anne — thank you, Anne!) This delicious and beautiful evening featured ingredients from Acorn Acres Farm, Garwood Orchards, Gunthorp Farms, L E Garden, Native Roots Farm, Steckler Grassfed, plus foraged mushrooms via CoThrive Timebank, all prepared by Chef Barry Smith and his team from Shoreline Brewery. After dinner, we were treated to discussion with David Hoppe (author of Food for Thought: An Indiana Harvest), Joe Vuskovich of Yats, and Greg Gunthorp of Gunthorp Farms.
We'd love to keep helping with farm-to-table events, as our schedule allows. If you need local food sourcing or you're a local farmer/food producer and we don't know each other yet, please get in touch!