August 23, 2010
Spotlight: Go Local.

From Dig-IN to Growing Places Indy to Going Local Week, there’s never been more opportunity to taste food straight from the Hoosier heartland. And with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s (ISDA) Indiana Farmers’ Market, U-pick and Agritourism Online Directory at your disposal, you can check out even more Indiana agri-destinations.

 

Dig-IN

When you sit down to eat a sandwich on your lunch break or have some ice cream after dinner, you probably don’t often think about where your food came from, and if you do it’s probably not beyond remembering your trip to the local grocery store where you bought it.  Dig-IN is trying to change that.  On August 29, Dig-IN seeks to show Hoosiers that there’s more than corn in Indiana and if there’s bread in the nation’s breadbasket, it probably came from right here in the Hoosier state.  On that Sunday, White River State Park will become a gathering place for local growers to feature their products, all of which are grown right here in Indiana.  Dig-IN will feature FREE local food tastings prepared by seventeen of the state’s finest chefs, educational discussion panels, cooking demonstrations, urban gardening exhibits, local chef Q&A sessions, local wine and beer tastings, music throughout the day at Celebration Amphitheater, and much more (including the Food for Thought traveling exhibit).  The event promises to be a feast for the senses!

Gates open at noon and there will be nonstop entertainment, and of course, food, until 6 p.m.  You can learn to make ice cream, visit and purchase produce from the Growing Places Indy Garden, discover Indiana’s top ten healthiest foods, and record your Hoosier food story at the Food for Thought traveling exhibit! To see a full schedule of events, click here.

Tickets for adults are $15 advance sale, $20 day of event and for children $7 advance sale, $12 day of event (children under 3 are free). Tickets can be purchased online, or at participating Marsh Supermarkets.

Going Local

If you were asked to eat one local Indiana food at every meal for a week, where would you start?  Do you think you could do it?  That’s the goal of Going Local Week, a seven day “challenge” to Indiana citizens to eat at least one locally grown or produced food at each meal during the seven-day event which lasts from Sunday, Sept. 5 through Saturday, Sept.r 11. 

If Lt. Governor Becky Skillman can do it, you can do it too! She urges Hoosiers to “visit a local farmers’ market this week and buy local grown produce and meats –- or try Indiana Artisan special creations such as hot sauces, delicious baked goods or Indiana wines.”  Now, that sounds like a delicious challenge!    

Going Local Week was created in 2008 by Indiana local food blogger, Victoria Wesseler, who authors the Going Local website.  She knows her stuff, noting that “a dollar spent locally will multiply itself by 3 to 5 times making the actual economic impact of that one dollar in the local community where it was spent far greater than a buck…with a subtle shift in our food spending habits, we can make a $900 million to $1.5 billion economic impact on Indiana in one year.”  In tough economic times like these, this sounds like an easy and delicious way to help Hoosiers!

Indiana Farmers’ Market, U-Pick and Agritourism Directory

Now that you’re excited to buy local, you need a way to find all the resources out there to help you keep this new and exciting resolution. The ISDA has been working hard to bring you a one-stop-shop for finding local foods and agricultural destinations throughout the state.    

You can find a farmer’s market in your area through a statewide directory, view a fruits and vegetables harvest calendar and even add your own listing to the online resources. 

ISDA created this tool to help Hoosiers, tourists, local foodies and producers locate their desired destination or product with convenient and up-to-date information. The goal is to “help you find what pleases your pallet, sparks your culinary imagination and connect from ‘farm gate to your plate.’”  Click here to start exploring the directory right now.  

Growing Places, Indy

What would you say is the “culture” of food and urban agriculture in Indianapolis?  That’s what Growing Places Indy is dedicated to exploring and cultivating.  Through a variety of programs, this non-profit organization hopes to encourage new farmers in urban agriculture, to train individuals in the skills necessary to operate successful urban farms and gardens and to nurture the growth of the cultural and economic markets that support the local food economy.

If you have been to White River State Park recently, you may have noticed the magnificent Slow Food Garden.  Not only can you take in the expert work and delicious smells, but visitors also have the opportunity to get hands-on experience working in an urban vegetable farm.  And if you can’t get enough of this fresh produce, you can stop by the Wednesday “farm stand” in the garden from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  It will also be sold to downtown area restaurants, so you never know where fresh vegetables from this urban garden will show up next! All proceeds benefit Growing Places Indy, allowing the organization to continue its work throughout the city. 

If the thought of helping to cultivate an urban garden excites you, there are many opportunities to volunteer as well as some interesting events connecting garden visitors with speakers, cultural events and workshops.  To learn more about these opportunities, visit the Get Involved page.  What a great way to put all your new knowledge about local produce to use!

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