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Healing the Hoosier Food System

Rebuilding the Food System using proactive policies to save rural communities, leverage institutional buying power, and empower new farmers.

Photo of Fort Wayne Agvocate
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

The Cultivation Lab

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

In development

Website of Legally Registered Entity

In Development

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 10+ years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

The State of Indiana - area of approximately 36,418mi./58,609.08km.

What country is your selected Place located in?

United States of America

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

This is the birthplace of the lead applicant. This location is significant for a number of reasons, as is true of any location. This particular area has a regional history of being a food producing region and center for transportation of goods. In recent years, developments have shifted to address significant health and environmental issues. There are approximately 6.7M people residing in the state. The health, obesity, and infant/maternal mortality rates in this state are among the worst in the country.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Indiana is the Crossroads of America, the Heartland where the Agriculture of the Plains meets the Industry of the East Coast. The locals, Hoosiers, are known for their open friendliness and commitment to a strong work ethic. There are generally four seasons, though recent developments have cast much concern in the farming community. Overall, indiana is a mix of Urban and Rural areas, buffered by peri-urban areas, where the majority of farmland is in jeopardy from encroaching developments.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

6692000

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Environment- Climate change is wreaking havoc, leading to the wettest year on record and no certainty of what's to come next. Diets- Hoosiers are some of the most obese populations in the country. Rates of diabetes and heart disease are far above the national average. Economics- Several decades of commodity crop mono-culture farming has not been kind to the farmers and rural communities of Indiana. Tariffs, property taxes, loans, and interest, a lack of healthcare and rising healthcare costs are painting a grim future for small farms in indiana. Culture- The people here are a hardy, scrappy, type that is used to a hard days labor. Unfortunately the system has gotten so unbalanced that oftentimes the farmer is considered the "least valuable" item on the farm. Technology- New technology has the potential to bring efficiency and documentation controls that will revolutionize the food production system. It is imperative that we make sure that the technology is an assistant to the farmer, not a replacement. Policy-There is a dismal tangle of outdated policies, laced together with corporate protections, that comprises the policies of the state and the 92 counties it is comprised of. It is past time to review and update existing policy and include proactive measures, initiatives, tax incentives, and programs at both the state and municipal level.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Our vision will prioritize creation of a Food Charter for the state that can also be adopted at the local level. Within this document we will lay out the roadmap for the development of the food system over the next generation.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Instead of being a morbidly obese population that exports it's product and imports low quality goods, there will be more widely available nutrient dense foods. Productivity and energy will go up and health issues and associated costs will go down. Rural communities will once again be productive, feeding their friends and neighbors at a cost that allows them a decent standard of living.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

This is in progress.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Email

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Photo of Village Development  Center (VDC)
Team

Thank you so much for the Food Extension Initiative.

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