Indiana University Sustainable Food Systems Science group coordinates the Indiana Food Council Network and Sustainable Food Charter for Indiana. We are working to build capacity among food council organizations with technical assistance and training; connecting food councils with state and regional resources and creating network linkages between food councils. Our network keeps us engaged regionally and nationally with other states and institutions also supporting food councils in their areas.
We connect monthly for an online webinar and meeting and record meetings so councils can share relevant information with their members and board members. You do not need to be a member of a food council to join and learn during these meetings!
The Bloomington Food Policy Council launched in May 2011 with a goal of connecting community need with policies to improve and strengthen the food system. Their early goals included assessment, education and advocacy in the food system realm.
MISSION: The Bloomington Food Policy Council exists to increase and preserve access to sustainably produced, locally grown, healthful food for all residents in Monroe and surrounding counties.
LEARN MORE: Visit the BFPC website to learn more about their activites.
HISTORY: The Elkhart County Food Council has its roots in the Elkhart County Foodshed Initiative, a Purdue Extension pilot program in 2012 to promote sustainable food systems.It then evolved into a Food Council model in 2015 and officially launched in 2017.
VISION: Elkhart County will have a thriving and united community-based food system.
MISSION: A collaborative approach facilitating the development of a more sustainable food system that improves food quality & food security for all.
GET INVOLVED! If you would like to find out more about the Elkhart County Food Council, get in touch via email.
In February 2004, Sr. Claire Whalen, OSF (Michaela Farm, Oldenburg, Indiana) and Kathy Cooley, RD (Margaret Mary Health, Batesville, Indiana) started a program called Share the Bounty in 2004. This was a collaboration to provide free produce and cooking classes to low income residents in the Batesville and Brookville area. This was a successful venture and Sr. Claire and Kathy started talking about the value of promoting local food and healthful eating to the whole community. The Food and Growers Association was formed as a project committee of Historic Hoosier Hills in 2006. Early work included educational events for farmers and consumers and their ongoing annual producers’ conferences attract more than 80 people each year.
Early on, they learned that the supply of locally sourced food did not meet the demand. They sought out partnerships and developed programming to tackle this issue, including the Rebuilding Your Local Food System program through Purdue Extension, which helped launch the Southeastern Indiana Farmer Training Program or SIFTI, with funding from Interact for Health, in Ohio. They were selected to receive support from Hillenbrand Industries as part of their One Campaign.
In 2015, after a strategic planning effort, the FGA became a 501c3 nonprofit organization and has continued to offer the region education, networking, and strong support for local farmers and eaters. They have a strong, diverse board of directors with participation from multiple sectors including health care, restaurants, farmers, and community members.
GET INVOLVED! Attend one of the FGA’s monthly potlucks, open to the public. This is an activity they have been hosting for more than eight years! Sign up for their newsletter and attend their annual Winter Conference! Lots of ways to connect with the FGA in southeastern Indiana.
LEARN MORE: Check out the membership page on their website to contribute your time, talent, and funds to an excellent local food organization.
HISTORY: The Gary Food Council was founded in 2017 after the community participated in the Local Foods, Local Places program. They are a 501c3 and have a board of directors responsible for the financial functioning of the group. The Gary Food Council is focused on food access, education and outreach activities and community and economic development.
MISSION: The mission of the Gary Food Council is to deliver sustainable solutions and opportunities for healthy local food access within every Gary neighborhood.
GET INVOLVED! The general body of the food council meets monthly and the board meets bi-weekly. If you would like to be involved, come to a meeting and jump in!
LEARN MORE: Visit their website, email or call to get involved.
HISTORY: The Indy Food Council began as an Americorps VISTA project at Westminster Neighborhood Services in Indianapolis. In 2013, support for the food council migrated to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) with additional support from Purdue Extension and additional Americorps VISTA personnel. They several programs with awarded grant funding but were unable to sustain the funding momentum. In 2014 a healthy food resolution formally created the Indy Food Council, which was signed by City-County Council and Mayor Ballard and the City of Indianapolis remains the host organization for the council.
VISION: A food system that provides everyone access to healthy and nutritious food, enhances ecology, and creates meaningful economic and civic opportunities.
MISSION: The Indy Food Council connects food system stakeholders, catalyzes ideas, and advances initiatives to grow a sustainable food system that improves the health and quality of life for all.
HISTORY: The first Local Food Summit in Fort Wayne offered participants a sign-up sheet with topics of interest and one was to be part of a local food council. Later that summer, Extension Educator Vickie Hadley sent an email to people who signed up inviting them to a first meeting.
MISSION: The Food Council of Northeast Indiana promotes a thriving, healthy, equitable and sustainable food system by connecting stakeholders, generating ideas, and advancing initiatives.
GET INVOLVED! You are invited to attend a monthly meeting at the Allen County Extension Office,
LEARN MORE: The council includes many engaged members of other community organizations that are involved in local food issues like access, education, policy, economic development, etc. who all come together to keep updated on all of the local efforts and how we can support each other and work together to move the local food scene forward.
The Madison County Local Food Network began to organize in May 2018 with citizens concerned with food access. They officially launched in January 2019 at their first Local Food Summit, and quickly established five working groups including consumer education, community gardens, food insecurity, food waste, and food entrepreneurship. They are a 501c3 nonprofit organization and host open monthly meetings on the third Wednesday at 4pm in the Miami Room at the Anderson Public Library.
MISSION: To create a more vibrant community that provides equitable access to affordable and nutritious foods to all Madison County residents.
GET INVOLVED! You can volunteer to glean produce from local farms or get involved in one of the community gardens in the area. A number of the gardens are for sharing, where anyone is welcome to work in the garden, and take home fresh produce. Some gardens have rental plots, some are mixed, and all provide fresh, healthy food during the growing season! See their helpful map to learn where they are located!
LEARN MORE: The MCLFN has a great website, email newsletter, social media presence and has regular events to keep communities engaged in this county-wide effort. They also have a Facebook group page to foster conversation and interaction. Come to a meeting to start meeting with others active in the local food system. They were successful in creating and promoting a healthy food resolution that was approved by the Anderson City Council in 2019.
The Marshall County Food Council began to organize in July 2015, and officially launched their efforts in January 2018. They started as a group of interested citizens looking for a possible use for a shuttered elementary school building in Monterey, IN. Since then, they have pursued ideas, examined their food system data and meet on an as needed basis to form a network of interested citizens. In 2018, they were successful in recovering 6,000 meals from the Culver Academies dining hall that would have otherwise gone to waste. They are also active in the policy realm, weighing in on several pieces of legislation at the state and federal levels. They focus their energy on food access, insecurity, and waste, thorough educational and outreach activities. All of the board members are active in the local food system in Marshall County.
The NWI Food Council began forming as a result of a Local Food Summit in April 2015. A task force formed and spent the next six months gathering information, visiting other councils, and making decisions about how the food council would be structured. In December 2015, the council officially launched and the founding board members were elected to serve their first term. Today, they are a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a robust network of farmers, buyers, organizations engaged in their educational programming, events, networks and technical assistance trainings.
VISION: We envision a local food system where everyone has affordable access to nutritious food that is grown by regional producers using regenerative practices. We work towards collaboration, healthy ecosystems, equity and resiliency for all in NW Indiana.
GET INVOLVED! Check out the calendar of events on their website, it is full of information for farmers, eaters, businesses and anyone in the food system.
The SJC Food Access Council has is run by the St. Joseph County Department of Health and has three core values: 1) Improve access to healthy food for all St. Joseph County residents; 2) Support and expand a local, sustainable food system; and 3) Promote healthy lifestyles associated with poor quality diets.
VISION: ALL St. Joseph County residents have access to healthy food.
MISSION: Facilitate community driven solutions to local food system problems.
The Wayne County Food Council began in 2015 as part of a collaborative research project with Purdue University, “Voices for Food,” studying food choice for those who are food insecure. They officially launched in June 2017 and are structured as a 501c3 nonprofit organization. The WCFC has a 7-15 member board of directors and four are elected to serve as the executive committee, comprised of a chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer.As per their bylaws, the WCFC works to recruit participation from a broad array of audiences, including farmers and growers, emergency food systems, health and wellness, food services, restauranteurs, food manufacturers and distributors, wasted management, schools, groceries, community organizations, faith-based organizations, elected officials, and community members. All members have the ability to participate in decision-making for the council.
VISION: The Wayne County Food Council (WCFC) will work to develop collaborative partnerships and relationships to increase access to quality nutritious food; educate residents about how to better access and use nutritious food; and advocate for policies and systems that strengthen quality and equality in our local food system with the goal of improving lives and the hope of ending hunger in our communities.
MISSION: To equip communities to provide healthy, affordable, and nutritious food so that all Wayne County residents might have access regardless of economic means.
GET INVOLVED! You can join the listserv and receive emails and notifications regarding food council activities. The council meets monthly and you can contact them via email or Facebook.