Indiana Uplands Food System

Indiana Uplands Food Network - COVID-19 Webinar Series

Welcome to the virtual launch of the Indiana Uplands Food Network with a multi-part series of webinars tailored to address important food system issues in the time of COVID-19. 

Though social distancing measures have thrown a wrench in the normal operations of school cafeterias, food pantries, farmers' markets and many other direct sales channels, all of these operations remain vital during this time. Check out our Spring webinar series below where we explore different market models, online sales platforms, best practices for in-person operations, emergency food provision strategies, and more. 

Interested in being a part of the Network? Sign up for our mailing list and stay tuned for more online content or even some in-person events this Fall depending on the social distancing measures appropriate at that time. 

Past Webinars

Browse the recordings from our spring webinar series in the video channel below, or explore the descriptions and videos in the text that follows.

Tuesday 9 June 2020, 11am-12pm EST (10-11am CST)

Join us this June for a webinar with Orange County's Lost River Market and Deli in Paoli to hear about some new initiatives they are rolling out this summer to make healthy, local food accessible to community members accross the socioeconomic spectrum. Strategies include a store-pickup CSA, a community box program, and a produce prescription collaboration with local healthcare providers, as well as offering online cooking classes following the Cooking Matters model.

Watch the Recording Here

Tuesday 12 May 2020, 11am-12pm EST (10-11am CST)

This month, we welcomed Josh Gruver, from the Muncie Food Hub Partnership, to talk about the mobile farmers market they have developed to deliver products to partnering neighborhoods and organizations and how they are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. To make healthy and nutritious food more affordable, their market  accepts Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children benefits (WIC), Indiana University Health Bucks, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). They also host an annual Local Food Summit that brings together area residents and organizations interested in sustainable food systems and developing strategies to combat food insecurity. 

Watch the Recording Here

Tuesday 28 April, 11am-12pm EST (10-11am CST)

Kyla Cox Deckard, from IU's Center for Rural Engagement, led us through an overview of social media and other communication strategies to reach customers or other audience bases. We talked about how to communicate new market rules using various communication methods and how to explore the community partners who can help with COVID related messaging for farmers and market shoppers.

Watch the Recording Here

Resources shared with attendees included:

Facebook Business Beginner’s Guide to Ads 

How to Set Up Facebook 

Free design software for social media 

Free email marketing systems 

Tuesday 21 April, 11am-12pm EST (10-11am CST)

This week we discussed best safety practices for Farmers' Markets, whether in-person or online, during this time of concerns around the spread of COVID-19. Michelle Shippy and Kelli Whiting joined us from the Marion County Health Department to share about market restructuring to accommodate social distancing measures. Please see these handouts from Purdue Extension and the Garfield Farmers Market in Indy for information and examples of best practices for opening your market this season.

Watch the Recording Here

Tuesday 14 April, 11am-12pm EST (10-11am CST)

The People’s Market in Bloomington shared their model for an equitable, creative market CSA model they are implementing this season. They discuss farmer, consumer and volunteer safety measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and operate their weekly market. Consumers pre-select and pay for farm goods and pick up on Saturdays in a structured pick up line. Volunteers help with organizing and distributing food. A discussion of the market's equity values and free food box program is part of this webinar as well as informaton on how they are moving their market to the Local Line platform.

Watch the Recording Here

Please note: if you are a food donation resource for your community or a gardener/farmer, the online database, Ample Harvest, is a great way to connect this growing season. Find out who can accept fresh produce and how and when you can donate all that healthy food!

Tuesday 7 April 2020, 11am-12pm EST (10-11am CST)

Jordan van Everdingen presented on Local Line, a web platform for creating virtual farm markets. Your local online marketplace could be up and running by May, where farmers manage their inventory, set prices and tell their stories; and customers can shop from multiple farms with one checkout experience. Our webinar recording is a demonstration of the software and you can visit their website and request a downloadable demo. Local Line has also created a direct to consumer guide for farmers related to the COVID-19 pandemic, to help navigate rapidly shifting markets.

Watch the Recording Here

More About US

Indiana University’s Sustainable Food Systems Science (SFSS) and Center for Rural Engagement (CRE) are teaming up to help increase the economic, environmental, and social well-being of the food system in the Indiana Uplands Region.

Regional and local food system development is an emerging strategy for building employment, social capital, and better health in rural places like Southwest Central Indiana. Local and regional food systems continue to evolve and consumer demand for locally grown food is increasingly tied to community resilience, economic development, and the well-being of community members. Communities across Indiana are working to develop intentional plans for change, including: policy, infrastructure, farmer programs, public health programs, and creative distribution solutions to connect more eaters with food grown from Indiana farms.

Want to stay informed of our collaborative activities? Sign up for our mailing list!

Indiana Uplands Winter Food Conference

In January 2020 we had more than 100 people from our regional food system attend the Indiana Uplands Winter Food Conference in Bedford, IN, to learn, share, and network. A diverse range of people from farmers, food businesses, chefs, food service directors, economic development officers, technical assistance agencies, elected officials, community organizations, health coalitions, farmers markets, food access organizations, students, and more came to the table to be a part of the conversation. The conference was designed to address issues that were raised during the Local Food Local Good community input meetings, held throughout the region in fall of 2019.

Local Food, Local Good

The conference and its preceding listening tour are just a small part of the work that the CRE and SFSS are doing in the region. For information about some of the many things going on, explore the links below:

Indiana Uplands Local Food Local Good Report - find your county in this 48 page document with primary and secondary data collected during our community meetings and from more than 200 survey respondants to learn more about your local food system, the Indiana Uplands as a whole, and some recommendations for regional efforts!

SFSS Regional Initiatives - a summary of Indiana-based research being conducted by members of the Sustainable Food Systems Science group 

CRE Regional Initiatives - learn more about how the Center for Rural Engagement is partnering with community partners to design and implement innovative approaches to enhancing opportunities and addressing the challenges faced by rural Indiana

Senior Food Insecurity Study - this active IU research project is working in Crawford, Orange, Lawrence and Greene county to learn more about the issues our senior community members have accessing food