The USDA has awarded the Partners IN Food, led by the Northwest Indiana Food Council a $1.24 million dollar grant to strengthen Indiana’s food supply chain. This investment will prioritize local networks and people power for regional food system innovation. Partners IN Food expands the Indiana Value Chain Network and creates a statewide nonprofit organization to sustain the market-based, farmer-focused efforts. This long-term transformation and expansion of food networks throughout Indiana will build a thriving food system that serves all Hoosiers, rooted in equity and collective impact.
For more information, or to get your organization involved, please reach out to Jodee Smith at the IU Food Institute.
The grant supports new and ongoing initiatives including:
- A NEW STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION - We are launching Partners IN Food and Farming (PIFF), a statewide organization connecting the farming community, with eaters, and food advocates. This network of networks will create stronger collaborations and long-term partnerships between the public, private and nonprofit sectors in the Indiana food system.
- EXPANDED VALUE CHAIN NETWORK - The Indiana Value Chain Network of professionals increases sales and market opportunities for farmers and food businesses. The network creates long-term market connections and trust-based relationships for deep-rooted commitment to Indiana grown food. We plan to double the number of organizations and businesses participating in the network.
- BIPOC VALUE CHAIN COORDINATOR -This professional will work statewide with a full-time focus on building relationships and trust to support food grown, distributed and purchased by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) -owned businesses and to understand the needs of socially disadvantaged groups in Indiana.
- BUYER BOARD COMMITTED TO INDIANA FARMERS - The buyer board engages institutional buyers, chefs, retailers and distributors to creatively address the challenges of buying and preparing local food and to contribute to developing economic opportunities for Indiana farmers and food businesses.
- MEASURING PROGRESS THROUGH EQUITY - Equity metrics will be developed to measure diversity, equity, and inclusion along food value chains, from who is involved in decision-making around food policy and programming, to who benefits from the outcomes of food system developments across Indiana communities.
- COMMUNITY FOOD WORKSHOPS - The Indiana Dept. of Health will lead collaborative community-based food workshops to support community leaders with localized strategies and network development to improve resiliency and equity within their community food system.
- TRAUMA INFORMED LEARNING COLLABORATIVES - The Indiana Dept. of Health will assemble food security professionals across the state to reframe conversations with the public to recognize stress and adversity, promote resilience and reduce shame and stigma across food security sectors