Indiana Uplands Food Network

Working together to build a stronger local food system

Through a partnership with Indiana University's Food and Agrarian Systems we are creating pathways 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.

To connect more consumers with food grown from Indiana farms, communities across Indiana are working to develop intentional plans for change, including:

  • policy
  • infrastructure
  • farmer programs
  • public health programs
  • creative distribution solutions

Stay up to date with future events and webinars, and connect with other food system stakeholders in the region.

Explore past webinar topics

2021-22 Webinar Series

Liz Brownlee from Partners IN Food and Farming leads a discussion with food councils on the type of support they need from statewide efforts. Food councils noted that they are already supporting farmers and working toward more equitable food systems and network development. Food Councils are interested in regional gatherings as well as a statewide in-person meetings for technical assistance or food system 101 and 201 tracks for learning and sharing. Food councils need more support for advocacy strategies and equitable food system development and want to see more government agency and buyer support for food councils and farmers.

Naima Gardner-Rice from the Indiana Department of Health dives into the food charter development history and plan for Indiana and the Trauma Informed Learning Collaboratives and Community Food System workshops evolving over the next three years as part of the Regional Food Systems Partnership Grant: PartnersIN Food. Recording May 10, 2022.

Anne Massie and Virginia Pleasant from the NWI Food Council deliver why a regional approach for your food council can be advantageous. Recorded 4.12.22. Watch the recording. 

Pete Huff, co-Director of the Wallace Center and IU O’Neill School alum, shared about the Pasture Project work in the Mississippi watershed, including the Blue River watershed in Indiana. Learn more about how regenerative or adaptive grazing and grass-fed beef production can be a part of sustainable land and food solutions by checking out the recording of this webinar. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 Watch the recording

Sarah Wilson of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana lead a discussion around how limited access to nutritious foods and poor health outcomes intersect and how healthcare professionals can play a role in effective intervention in both spaces. Wilson, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Nutrition Manager at Gleaners, helps run their Food is Medicine project, a collaboration with Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis. She also leads monthly seminars for healthcare professionals and students on the topic of food as medicine and how they can use their positions to put that concept into practice. Learn more about Gleaners' Food is Medicine Project in this video, and visit the Gleaners' Nutrition Hub for a wealth of downloadable and online resources relating to food and health.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 - Watch the webinar recording

Slides from the presentation

Community Compass™ is a free, quick, and easy way to help people find food assistance in their community. Available as a mobile app, website, and texting service, it is now live in Marion County and surrounding counties, and is soon to be launched statewide! Join us for a presentation by Alexandra Sindorf and Thomas Lageveen of Indy Hunger Network to learn more about what Community Compass is, how it works, and how you can help it be successful in your community.

Tuesday 21 September 2021 - Hear the webinar recording

2020-21 Webinar Series

Leveraging Capital to Expand Your Reach - an exploration of the funding landscape and primer on why "not all debt is bad debt."  Amandula Anderson, Director of Real Estate Solutions at IFF
  • Assessing opportunities and access to capital
  • Understanding asset-based community development
  • Getting to know the Five Cs of Credit
  • Recognizing the times and strategies for taking calculated risks
  • Examples of non-profits leveraging loans for long-term success

Watch the recording here. 

Through the Looking Glass of Anti-Racism: an interactive workshop using the Decolonizing Wealth Toolkit to help us reimagine our food system - Lauren McCallister

Watch the recording here. 

James Farmer from Indiana University will present on his research with Indiana Christmas tree growers and consumers, exploring the challenges of an increasingly competitive marketplace as well as the surprising opportunity it presents for local farmers to add Christmas trees as a low maintenance, high value crop to their operations. You can explore the reports generated from this research on the SFSS website​.

Watch the Recording Here

Karen Mitchell from Purdue University presents about her work with Grow Local, an organization in Lafayette, IN dedicated to strengthening communities and enhancing quality of life through establishing and supporting community-shared gardens. Using cornerstone institutions such as faith-based organizations, social service centers, and others as locations for the gardens helps the program thrive. Watch this short introduction video to learn more! 

Watch the Recording Here

Carrie Carson from ACEnet in Athens, OH presented about a number of local initiatives addressing access to healthy, local, and affordable food in rural, Southeastern Ohio. Topics covered include Country Fresh Stops, a program working with businesses such as corner stores, gas stations, and roadside markets or “pop-up” markets in rural communities to source fresh products and offer them on a consistent basis, as well as the newly launched Veggie Van, Buying Club, and Donation Station projects.

Watch the Recording Here

We heard from Orange County's Lost River Market and Deli in Paoli about some new initiatives they rolled 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

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

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!

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