There is nothing more reassuring than seeing baled hay coming out of the field in June. Seeing the large round bales spaced through a field like statues brings me a great sense of peace. It is hard to put it into words. I think it must have something to do with preparedness. Being prepared for the winter months when the grass is snow covered and dormant. Knowing that the livestock have food and thus we have food. This is the same feeling I get when I drive the countryside and pass cows out on pasture or a field full of produce. Unfortunately those sites are rare in Indiana now. On Saturday, I drove the countryside with Mike, our Director of Operations/Butcher, looking for farmers to chat with and spread the word that we are back processing. While we enjoyed talking to the farmers we found we also felt heavy hearts as Mike pointed out all the fields that used to contain livestock. The barns that used to offer housing. The fences of yesteryear have been removed. The tree lines removed so we have more and more flat ground for planting corn and soybeans. While corn and soybeans may bring that sense of reassurance to grain farmers they don’t bring it to me. I believe in the ability to feed our communities. I believe in taking care of those around us. Yet it is harder and harder to find food outside our door unless it has been shipped 1500 miles. My mission is to bring diversified agriculture back to Indiana. I want to see livestock on the ground. I want to see vegetables in some of the fields. We have the ground to do it. We just need the infrastructure and incentives in place. The incentive comes from you wanting good locally grown food and being willing to pay for it. The infrastructure comes from those of us working to develop efficient processing and distribution systems. Together we can bring that peace and reassurance for a secure food system back to Indiana. There is no better part of my job than when I get to go out onto a produce farm or a livestock farm and see those that are wanting to feed the midwest. I am so thankful there are some left. I am so thankful when I see fencing go in or ground be turned for vegetable production. I have hope for the future. Together we can make a difference. Support local agriculture. Support a diversified agricultural system in Indiana. We can make it happen!