In 2013 I tagged along with my mother to attend the inaugural Indiana Small Farm Conference. My memory of the event is sparse. I recall getting my favorite travel mug ever at the event (which I’ve unfortunately since lost), and I recall great food and coffee (courtesy of the Juniper Spoon).
Had I been more aware of the disconnect between the average American and their food, the conference would’ve stood out in my memory for far more substantial reasons. A group of Indiana small farmers were brought together by a major institution, Purdue University, to share ideas and work to bring local food to the Indiana consumer. It was a recognition of problems present in our food system, and an attempt at bringing people together to solve them. It’s a mission we’ve made central to our operations here at This Old Farm.
Supporting the Indiana small farm is essential to the development of a strong local food network in the state. This support must go beyond that provided by the customers dollar (though this is of course necessary) to providing opportunities for farmers to learn from one another’s struggles, in hopes of avoiding their mistakes. We work to provide these sorts of opportunities to our farmers, but we are not yet anywhere near the scale on which Purdue is capable of offering them.
This Old Farm will have several representatives throughout the duration of the 2018 Indiana Small Farm Conference. We hope both to help farmers we meet there by providing an avenue through which they can have their product processed, as well as farmers who can’t make it by learning and passing on helpful information. I hope to learn about small farm finances, to see more faces of Indiana local agriculture, and to find another one of those great travel mugs! Whatever it is we bring away from this conference, we’ll do our best to pass it on to you.