~is a community economic development project to organize farmers and food workers and develop a local food aggregation, processing and distribution system for local consumption in new and established markets, while creating jobs and job training for new food workers.
The people of Northeast Indiana can feed ourselves and prosper~
A local food system diverts money from being leaked out of the local economy and captures it for regional farms and businesses, while providing food security, local resource conservation, entrepreneurship, a mutually responsive local market and community among producers, processors, retail and restaurant buyers, institutional buyers, health advocates, training programs, certifying and research educational institutions, government and non-government organizations, and consumers.
All of Northeast Indiana will experience an improved quality of life as we commit to principles of cooperation, invest in the infrastructure of a local food value chain, create prosperous career paths and local business ownership, and provide access to the highest quality food for the whole community.~
Workforce Development, Entrepreneurship and Local Food Systems
If we are to feed ourselves in Northeast Indiana we will need a new generation of farm workers and food workers. Plowshares Project is working with community educational institutions to create fruit and vegetable certification programs.
Infrastructure for local food access and food security will require public investment and cooperation from public and private sectors and should be considered a public utility for the common good.~
Consumer and business buyer education is central to local food system development. Indiana State Department of Agriculture has rolled out the new Indiana Grown branding and press packet materials for use in Buy Local Campaigns across the State. Look for Indiana Grown labels that indicate: 1. 100% Indiana grown and processed, 2. Processed in Indiana and grown outside Indiana, 3. Grown in Indiana and processed outside Indiana.
Producers, processors, distribution workers, buyers, and others will have interests in and will rely on a Local Food Hub in the region. Plowshares will design business models that allow for investment and will serve the interests of those who use the hub, based on world-class cooperative business models.
What is a food hub?
~a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand. ~ USDA
Indiana State Department of Agriculture studies found that lack of distribution infrastructure was the primary barrier to local food access in Indiana.
See Plowshares Cooperative Food Hub page~