Clinton County Locally Grown Foods Tour!
Date: Saturday, August 10
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Location: Four small farms in Clinton County
Click on this link for additional information: 2013 Clinton County Locally Grown Foods Tour
Click on this link for a summary of the 2013 tour: 2013 Tour Recap
Locally Grown Foods in Clinton County
Click on this link for a list of Clinton County Local Foods Producers: Clinton County Local Food Producers.pdf
Over the past decade or so, locally grown foods have become increasingly popular. The term "locally grown foods" means just what it says; these are foods grown near where a consumer lives. For the purposes of this page we'll be talking about foods grown in Clinton County, Indiana and available for sale to the public.
Benefits of Buying Local:
- Knowing your food supplier
- Increased choices for food sources
- Supporting the local economy
- Supporting local small businesses and entrepreneurs
Local Food Production Systems:
Locally grown food producers may promote and sell their products in several ways which we'll discuss briefly.
Private Sales: Private sales are a traditional method of producing and marketing locally grown foods. One example of this is what is commonly called "freezer trade." In freezer trade, before a producer begins raising livestock, that animal will already have been sold to a buyer. As an example, a farmer will raise beef animals and sell an animal by the quarter or by the side of beef. The buyer will have committed to buying a portion of that animal and once the animal is harvested, will receive cut and packaged meat products which he or she will then pay for. Private sales such as these have been taking place for a very long time and are one of the oldest locally grown foods systems.
On-farm Sales: In this type of system the grower uses his or her farm operation as the point of sale. Consumers come to the farm to buy products. Examples of these include roadside stands where, for example, a 4-H or FFA member may sell sweet corn. U-pick berry patches, orchards, greenhouses, etc., are examples of on-farm sales.
Markets: There are many types of markets where locally grown foods may be purchased. The most well known of these are farmers markets. We have a farmers market in Frankfort which is open Saturday mornings during the late spring and summer. There are other types of markets which may sell locally grown foods though none of these currently exist in Clinton County. One type of market resembles a local "food mall." Basically, at a central, usually indoor, location, different vendors have local foods available for sale and pay for that space. Sometimes this space is staffed by the local producer and in many of the larger operations a manager oversees the entire market space and the main responsibility of growers is to deliver products to the market.
Food Hubs: Food hubs are a relatively recent development. Whether a food hub is actually part of a locally grown food system will depend on what your definition of local is. A food hub is a central location where growers can bring products that are then aggregated into large enough quanities to be sold as wholesale. Typically these products will be sold on a regional level, within a few hundred miles of where they are produced. Often a food hub will also have a local retail store where products may be purchased.
Auctions: Food auctions are like most other auctions. Growers bring food products to the auction and lots are sold to the highest bidder. Quite often lot sizes are larger than would be appropriate for a single family to buy, particularly when we're talking about produce. Though this is an option if you are interested in canning or otherwise preserving food.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): CSA's are a partnership between producers and consumers where each party shares in the risks and benefits of farming. In this type of operation consumers pledge financial support to the farm in return for some of the products. For example, a farmer may have a very large vegetable garden of several acres. Portions of this garden are then "sold" to consumers who may, for example, "buy" a 10' by 10' plot. Within that plot the farmer grows, using production methods approved by the consumer, the products the consumer wants. As those products are harvested, the consumer receives them, either by picking them up or receiving them at home as they are either delivered or shipped. The consumer pays a set price for this plot of land and also pays the farmer for his or her labor and expertise There are a wide variety of systems under which CSA's operate and I have only mentioned one.
I have chosen to focus on systems where food is grown and sold. There are other sources of locally grown foods such as community gardens. Your home garden is a source of locally grown foods. However as these are not products sold to the public, I haven't included a description of them here. I also have not discussed supermarkets which may set aside a section of their store to sell locally grown foods.