History

The Local Growers Guild began in 2004 as a conversation among friends and farmers who shared a vision for a healthy local foods economy. Two years later the Local Growers Guild (LGG) established itself as an agricultural cooperative. Since that time, we have accomplished a great deal, and our vision remains strong. We hope to inspire others to support local foods, wherever they live, cultivating the positive community connections that can preserve the ecology of both rural and urban small farm operations.

Highlights in the history of the LGG:

2004   

  • A group of individuals began meeting to brainstorm ways to promote local food. The group developed the concept of the Local Growers Guild, creating a vision for “Supporting, connecting and educating local growers, businesses, consumers, community, and the Earth.”

2005  

  • Developed a Buy Local campaign and a Winter Education Series, as well as several Garden Gathering farm projects.

  • Bloomingfoods Market and Deli hosted a day-long workshop connecting growers with retailers

  • Bloomington Cooperative Services/Bloomingfoods provided seed money to the LGG from equity received from the Blooming Prairie Foundation, dedicated by the BCS board to support local foods.

2006

  • Received a matching grant from the Indiana Cooperative Development Center and drew up articles of incorporation to become an agricultural cooperative.

  • Assumed management of the Bloomington Winter Farmers Market (BWFM), founded with support from Slow Food Bloomington.

  • Awarded funds to develop an incubator kitchen and hired our first part-time Guild Manager and also a Winter Market Master.

2007

  • Published our first Local Growers Guide, a guide to local food in southern and central Indiana, containing information about member farms, farmers’ markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, and businesses that sell, serve, and support local foods.

2008 

  • Expanded our board of directors from seven to nine, to include retailer and community representatives. Launched our e-newsletter, supplying updates about local foods events, conferences and meetings. The e-newsletter also includes a classifieds section.

  • Received a $16,800 ISDA grant to study the feasibility of creating a centralized storage and distribution warehouse for locally grown food.

  • Partnered with the Indiana Holistic Health Network (IHHN) to implement its first annual Harvest Dinner, in conjunction with the Simply Living Fair.

2009 

  • Developed an Apprenticeship Program that would support grower members in developing the tools necessary to host apprentices on farms while offering a streamlined application system for those interested in apprenticing.

  • Awarded an ISDA Market Promotion and Distribution grant to support the Community Kitchen of Monroe County’s Backpack Buddies Program. Bi-weekly throughout 2010, LGG producers supplied locally grown and produced food along with educational newsletters to selected low-income elementary students participating in the program. Nine producers and two farmers’ markets contributed product to over 1,100 backpacks serving children and families in need.

2010

  • Began meeting with farmers and leaders in the food and agriculture movement to develop the Indiana New Farm School, a forward-looking, collaborative model for regional food security.

  • Marked LGG’s first year of a community-wide Going Local Week campaign in collaboration with Local First Indiana, Bloomington Independent Restaurant Association and www.goinglocal-info.com. Eight days of events supporting local farmers, restaurants, and businesses kicked off with an LGG gallery opening at Monroe County History Center and continued with restaurant dinner specials, film screenings, performance fundraisers, and the Going Local Challenge.

  • Bloomington Winter Farmers’ Market kicked off its season in December, following the final November Saturday of the Bloomington Community Farmers Market.

2011

  • Started a bulk order program for amendments, cover crops, and chicken feed.

2012.

  • Piloted LGG on the Farm to promote LGG members and provide useful information on different farm topics.

  • Purdue-Extension and LGG collaborate on Farming Roundtable discussions with growers and community members.

2013 

  • Began offering local drink beverages to participants as they arrived on the farm at the Indiana Farm Tours.

  • Partnered with SEED Corp to provide education workshops to farmers.

2014 

  • Asked to partner in two grants submissions:  1) previous board member James Farmer requested our participation in a grant to seek solutions to getting nutritious, quality locally-grown food on the tables of lower income households and 2) Purdue asked us to serve as a subcontractor in a grant that would target beginning farmers and ranchers. Both grants were awarded later in the year.

  • Board of Directors was expanded to ten

  • Expanded our reach from '

2015 

  • The Winter Guild Gathering was resurrected and was very successful.  

  • A new website and Ask a Farmer were launched as part of the Beginning Farmer Rancher grant.  Premiering five farm tours throughout the State in collaboration with Purdue University.

  • A Fall Bulk Order for cover crops only will be offered.

For history in the making, please visit the calendar page.  More previous history can be found on archives page.

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