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CSA Fair this Saturday!

Love your food fresh and in-season? Trying to find a way to connect with local farmers and producers? Look no further than this year’s CSA Fair! Co-sponsored by the Local Growers’ Guild and the Bloomington Winter Market, the CSA Fair will be held alongside the February 8th Winter Farmers’ Market from 9am-noon at Harmony School (909 E. 2nd St.). Patrons can park for free on the street or at the Atwater Parking Garage. Farms will showcase their CSA and Buying Club options for the coming seasons, offering a wide variety of produce, meat, eggs, bread and flowers. The event is free and open to the public.The CSA Fair provides an opportunity for eaters of local food to talk with producers about their CSA shares, what products are available, how they are grown or raised, prices and sign-up options. You can share contact information to learn more from farmers, or bring your checkbook to subscribe on the
spot! Groups from workplaces and congregations are encouraged to attend, as some farms have delivery options.

A simple process, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way for growers and buyers to work together in order to provide fresh products in a consistent and easily accessible manner. Sometimes called “farm subscriptions,” CSA’s function as consumers purchase a share from a particular farm in advance of planting and harvesting. Once the harvesting season arrives, the consumer receives a portion of the farm’s produce or other products on a consistent basis. This mutually beneficial system provides growers with advance capital to help with the expenses of farming, and supplies consumers with a steady flow of fresh goods, as well as the opportunity to get to know their farmer.

Thanks to Eric Van Scoik for his generosity in sharing his beautiful painting above, with the LGG for the CSA Fair.

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SEED Corps Workshops Assist Farmers with Business Planning

Any new venture can be a daunting prospect. Endless concerns cross the mind, from financials to family impact, difficulty planning to unforeseen challenges. These concerns are no less intimidating when considering taking on the life of a farmer – just ask Tom Mooradian.

A new member to the community, Tom and his wife, Beth, moved to Bloomington nearly 4 years ago. Before moving, Tom had tried to grow a limited garden, but without much luck. He described the experience lightheartedly, saying, “[we] did a horrible job with it, and got discouraged.” Fortunately, that wasn’t the end of the road. “We moved here, and picked up on the vibe that there were resources to help…which inspired us to really give it another go,” he said. The second time around, Tom worked not only with vegetables and fruit, but also began beekeeping.

And so with his second attempt underway, the question for Tom became where to go from there? He began to consider making it a full-time venture. “I have goals of getting more to living off the land, to create my own wealth, and create quality sustainable food,” he said.

But as he began to consider truly taking on the life of a farmer, concerns began to spring forth. Finding start-up capital, searching out available land, potential legal issues, and whether or not the lifestyle would work, were all concerns. “I don’t want to jump into it, and then find out I’ve put in a lot of time and energy getting here, and this is really more than I can handle. Tom said. Luckily, he heard about an opportunity to discuss these concerns.

The Local Growers’ Guild and local business-planning, non-for-profit SEED Corps, worked together to create an 8 week workshop series, in which several aspects of a grower’s life are discussed in detail. The workshops encompass a different topic every week, covering a variety of issues for new farmers.

But ultimately, it wasn’t just the technical information that sold Tom on the SEED Corps sessions. It was also the ability to sit down and have a serious discussion to understand the overall impact of his decision. “I hope to bring my wife Beth along with me to a few of the sessions, to talk on a deep, honest level about what I think our lifestyle would be like. It would definitely be a change for us.

While the workshops provided Tom with an outlet to discuss his interests and concerns, however, it was and continues to be his personal vision that drives him. Tom said thoughtfully, “I’ve had to travel a lot for my job, so I’ve had a lot of time to reflect, sitting in airports and waiting on airplanes where I’m away from my home and my everyday life, and really missing a lot of the things. It’s made me really realize what’s important to me, and that it’s being engaged in my community, setting down roots. And as I thought about…I really do think that planting and growing, and all those things, would be really in line with my values and my career goals.”

Interested in Attending a Workshop?

Fees: $10 per session
Location: Monroe County Public Library meeting room, 6-8:30 pm
Parking: free spaces available in back of the library or meters on the street until 10 pm
Session 6: Managing your risks/insurance and buying/leasing land (Nov 25)
Session 7: Managing cash flow and Crop Planning (Dec 2)
Session 8: Marketing and Selling (Dec 9)

Contact Shari with SEED Corp for more information and to register: rogfid at gmail dot com or 812-219-7521.

We encourage beginning farmers to visit the New England Small Farm Institute website for extensive resources to explore or plan a farm.

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Harvest Dinner Tickets on Sale, Menu Update!

In our newest LGG video, Bob Adkins from The Rail and LGG grower Salem Willard, from Bread & Roses Gardens, invite the community to attend the LGG’s Harvest Dinner on October 24th at Upland Brewery. They discuss participating in our local seasonal food community, the health benefits of local food, and the relationships between farmers/gardeners, chefs, cooks, and eaters.

The Harvest Dinner includes a sumptuous five-course meal, with ingredients donated from local farms and beautifully prepared by local chefs. With this benefit, the Local Growers’ Guild strengthens community bonds by bringing together many parts of our local food system – growers, chefs, and of course, hungry community members. Not only will the five courses consist of an appetizer, salad, soup, entrée and dessert, but also specially chosen beer and wine pairings for each plate, from Bloomington’s Upland Brewery and Oliver Winery.  Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner starts at 6pm. Our chefs and menu for the night includes:

Kale Pesto Pork Rillette from Thomas Dempsey, The Pine Room

Spiced Butternut Squash & Roasted Apple Soup, Jake Fehrenbach, Upland Brewery

Chili and Brown Sugar Roasted WE farm Chicken, Cheddar Fingerling and Yukon Potatoes, and Baked Apples, Bob Adkins, The Rail

Mixed Greens Salad With Roasted Beets and Blue Cheese Crouton, dressed with a Green Vinaigrette, Dan Borders, Bloomingfoods Market & Deli

Pumpkin bread pudding with a Teddy Bear Kisses chocolate sauce and caramel sauce, Sasha Divine, No Coast Reserve (yet to be opened restaurant on the east side!)

Thanks to Upland Brewery, Oliver Winery, KRC Catering,St.Thomas Church, and our local chefs and growers for their support!

Eaters may buy tickets online below or at your neighborhood Blooomingfoods store.

Type of Ticket

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Thank You!

We had a beautiful day for Bike to Barns this past Sunday.  Our riders had big smiles when they returned and had a lot of praise ourRenaissance Farm farmers and their work with the land.  A big thanks goes out to all of our growers who took time out of a weather-friendly work day to take our participants on tours of their farms and talk about their growing practices.   We accomplished our goal of introducing our bike riders to Guild members with an event that both celebrates and supports efforts to grow a sustainable local food system.  The Local Growers’ Guild promotes practices that preserve and protect the earth through our workshops, resources, and one on one meetings with growers wishing to diversify their operations.  Proceeds from Bike to Barns will help us reach out to more growers and young farmers to continue these activities.  To learn more about the LGG, browse our website, or contact us to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

As a first time event, we appreciate the support from local businesses and organizations and value their commitment to local food initiatives. Please thank them for their sponsorship of Bike to Barns!

Bloomington Bicycle Club
Oliver Winery
Bikesmiths
Bloomington Community Orchard
IU Office of Sustainability
Farm Bloomington
Nick’s English Hut
Upland Brewery
The Clay Studio
Bloomington Playwright’s Project
Vibe Yoga
Tom Zeta, Logo Design

 

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Registration Open for Bike to Barns!

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN.  CONTINUE TO REGISTRATION PAGE

INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING FOR BIKE TO BARNS?

Fill out our Volunteer Interest Form and we’ll be in touch soon!

January 17, 2013

Local Growers’ Guild Presents Bike to Barns!

The Local Growers’ Guild is hosting Indiana’s first annual Bike to Barns event on Sunday, June 9th. Bike to Barns invites cyclists of all ages and skill levels to bike to farms in Monroe, Owen, and Brown counties during this day-long event. Funds raised will support the Local Growers’ Guild, a cooperative of farmers, retailers, and community members dedicated to strengthening the local food economy in southern Indiana through education, direct support, and market connections.

The ride will start at Binford/Rogers School at 9am.  Check-in opens at 8:15am and riders will be released in waves. Riders can choose from three different routes, a 6 mile “Urban Fruit Route” in the City of Bloomington, a 35 mile “Seed Route” through Brown County, and a 70 mile “Root Route” in Monroe and parts of Owen County.  Participants will meet the growers, have a chance to ask questions about their sustainable farming practices, hang out with farm animals, and learn about local food sources that Southern Indiana has to offer.

Registration is $50 for adults and $15 for children (13 and under).  With registration, all participants receive a free Bike to Barns event t-shirt and the option to purchase a bike jersey. Participants will raise pledges from family and friends to support the Local Growers Guild as well. All participants will benefit from discounts at Nick’s English Hut and Upland Brewing Company, and prizes will be awarded to top fundraisers. A celebration party will be held after completion of the ride, with refreshments and entertainment.

To register or make a pledge for this event, view the routes, and learn more about the event, visit www.localgrowers.org/b2b. If you have any questions about the Bike to Barns event or the Local Growers’ Guild, please contact LGG Manager Megan Hutchison at localgrowers@localgrowers.org. Information about all Local Growers’ Guild activities can be found online at www.localgrowers.org.

We couldn’t have made this happen without our generous sponsors.   Please visit them and thank them for their support of the LGG!

Nick’s English Hut
Upland Brewing Company
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli
Bikesmiths
Farm Bloomington
Vibe Yoga
Cardinal Stage Company
Bloomington Playwright’s Project
The Comedy Attic
Bloomington Clay Studio
Nature’s Crossroads Seed Company
Chomp
Revolution Bike and Bean
Sunny Branch Farm

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