More than 65 Fort Wayne farmers, gardeners and community members gathered Tuesday for National Agriculture Day at Liquid Farms, 8631 US 27 S., to recognize and celebrate the contributions of local agriculture.
Holly Challie organized the event through her community garden website Bees and Carrots, which launched in December. The goal of the website is to help spur the growth of urban gardening and local foods grown in northeast Indiana while ensuring that growers and community members have a consistent and constant line of communication.
Agriculture today is different than your grandma's agriculture. Agriculture has taken a turn from corporate farming, or “big ag,” to small-town business with local growers.
Challie has been gardening all her life. Today she serves as an Advanced Master Gardener at the Purdue Extension office on the IPFW campus and studies holistic gardening as therapy.
While looking to keep local momentum going in the “off season,” she thought this winter would be a perfect opportunity to find ways to connect farmers and community members and make sure no food goes to waste.
“Last year, we saw a common problem. Growers have an abundance of food and not enough consumers. Then you have food deserts where you have a lot of hungry people lacking fresh food. This is a connecting spot for everyone in the local food movement to lift the community up together. Then we are all working toward the same goal,” she said.
She said that the public response and the success of the Ag Day event proves that the Fort Wayne food movement no longer works in silos of separation.
What started as a winter project for a cabin-fevered gardener has now turned into a resource for the local Fort Wayne food moment.