INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Dozens of Hoosier farmers and businesses are taking over Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis Friday to celebrate two years of the state-sponsored Indiana Grown initiative.
Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday, the Monumental Marketplace will offer Indiana Grown members an opportunity to showcase their products, meet the consumers and encourage people to make a choice to shop local.
Indiana Grown was started by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) as a way educate consumers on which products are farmed, produced and made in Indiana, and help the individual businesses get their products into more stores.
“We heard from a lot of people that they wanted to get access to retailers,” said Ted McKinney, Director of ISDA, “so we served as a conduit where we brought a lot of people together. We aggregated if you will, and helped deliver a lot of potential suppliers to those retailers and they were ready for it.”
McKinney said when the ISDA started the initiative they wanted to keep the brand and logo simple and easy to understand and they came up with “Indiana Grown.”
The ISDA reports that Hoosiers spend roughly $16 Billion on buying food each year, but only 10-percent of their purchases are sourced locally. The concerted and concentrated effort by Indiana Grown seeks to promote and identify which items are made, produced and grown in the state so consumers have the option to choose a local product.
“A lot of grocery stores who, maybe before didn’t incorporate as many local products into their offerings and into what they’re featuring, I think that’s changed,” said Sarah Shadday, Marketing Director for Indiana Grown member company, Mallow Run Winery.
The Monumental Marketplace featured nearly 100 vendors and members of Indiana Grown. While the market celebrates two years, the organization is hoping to host similar events to continue promoting its members in the future.