The Northwest Indiana Local Food Study was commissioned by the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission as part of a broader effort to:
- Convene a working group of local stakeholders to guide the development of a food systems element of the CRP;
- Incorporate the local food systems element into the CRP;
- Generate more interest and awareness in Northwestern Indiana of the value of local food production and the importance of retaining farmland;
- Form working groups to advance local food implementation strategies;
- Conduct a needs analysis and food system profile for the region to educate the working groups and others.
Like many of our neighbors in the Midwest, our agricultural landscape is diminishing due to development pressures. What agricultural land remains is dominated by the growing of commodity crops like corn and soy. Our farmers are aging and their numbers are shrinking. And, our farms are growing increasingly larger, while the total number of farms decline. Like many places throughout the country, our region also has seen an increase in interest in local foods. Throughout our one‐and‐a‐half year study, energized local food devotees emerged from every sector of the local food system, from Farmers to chefs to waste management professionals to individual activists. The following profile of our region indicates that there is capacity to develop a burgeoning local food system in Northwest Indiana.
This study profiles the five sectors of the local food system in Northwestern Indiana. Starting with Production, we look in turn at Processing, Distribution, Consumption, and Waste & Reuse throughout the region. In addition, seven regional food system issues are discussed in sections devoted to each topic.