Legacy's United Farmers, Communities and Urban Food deserts

Progress report for FNC19-1169

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $26,827.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2021
Grant Recipient: Legacy Taste of the Garden LLC
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
john jamerson
Legacy Taste of the Garden LLC
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Project Information

Description of operation:

We operate approximately 4 acres in 3 Indiana locations: Princeton, Evansville, and Indianapolis. We grow in Hoop House, traditional and bucket systems. We've been in operation 5 years. We've been educating about gardening techniques and nutritional eating to urban food deserts and have combined three locations using a different technique at each location to evaluate the difference in yields. 2019 was greatly impacted by weather (rain) and road construction, however the youth in each location greatly improved their desire to learn more about agriculture.

Summary:

Our proposal is to collaborate farmers and their unique practices to educate, produce and provide a system that will increase the availability of whole foods and its use in food deserts. Website utilizing social media to connect communities with local farmers and markets. Farmers teaching farming techniques to create local produce and business opportunities (CSA) in food deserts. Local Chefs will demonstrate food preparation and menus to increase use of whole foods and the importance of its nutritional benefits to curb obesity, lower High blood pressure, and increase mental awareness and overall general health.

Farmers will develop farmers market and CSA programs with local communities with collaboration with Farm group to coordinate refrigerated trailer to deliver available produce from each farmer through use of computer network and social media. Along with training communities/youth with hands-on experience of a local farm business and practices to show growth and business opportunities in agriculture. 

Community partners will include local churches, schools, 4-H, Purdue Master Gardeners and other organizations. Farming techniques include High tunnel, Naturally grown, Organic, and Aquaponics practices.

Project Objectives:
  1. Utilize Website and Social media to connect farmer and community, share information, products and locations.
  2. To provide locally fresh produce and increase it’s consumption in communities designated as food deserts.
  3. To educate communities and youth on different farming techniques that can be utilized in Urban Farms and gardens.
  4. To educate communities and youth of the nutritional values of eating whole food and health benefits.
  5. Encourage the communities and youth to participate in CSA, Diet and Health challenges.

 

1. Utilize Website and Social media to connect farmer and community, share information, products and locations.

We created a website for our group www.legacytasteofthegarden.com ; Facebook (Fb) page and twitter: #legacytasteofthegarden

We utilized these accounts to notify public of events, markets, photos, dates/times/locations and crops available. Our fb page and social media has +440 fans that follow and repost our events and markets. We are connected with several other farming groups and share/promote information between us.

2. To provide locally fresh produce and increase it’s consumption in communities designated as food deserts.

We had 3 locations (Princeton, Evansville and Indianapolis) of growing food and partnered with several farmers in each location to promote farmers markets and local stores.

Our Princeton location 378 old SR 65, was not as successful due to bridge being repaired from mid June through November. We did move our produce stand to other locations Wayman Chapel and St Paul Church, but the required set-up, transporting and requiring customers to create a new habit of seeking new times and locations, due to location availability, wasn’t the ideal.

Evansville (Memorial Baptist Church/MBC) was our best site location as well as the First Friday Market. The MBC started as a 2 day/week parking lot market to a daily market at a closed grocery store. Operating this market was the (15) children in MBC summer youth program assigned to our gardening program. The children planted seeds and starter plants, maintained the daily garden work: weeding, tilling, observing plant health, harvesting, inventory and sales. Sales and consumption of locally fresh produce increased on a weekly basis that took a weekly market to a daily market.

Indianapolis had the most site locations (4) Flanner House; St Andrews, Community Hospital and Pantry; Indianapolis Libraries (Weekly rotation of 3 locations), Zion Hope Church, Mt Carmel Church and Nu Destiny Church.

 

3. To educate communities and youth on different farming techniques that can be utilized in Urban Farms and gardens.

 

We taught different gardening techniques and styles at each location to compare at the end of harvest to the youth and each community. Each location was taught water conservation, natural growing (organic style), Jr Master Gardeners program and the signs of good/bad plant health. They were taught the variety of each plant family, Greens, Tomatoes, Peppers and Cucumbers.

Princeton location- Due to site access restriction that required participant to drive an extra 3-7 miles to gain access to site. We met at Wayman Chapel Church teaching 8 youth and 5 adults on gardening techniques. The youth group formed into a 4-H group that we lead. We taught them our 4-part garden series and how to plant and landscape around the church. Each youth would create and maintain their own personal gardens. They learned how to research and plant according to the instructions. Each youth entered in the 4-H competition at the county fair. Two of the children received awards, with one receiving Grand Champion status for her produce exhibit and went to the Indiana State fair competition.

Evansville MBC (15) Youth were taught traditional and drip line gardening. We were also going to have access to the hoophouse at Carver Middle School, but due to their late approval and the increase in our commitment at MBC, that was postponed to 2020 season. Our 4-part garden series was taught to youth and community. The gardens were on raised lots and medians and were not affected by the record amount of rain in Indiana. Due to daily attention these gardens flourished. The youth got a chance to see the advantages of having portions of the garden with a weed barrier and drip line vs traditional gardening with hoeing and sprinkler systems.

Indianapolis Nu Destiny Church(NDC) 18 Adults and (23) youth were taught the 4-part series on gardening Summer Youth program. The Urban Bucket system was taught to this group by (Jywanza Consulting) 3-days/week. Due to the record setting amount of rain that caused approximately 1/3 of crops not to be planted and 1/3 planted crops to be washed out statewide, The bucket system had its issues. The bucket drainage was too slow and drowned out 3 different plantings. In early July, the weather allowed the system to work, most of the plant care and harvesting was after the summer youth program was over. The youth did keep records of the progress and care of the plants. Many assisted with some of the farmers markets and state fair opportunities given to our group.

 

4. To educate communities and youth of the nutritional values of eating whole food and health benefits.

 

Princeton: Due to site access restrictions, all food demonstrations where cancelled. The youth were taught the Jr. master Gardener 10 week program during their weekly 4-H meeting. 7/8 youth had maintained eating fresh produce on a daily basis and 5/8 helped with shopping and preparing meals at home.

Evansville MBC youth and community were taught the benefits of healthy eating, local chefs and food instructors shared their knowledge on cooking and the need to keep fresh vegetables in their diet. LTOTG taught the 10 week Master Garden program as well as value added information.

Indianapolis NDC: Elephant Gardens and Jywanza Consulting taught a series of nutritional and food demonstrations of cooking with fresh vegetables. LTOTG taught the nutritional values and skills from the Jr Master Gardener 10-week program. 12/15 (80%) of the youth said they were eating more fresh fruit at the end of the program. 8/15 where participating in helping prepare meals and cooking at home at least once a week.

 

5. Encourage the communities and youth to participate in CSA, Diet and Health challenges.

Each location was given CSA boxes on a weekly basis as produce was available, Local education was taught on diet proportions as well as the 28-day challenge. LTOTG sponsored 15 memberships for the 28-day challenge. This 28-day challenge features dieticians, health experts, recipes, fasting and daily nutritional advice from H-BAMN (Health By Any Means Necessary). Each of the 15 participants went on a plant based diet (some vegan). They found it helpful to have the meals/recipes and grocery list provided in the program. Most were about to complete a weekly 24-hr fast and all were able to complete a daily 8-12 hour fast. All 15 reported clarity of mind, increased stamina and lowered B/P. 1/15 fully remained on the challenge full time lost over 65 lbs; 5/15 keep the challenge majority of the time Lost 10+lbs. 8/15 keep the challenge 2-3 day a week lost min 5 lbs. 1/15 went back to old eating habits.

 

 

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Kamau Jywanza - Producer
  • Vivian Muhammad - Producer

Research

Materials and methods:

 

Gardening Classes
Fruit Trees: Winter Pruning & Care
Indiana gardeners can learn the basics of caring for their fruit trees in winter, while they are dormant. This includes pruning lingo and techniques, watering needs, and dormant spraying for disease/pest prevention. learn the basics of choosing the best fruit trees for location, planting instructions, pests and diseases, and best orcharding practices. 

Garden Planning and Design
garden design for their home and vegetable gardens from square-foot vegetable gardening, and basic permaculture design, to generating your own home garden landscape design and planting ideas. Environmental considerations, drainage, seed selection, incorporating pollinators and practical design techniques.

Gardening 101:
the details surrounding garden preparation, planting and garden care. Topics include successfully starting seeds and transplants, understanding soil structure & health, and learning how to create a fertile, organic garden. 

Summer Garden Management
 Exploring best practices for maintaining a healthy garden once it is growing. High Tunnel techniques that reduce weed, how to set up an irrigation system and conserve water in the garden and tools you can use to make these tasks more efficient. Pests & Diseases in Your Garden

Instructors:
DeAnthony and/or John Jamerson

material from Purdue Extension Master Gardeners

Naturally Grown techniques, soil prep & planting: Plant care, harvesting-Agronomist Kamau Jywanza

Chef Corey McDaniels whole food classes

1.    Food equals Mood

2.    Water vs. Food

3.    Meat: The new drug mule

4.    For the love of Iron

5.    Fiber: Your best friend

6.    The power of Fruits

7.    Sugar is a Drug

8.    Fats

9.    Proper Digestion

10.  Emotional connection to Food

11.  Fasting

12.  Eating clean in the Hood.

 

Research results and discussion:

Data for this years crops where inconclusive due to the record rain in the state. The hoop house in Princeton was partially flooded as was the bucket system in Indianapolis. The traditional technique in Evansville is believed to have an advantage due to its being on a raised area. Therefore the comparison was inconclusive. The data from each location will be made available.

Participation Summary
5 Farmers participating in research

Educational & Outreach Activities

4 Consultations
2 Journal articles
2 On-farm demonstrations
2 Tours
3 Webinars / talks / presentations

Participation Summary

Education/outreach description:

Learning Outcomes

12 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation
Lessons Learned:

What I learned thus far from this grant is that when dealing with multiple sites that you will have multiple issues and variables that come up. As with each years of farming the same site comes with different issues, weather, rain, drought, pests, mold and a host of other issues, the same applies with different sites. I anticipated that Princeton and Indianapolis would be my best sites and the ones that would require the most attention. Evansville was my most productive and required the most attention of the 3 sites. Having to reprogram around site access issues due to road construction (both Indy and Princeton) and having to rearrange markets location as well as the issue of adding additional help to the Evansville location due to its growth was challenging.

The advantage of this project is that it helps you to be able to identify issues earlier, gives you boarder insight on what works and what doesn’t and how to adapt different techniques together. Management skills will definitely be challenged. Building a strong network of farmers and ranchers is key to the success of the project. We learned that it took all of us to keep the project going and the success of one area benefited the lack of another. We are now better able to predict how the next season of challenges can be successfully met.

My recommendation is to be open minded to others ranchers views and techniques. It is beneficial to a good team environment and learning from each other. The more you know about farming, the more you realize you don’t know about farming. Enjoy the ride!

Project Outcomes

12 Farmers changed or adopted a practice
1 Grant received that built upon this project
10 New working collaborations
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.