Legacy's United Farmers, Communities and Urban Food deserts

Final 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.

About Legacy Taste of The Garden, LLC (LTOTG) November 2021
CREATE, MAINTAIN, PASS DOWN, CONTINUE

LEGACY TASTE of the Garden, a Legacy created/passed on by Greer Farms. Black Farmers farming since 1855.

Legacy is a family farm operation that was created to pass on generational knowledge of Sustainable and Entrepreneurial living.
Legacy desires to help bring back the knowledge of Growing and using Fresh Produce, and teaching how to obtain a lifestyle in agriculture, entrepreneurship, and self-sustainability. Our goal is to close the gap between local producers and the local consumer, which will support the Communities Economic Vitality.
Legacy’s mission is to Empower individuals and communities to become self-sustaining and economically sound through Education, Networking, and Providing Information toward a Healthy, Sustainable, Empowered Life.

We provide information and training on growing and the benefits of farming.
Legacy strives to create a hub and network of individuals, co-ops, and communities in the farming arena. Through the network, all aspects of the agriculture world can be at the hands of those who desire to enhance their farming desires.

Summary:

Our proposal was to collaborate with farmers and use their unique practices to educate, produce and provide a system that will increase the availability of whole foods and its use in food deserts. Techniques used included:

  • 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 demonstrating 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.
  • Community partners will include local churches, schools, 4-H, Purdue Master Gardeners and other organizations.

Techniques planned but changed due to Covid included:

  • 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.
  • Farming techniques include High tunnel, Naturally grown, Organic, and Aquaponics practices.

2019 was greatly impacted by weather (rain) and road construction, however the youth in each location greatly increased their desire to learn more about agriculture.

2020: Was a year of COVID, world-shutdowns, business closures, food supply chain disruption and great opportunities. Legacy had to reinvent our way of business to address the no-contact/shut down society and the need to access food. Virtual training was increased, Food box programs were initiated which led to the development of a CSA program app.

 

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.

 

 

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Kamau Jywanza - Producer
  • Vivian Muhammad - Producer

Research

Materials and methods:

People, Farms, and Organizations

Legacy Taste of the Garden LLC (LTOTG) operates out of Princeton, IN, Gibson County. We operate 2.5 acres growing garden vegetables and delivering produce to locations in Princeton, Evansville and Indianapolis. Participants include Nu Destiny Church, Indiana Black Farmers Co-op and Mt. Carmel Church (Indianapolis), St. Paul Church (Princeton) and First Fridays, Evansville youth Group (Evansville). Legacy Taste has worked with these groups and others for the past 3 years to provide produce for monthly farmers markets and CSAs in Urban Food deserts. Our collaborating farmers are Purdue Extension Master Gardener volunteers, Certified Naturally Grow (CNG) and Organic Certified and will teach communities in a working farm/garden their unique techniques for Urban gardening.

Kamau Jywanza of Indy Grow Farm will teach a method of Natural growing practice when traditional land farming is not feasible or available. With these practices a community can provide local produce for their community with fresh garden vegetables.

Vivian Muhammad of Elephant Gardens grows organic urban produce specializing in Fresh Herbs, carrots, onions and value-added products. She will teach the practicality of organic fresh produce and value-added products the can stimulate business and job opportunities.

Corey McDaniels of Food Architech is a chef who specializes in the nutritional benefits of whole organic foods as well as producing delicious vegan recipes. He will provide for the community/youth workshops to learn and sample recipes as well as provide information on the nutritional benefits of eating fresh whole foods. Corey uses his skills to serve the homeless people of Indianapolis with a weekly meal to benefit his community.

Legacy Taste of the Garden LLC (LTOTG) will teach and educate on farming/garden techniques using a High Tunnel and its benefit of extending the growing season. LTOTG will coordinate the farmers and instructors in an effort to sync the farmers and communities with real time market produce and locations as well as provide a direct connection with farmer and community relationship. Website and social media will be a tool to bridge this gap so direct access can be established, utilized and be a benefit for future opportunities.

 

Gardening Classes

Our four-part garden series consisted of the following.

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 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 weeds, 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:

2019 Data for this years crops grown using hoop houses, traditional  gardening techniques, and the bucket system were 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.

2020 With COVID protocols closing most of the locations for training and food boxes being given away to the community as needed, the records from MBC in Evansville were not accurately kept due to constant rotation of staff and volunteers during down time and COVID closures. The CSA program has doubled since the beginning from 13 to 30 participants, with other organizations ordering as many as 200 CSA boxes throughout the year. The increased interest in urban farming has led to trainings with the USDA and formed statewide workshops in Evansville/Princeton, Bloomington, Indianapolis, Gary and Ft. Wayne IN called Indiana Black Loam. These workshops are to connect rural and urban farmers and their communities with USDA agents to introduce, increase and continue participation in USDA programs, loans, grants and scholarships. Partnerships have been formed with Purdue Extension and other agriculture organizations to include mentoring programs, training and business/community development for those attending these workshops.

Educational objectives and local food demand and accessiblity goals were met. See Educational & Outreach Activities for details.

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
2 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

13 Farmers
2 Ag professionals participated
Education/outreach description:

PowerPoint presentation showing the accomplishments of Legacy Taste of the Garden: 

Legacy taste of the garden llc final  

 

Media Links:

https://indianapublicmedia.org/news/trying-to-hang-on-til-im-gone-how-a-black-hoosier-farm-family-persists.php

https://www.courierpress.com/story/entertainment/2021/06/14/juneteenth-evansville-indiana-book-n-cook-classes-kids-educate-farming-history/7675338002/

https://fb.watch/acZVA6MSey/

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/indianas-small-black-farmers-struggle-to-keep-their-farms-running

https://fb.watch/ac_7KDAgeZ/

https://my-indiana-home.com/farm/this-familys-agricultural-legacy-is-5-generations-strong/

 https://www.ccsin.org/event-details/indiana-black-loam-conference

 

The objectives of the project are listed below along with how each objective was completed each year of the project.

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

2019 We created a website for our group www.legacytasteofthegarden.com; Facebook (Fb) page and twitter account: #legacytasteofthegarden

We utilized these accounts to notify the 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.

2020 Through our network of farmers across the nation we applied to supply the CARES Act food distribution grant for farmers to supply communities with food boxes. We did not receive the grant but worked with those that did to supply food boxes to our communities that included Evansville, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Gary Indiana, Chicago IL, St. Louis MO, communities in Mississippi and Louisville KY. This led to efforts today that still supports many of these communities with the Partnership for Heathier America (PHA) that not only supplies these communities with food but also pays them for the work they do. We are in communication to include local farmers in this distribution.

With our increased online presence, we developed connections with the communities we serve on when these CAREs Act food boxes would arrive and locations to receive them. This added to our CSA program as the CAREs Act food box program concluded.

 

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) for growing food and partnered with several farmers in each location to promote farmers markets and local stores.

2019 Our Princeton location 378 old SR 65, was not as successful due to a 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.
2020 IND SR 64 was shut down for repairs which closed off access to the farm stand again. However, traffic was diverted a mile away right in front of our garden in Lyles Station and we moved our produce stand to that location with great success. Our customers had easy access to our stand, which used the honor system when we were not available.

With easy access to produce, our customer numbers grew and their desire for eating fresh produce increased. After the main road opened back up, many of the customers requested our CSA boxes which were delivered every other Saturday off the town square, utilizing our Fb page, website and online app (The Field).

Evansville
2019 (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 and grew to a daily market at a closed grocery store. Operating this market were 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-grown, fresh produce increased on a weekly basis that took a weekly market to a daily market.
2020 Memorial Baptist Church/MBC was our primary location for training youth due to COVID shutdowns in other locations. This season had its issues of a late frost in early May that devastated our garden and caused it to be replanted (due to our Hoophouse/High Tunnel) with plants that survived the frost. The youth program didn’t start until June without a Farm lead on MBC Staff. Legacy filled that position with 2 of our leads. We had between 8-11 youth participating with the garden and developed food box give aways to the surrounding community and a CSA box program every other week along with Princeton.

COVID shutdown the program several times, but the youth insisted on being outdoors and having access to the produce. The ”Book and Cook” virtual cooking demonstration was created for the youth with Evansville local Library, Legacy Taste of the Garden, and Urban Seed which supplied youth throughout Evansville who signed up, with food and utensils needed for these events, teaching the youth with the assistance of an adult how to prepare food that was currently available from their local growers. Many Local growers were used to assist in these bi-monthly events. This is an ongoing program and has spread to include youth from Princeton, Bloomington, Indianapolis and Gary IN.

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner was prepared by the youth at MBC garden program as the closing of this year’s project. The youth program has continued and has other groups from Y&E (Young and Established Inc) starting their own garden, food markets and free food box distribution.

Indianapolis
2019-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.

2020 all locations were closed due to COVID protocol. Legacy continued to supply these locations with access to CARE Act food boxes as distribution sites, renting U-Haul trucks to transport the boxes to locations needed. The requests for learning how to create Urban gardens and access to fresh local food is in great demand. Legacy partnered with NRCS representatives to introduce opportunities to fulfill these needs. A food Hub grant was awarded to these local urban growers and they are putting together programs to work with other communities to meet the needs of food access.

Legacy is humbled to be working with these growers that now include Him By Her School training students K-6 on garden techniques and food access.

 

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 to the youth and community at each location to compare at the end of harvest. 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.

2019 Princeton location- Due to site access restriction that required participants 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 created and maintained their own personal garden. 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 she 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 the 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 of 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.

2020 Evansville MBC was the only site for continued hands-on education in the garden and food demonstration. All other in person group meetings 4-H, Jr Master gardener and growing programs were cancelled due to COVID Protocol.

Virtual Urban gardening information on High tunnels- NRCS EQIP programs were given in partnership with Legacy and NRCS personnel.

 

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

2019 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 meetings. 7 out of 8 youth maintained eating fresh produce on a daily basis and 5 out of 8 helped with shopping and preparing meals at home.

Evansville: MBC youth and the 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 out of 15 (80%) of the youth said they were eating more fresh fruit at the end of the program. 8 out of 15 were participating in helping prepare meals and cooking at home at least once a week.

2020 The ”Book and Cook” virtual cooking demonstration was created for the youth with Evansville local Library, Legacy Taste of the Garden and Urban Seed which supplied youth throughout Evansville who signed up with food and utensils needed for these events, teaching the youth with the assistance of an adult how to prepare food that was currently available from their local growers.

 

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

2019 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 able 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 out of 15 fully remained on the challenge full time and lost over 65 lbs; 5 out of 15 keep the challenge the majority of the time and lost 10+lbs. 8 out of 15 keep the challenge 2-3 day a week and lost a minimum of  5 lbs. 1 out of 15 went back to old eating habits.

2020 Due to COVID the awareness to eat fresh local food has increased. Plant-based food contributes to healthier living, with the majority of our illnesses linked to the food we eat. Consumers, understanding that COVID attacks hardest on those who have diseases, are now seeking a more nutritious plant-based food diet.

We are training urban growers about the opportunities that now exist due to this demand. This has led to partnerships in the communities we served with the CAREs Act and USDA to increase Urban growers, knowing your farmer and youth garden programs.

Ty Simmons (Fort Wayne) of Human Agriculture Cooperative, working with Legacy and Jywanza Consulting, was put as the lead communication for the distribution of CAREs Act food boxes in the communities we served. Over 100 trucks containing 1400 boxes each of fresh produce was distributed in over 8 different cities in 4 states. Distribution systems were put in place to be able to unload and distribute a truck within 4 hours without traffic bottlenecks and long waiting in line. This partnership is still working today in creating a fresh food distribution chain that includes Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri.

A CSA app has been developed for consumers to purchase CSA’s Indianapolis, Bloomington, Princeton and Evansville by going to our Fb page, the Field App, and LTOTG website to register during production season. We are currently developing a CSA app with “The Field” to include other farmers and locations across the nation to connect local farmers to their customers.

 

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, you will have multiple issues and variables that come up. As with each year 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 broader 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 other farmers'/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.