- Education and Training: networking
- Farm Business Management: farm-to-institution
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, quality of life
The Hoosier Harvest Market, a non-profit farmer owned co-operative, was formed in 2013. Made up of 20 farmers, the co-op provides local farm products for direct to consumer purchase through their online store. The market has a goal to expand offerings into off seasons and for low-income or “at-risk” families.
Working under the guidance of three farms, Berry Goods Farm, Nature’s Gift, and Cameron Farms, a plan was established to provide produce to the local hospital, Hancock Hospital. Hospital patients are “prescribed” produce bags by their doctor and are provided with a voucher for either a large bag (for a family of four) or a small bag (for a family of two) to be picked up at the local farmers market twice a month. Once a month, bags also include eggs. This program will offer prescribed patients multiple educational opportunities with brochures inside each bag and in-person demonstrations. Hancock Hospital entered into an agreement with HHM to provide bags for the winter of 2017/2018, giving the farms an increase in market opportunities and a steadier revenue stream.
All farms involved in this project have committed to growing their produce using sustainable practices, utilizing greenhouses, high tunnels and pastured egg production.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Develop the Hoosier Harvest 365 delivery program as a year round, sustainable project, which will result in an increase of revenue for the HHM and increased sales for each farm involved of at least 10%.
- Increased knowledge or purchase habits of fresh produce by prescribed hospital patients through information cards, demonstration events, and other related activities.
- Share findings through the Hoosier Harvest Market’s website, social media and public presentations. Presentations at the Indiana Small Farms Conference in 2020 will encourage the development of similar programs for both local farmers and the health industry.