The Hoosier Harvest 365 Hospital Delivery Program

Project Overview

FNC18-1150
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $22,500.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2020
Grant Recipient: Nature's Gift, LLC
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Linda Woodbury
Nature's Gift, LLC

Information Products

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Education and Training: networking
  • Farm Business Management: farm-to-institution
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, quality of life

    Summary:

    The Hoosier Harvest Market, a 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 offers 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.

    Berry Goods Farm was established by Amy Surburg in 2015.  They grew vegetables and provided eggs for this project.  Amy is also the president of the Hoosier Harvest Market and was the main connection person between Hancock Hospital and this project.  She wrote a presentation about this project and shared it at the 2020 Indiana Small Farm Conference and also presented with Roy Ballard at the 2019 SARE educators conference on this project. She coordinated the farmers and put together the bag contents each week working in a team with the HHM market manager to get recipes into the bags for each delivery.  She also connected with Mandy Gray of the Purdue Nutrition education program to schedule the monthly cooking classes, determine the recipes/vegetable content and schedule farmers to be present at each class to talk about the crops involved in the recipes, which were designed around the bags that the patients received the week of the cooking class.   

    Cameron Farms was established by Derrick Cameron as a wholesale distributor to institutions of higher learning. Derrick’s expertise in the area of farm to institution at the bulk level helped the grant develop a broad perspective. While the details of the grant model focus on the individual packages distributing to the consumer, Derrick’s perspective helped us think outside of the assumed model we’ve used from the beginning. His bulk framework projects were interjected throughout to help keep income diversified while building to sustainability. He tested a model requiring  the same produce shipping to hospital outreach programs, which were equipped with certified kitchens. The producer could ship larger quantities in boxes versus the standard individual packaging. The distribution to the consumer was assumed by the hospital. Pricing to the Farmer/Rancher was substantially lower; but gross income for the Farmer/Rancher per delivery was substantially higher. The model was not pursued for all-year sustainability.

    Project objectives:

    1. 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%.
    2. Increased knowledge or purchase habits of fresh produce by prescribed hospital patients through information cards, demonstration events, and ?
    3. 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
    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.