The Northwest Indiana (NWI) Food Council will host FarmHop 2017 on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This unique event features farm tours in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties. Tickets including lunch are $20, children $10, and are available at nwifoodcouncil.org.
"Our tours are designed to connect consumers with the work taking place every day on the farms that grow our food," said Lyndsay Ploehn, Ag Educator for Purdue Extension Porter County. "Whether one buys produce from the local farmer's market or grocery, dines at local eateries, buys ethanol gas, plants gardens for pollinators or does none of these, I guarantee FarmHop guests will learn, and gain a new appreciation for agriculture in Northwest Indiana."
FarmHop 2017 features four different tours with buses leaving from designated locations. Local food vendors will offer lunch options along the way.
Gary - Tour 1: See thriving urban farms with unique solutions for community food access, a garden for the visually impaired, a school's vibrant and diverse farm and more. Stops include Blind Social Center, Eagles Nest Farm (Thea Bowman Academy), Jay-One's Grow Space, Peace & Garden Farms and Stewart House Urban Farm and Gardens.
Valparaiso - Tour 2: Explore a biodynamic hop farm, heritage breed animals, a family whose children manage the egg laying operation, and an interesting approach to commercial agriculture that sells nearly all of its products locally. Visit Howe Farms, K & C Bucher Farms, and Three Guys and Some Chicks.
LaPorte - Tour 3: Visit historic Chellberg Farms, a public learning farm; Discovery Charter School where students raise and tend bees; a church that created the Jackson Street Community Garden, a food-providing organization to serve the hungry, and Rainfield Farm - an organic Community Supported Agriculture farm that grows a variety of vegetables, flowers and herbs in addition to hens for eggs.
Crown Point - Tour 4: See a diverse organic vegetable farm with year-round growing solutions from high tunnels to greenhouses, and a new level of sustainability from composting to heritage breed animals to growing feed right on the farm. Visits include Perkins Good Earth Farm and Acorn Acres.
"This is an exciting opportunity for families to connect with local farms, for garden enthusiasts or beginning farmers to learn new methods, and for parents to give their children the experience of a farm that might not normally be open to the public," said Gabrielle Biucunas, Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) and NWI Food Council board member.
FarmHop 2017 is sponsored by South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, Purdue Extension, Market Wagon, The Market, Olthof Homes, Piazza Produce, Miller Pizza Co. and Nature's Cupboard. The NWI Food Council is a multi-stakeholder alliance that works to build a just, sustainable and thriving locally oriented food system for Northwest Indiana through networking, education, advocacy and projects.