IndyHub is an outstanding organization with a mission to connect young professionals in Indianapolis to businesses, opportunities and each other. Their “Raise Your IQ” series is built to provide insight on topical issues of the community and access to leaders at the forefront of change. Indiana Food was about, well, food of course, but it didn’t stop at what goes from hand to mouth.
Food is a huge part of my life. OBVIOUSLY. You’re reading my food blog. What you may not know is that I’m not just interested in creating a kick ass recipe to share with you.
I prefer to buy local ingredients when available. One of my favorite things in the world is the farmer’s market, where I have no problem with getting up at 7:30 AM on a Saturday morning so I can get the best of the best before anyone else does. And even though it can get pretty crowded, it’s not crowded enough, because not everyone is buying local.
But why? Why aren’t people proud to purchase the ingredients that our land gives us?
That was one of the questions sparked by the speakers at IndyHub’s Raise Your IQ event. We gathered at The Platform inside City Market, which is home to the Indy Winter’s Farmers Market on Saturday’s and is smack dab in the middle of downtown Indianapolis.
Duos Indy, a local food truck with scrumptious eats, provided a lovely spread for the event. They describe themselves as a vehicle for the community. Chef Becky grew up on a farm in Bloomington, Indiana (one of my favorite places – Bloomington), and has vivid memories of family and food. They’re working hard to close the gap between food and community, and I love that.
The pickle plate was filled with tart and tangy pickled items, and the blue bowl had a slightly sweet roasted tomato and rosemary dip.
After we savored the food, we grabbed a beer (courtesy of Sun King Brewing Company) and registered for our sessions. There were four speakers and we needed to visit two of them. They were:
Don Villwck, Indiana Farmer and President of Indiana Farm Bureau on new methods of agriculture and how they support a stronger economy and state for all of us.
Clay Robinon, Founder of Sun King Brewing on building a new career through food.
Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and Medical Director of Wishard Health Services on envisioning the future of public health through food.
Aster Bekele, Founder and Executive Director of FelegeHiywot Center on her journey of community development and youth empowerment through a tiny urban garden.
Tamre was with me at this event, and we both chose to listen to Clay and Dr. Lisa. We’ve both known Clay since the beginnings of Sun King in Indianapolis, and we wanted to hear Dr. Lisa’s thoughts about health and food.’
Clay’s discussion centered around what leaps he had to take to be where he is today. As food (and beer) becomes an interest of more and more people, questions about how to go from the office to the farm or fork are being asked. Clay shared that, for him, he needed to leave the corporate world behind in one sweep and take time to focus on your passion and figure out how to make it work. Let go of all other distractions, otherwise you might not make the right decisions.
Sun King Brewing will be a local, Indianapolis beer as long as they exist. Their aim is to sell as much beer as they can and as close to home as possible. Sun King has turned down distribution requests from almost every state in the country, according to Clay, and instead encourages people to come to Indianapolis to try their beer.
Clay also pointed out that Indiana is the nation’s largest producer of popcorn and duck. Did YOU know that?
Dr. Lisa talked about food in a practical way and discussed that food is key to a healthy lifestyle. Hospitals are responsible for preventing death by 10%, while lifestyle is responsible for 50%, Dr. Lisa mentioned as we discussed the importance of the right foods for our bodies.
What boundaries keep people from going to the farmer’s market? Answers included education about what to do with the food to how most vendors only accept cash. A member of the group pointed out that many farmer’s markets accept WIC and SNAP and have places where you cash your checks in for tokens. You can give your token as a form of payment. I didn’t know this, and I’m sure many other people don’t either.
If you looked closely at the attendees of the evening, each and every one of them had a hunger in their eyes that was for something more than food. Everyone had a reason to be there, whether it’s because they’re food bloggers, chefs, advocates, farmers, entrepreneurs or doctors. The need for an overall understanding of how food grown close to home can be so much more than nourishment for our bodies. Many thanks to IndyHub for being the conduit for these conversations and to Sun King Brewing Company, Indiana Humanities, Duos Indy and City Market for their generous support!