An Indiana farm that specializes in locally grown food is one of only three Indiana farms to receive a Value Added Producer Grant from USDA in the most recent announcement of award recipients. Some 298 grants were awarded in 44 states and Puerto Rico. All total, the grants make up a $40.2 million commitment from USDA.
The Indiana farm receiving the grant is Feel Good Farm, LLC, Sheridan. It is a 60-acre certified organic farm that grows a variety of crops. It is owned by Matthew Ewer and his wife, Elizabe4th Blessing. They also own B.E.A.N. LLC, which has an umbrella of companies under it. Those include Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, Tiny Footprint Distribution and Farm to Kitchen Foods. Each business focuses on building food systems that provide locally-grown food to consumers, even fi the consumer isn't near the farm.
Free-lance writer Joy McClain, Greenwood, has discussed various aspects of the Green B.E.A.N. concept in recent issues of Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine. She featured Randy Stout, Bargersville, a grower who sells part of his produce through the Green B.E.A.N. system.
These companies are part of a niche market toward selling locally-grown foods to consumers who follow that attribute and are willing to pay more to get it. There are also several start-up businesses selling meats grown locally, and processed locally. It's one reason why small farms and large farms are the two largest growing segments of agriculture, with the mid-size farm being squeezed in the middle. Farms in the 800 to 1,500 acre range without a specialized type of production continue to be squeezed by tighter margins, although higher-than-normal commodity prices, especially for corn, is helping them survive in the current environment.This particular grant will allow Feel Good Farms to explore creating a line of soups sources on the f arm from products produced there. The money awarded in the grant will go toward a feasibility study to determine if such a venture would be viable, and if so, toward creating a business plan for getting the soup venture underway.