When the Indiana State Fair and Dow AgroSciences, sponsor of the Year of the Farmer program, went looking for farm families to honor each day, they knew early on they wanted representatives from a wide variety of ag segments. After all, Indiana is more than a corn and soybeans – it's tomatoes, apples, popcorn, timber and the list goes on.
It's also urban gardening, and the sponsors didn't have to go far to find a great representative of the urban gardening trend. They found Fall Creek Gardens, which operates in the same general vicinity as the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Maggie Goeglein Hanna and the Community Gardening program she represents is the host family, and featured farm family, for Thursday, Aug. 13, at the Indiana State Fair.
As a part of the Year of the Farmer program, a different family is featured each day. They have breakfast with fair dignitaries when they first arrive, then tend to other duties.
The Year of the Farmer family stops at the Indiana Soybean Alliance Glass Barn on their day at 2:30 p.m. EDT for a live chat with fair-goers in the Barn. If a parade is held that day, they will be honored in the parade.
Parades are not being held on high-traffic days this year at the fair due to the reconfiguration of traffic flow in front of the coliseum on the south side of the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Hanna says that their project is dedicated to teaching urban dwellers how to raise their own food, and to appreciate the value of quality produce. This year they have about 45 families participating in their urban gardening program.
Other community garden programs exist around the state, but not all are in highly metropolitan areas. One of the largest community gardens is housed on land owned by Tippecanoe County, located next to the Tippecanoe County Extension Office. Master Gardeners have been a big part of that effort.
See a full list of family farmers and links to their stories as they appear on the Indiana Prairie Farmer website: Indiana Soybean Alliance's Glass Barn will feature 'Year of the Farmer' hosts