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Regional Sustainable Food Initiative
Lt. Governor Becky Skillman recently awarded the Indiana Cooperative Development Center (ICDC) a $250,000 grant to support the Regional Sustainable Food Initiative. This project will develop and implement a model to coordinate the production, processing, distribution, and sale of locally grown food. Partners include the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Indiana Cooperative Development Center, USDA – Rural Development, Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and Purdue Extension New Ventures Team.
In recent years, demand has increased for locally-grown food, due to issues of safety, freshness, and health. Concerns about the environmental and economic impacts of transporting food have also contributed to this demand. The Regional Sustainable Food Initiative will serve as a fresh food source for consumers, while supporting local economic revitalization.
Goals of the project include development of institutional and local networks for distributing food and creation of a model that can be replicated and economically self-sustaining. The Indiana Cooperative Development Center will evaluate and choose up to two regional sites to implement the project.
The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) is sponsoring a joint land use study in partnership with the Indiana Office of Energy and Defense Development, Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center (CAJMTC), Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC), and surrounding communities including the City of Columbus, Town of Edinburgh, Town of North Vernon, the Cordry/Sweetwater Lake Conservancy, Prince's Lakes, and Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, Jennings, and Johnson counties. The joint land use study will assess the relationship between the area's economic development and planned expansion of the military installations, and additional installation exercises. CAJMTC, MUTC, and the surrounding communities are collaborating on this study in order to assess and address the current and future needs of the study area. OCRA is offering support and technical assistance to partnering communities. A $164,250 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Defense provides funding for the study.
Indiana Communities InstituteThe Indiana Communities Institute, offered by Ball State University's Building Better Communities, is a leadership development course offered to local officials in Indiana. The program focuses on building community capacity and promoting long-term economic sustainability. More information is available at http://www.bsu.edu/bbc/.