Agriculture and “American Spirits” at the Indiana State Museum

Agriculture is a component of so many aspects of our lives, even if we don’t realize it. Food is the obvious one, but everything from our clothing, paper and plastic products, makeup, crayons, diapers, medicines, and even those adult beverages we sometimes enjoy are thanks in part to ingredients from agriculture.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of previewing the newest exhibit at the Indiana State Museum, “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.” This era has always been fascinating to me, and I really enjoyed learning more about our country’s history and how the “spirits” of America came to be.

And as promised, I also took the opportunity to focus on how agriculture was involved in the various aspects of the exhibit, the Prohibition era, and the beverage industry in general. I’m excited to share all of the neat facts I learned!

TOURING AMERICAN SPIRITS

The day we visited was the grand opening for the exhibit so they had a little celebration in addition to giving tours through the gallery.  We were told we could bring a couple family members and, if we were feeling really adventurous, we could even dress up in time-period clothing!

I brought along my cousin, Jennifer, and her daughter, Sofia. Since it was during the day and we planned to go somewhere afterward, I didn’t want to wear the full flapper get-up, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to wear some fun 20s-inspired accessories!

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All dolled up with my pearls and pin-curls!

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Here my little cousin, Sofia, and I are posed with one of the suffrage women who were a part of the exhibit. I even gave Sofia a fun feathered headband and pearls to wear too. She received so many compliments on her feather!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With our outfits on and camera’s on, we were ready to check everything out! One of the museum’s curators, Katherine Gould took us on a tour for the exhibit and was very knowledgeable about the time period.

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The exhibit starts off by setting the scene to why Prohibition was established. One of the main reasons was because Americans drank VERY large amounts of alcohol during the early 1800s. In 1830, America hit rock bottom. During that time, the average American consumed 90 bottles of 80 proof liquor! That is about three times greater than the current levels of today.

One of the first parts of the exhibit showcased examples of the favorite drinks of the pre-prohibition time period and the current drinking habits. In the rural areas, whisky and cider were the drinks of choice. This was because farmers used the grain they grew to make rye or corn whiskey, as well as apples from the area to make hard cider.

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Hard cider was much stronger than beer. As a way to keep the cider from spoiling, distilled liquor was frequently added to the cider; giving it an alcohol content of at least 10 percent. It was very common in rural areas because potable water was difficult to come by, while apples were plentiful. Farmers could easily and cheaply turn their excess crop into a never-ending supply of cider for themselves and their families.

In more of the urban areas, saloons were very popular. Saloons of that time served whiskey, which was usually made from rye, but could be made by other grains as well. It came in barrels, and brandnames were pretty much unknown. But all this changed in the 1840s and 1850s when Germans and Irish immigrated to America, turning it into a nation of beer drinkers.

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As more companies started brewing beer, brand names also started to become established. Decorations and furniture in saloons would actually be supplies by breweries in exchange for them selling their beer.

From here, we learned about the Temperance Movement and the Anti-Saloon League, which started the fight for alcohol reform and brought the issue into politics, eventually leading to the passing of the 18th Amendment, Prohibition.

American Spirits - Chelsea and Sofia - Womens Suffrage
There was so much interesting information, and we were only to the beginning of learning about Prohibition! If you’d like to learn the whole back story, this website featuring a PBS special on the rise of Prohibition has a lot of great facts.

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Wayne Wheeler, founder of the Anti-Saloon League, was considered to be the most powerful man in America at one point. The exhibit features his “Amazing Amendment Machine” which highlights the process by which he and other fighters for reform, worked to get the 18th Amendment passed.

PROHIBITION

On Jan. 17, 1920, the 18th Amendment put into place a nationwide ban prohibiting Americans from manufacturing, selling or transporting alcohol. This time period is commonly known as Prohibition.

For the next 13 years until 1933, the “Drys” worked to enforce the amendment, while the “wets” basically disregarded it; leading to the birth of the Roaring ’20s, bootlegging and speakeasies.

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People decided to start making their own alcohol, which resulted in an increase in moonshine and bathtub gin. In order to transport their alcohol without getting caught, they modified their cars to hide the bottles. One example was the “Whiskey 6″ car which had multiple places to store liquor and was adapted to reach higher speeds in order to escape the law in a chase. An interesting fact – the Nascar culture emerged from this vehicle and its ability to go faster than factory vehicles.

This part of the exhibit was very neat in my opinion! There were several interactive areas where you could test your knowledge about the era, learn if you were a “wet” or a “dry”, learn the 20s and 30s lingo, and even visit a re-created speakeasy!

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Speakeasies were the time you had men and women drinking together. It was during this time that “Powder Rooms” were born, giving women a place to use the restroom and freshen up.

My favorite part of the exhibit was the re-created speakeasy bar! One other thing that was created during the Prohibition era was mixed drinks. Because liquor was typically crudely made, they had to start mixing it with things to mask the strong tastes. The bar featured some of the mixed drinks that were born during this time and created a fun environment to act like you were a bar patron from the time.

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The bar in the speakeasy.

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Sofia pretending to serve me a drink…since she was along it was just juice of course. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organized crime was also born during this time period due to people trying to get around the ban on alcohol. The exhibit took you through the rise in organized crime, and even featured an “I’m Got Booked” photo area where you could stand in a line-up with Meyer Lensky, Al Capone, and Lucky Lugiano, and then email it directly to yourself as a keepsake!

Do I fit into this lineup?

I tried to blend in with my best “mobster” pose, but I don’t think I’d be that hard to pick out of this line-up.

Prohibition, failing fully to enforce sobriety and costing billions, rapidly lost popular support in the early 1930s. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, ending national Prohibition. Many Americans were on board with this reversal, farmers included.

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AGRICULTURE AND AMERICAN SPIRITS

After the exhibit, I was able to meet with our tour guide, Katherine Gould, where she shared with me even more facts about agriculture as it relates to ‘American Spirits’. I have shared her interview below:

Pre-prohibition beer making was quite regional. It goes back to the early 1800s from transportation limitations – they could only get ingredients and beer so far. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, beer making was regional and they also used regional ingredients from area farmers. Breweries would actually buy from local farmers.

When prohibition was passed, the farmers lost those markets. What’s interesting is, most people focused on the farming disaster that occurred during the depression, but agriculture was going through various droughts throughout the 1920s as well. Throughout the 1920s and 30s, agriculture was bit both by droughts, the depression, and food prices going up and down, as well as lost a huge business for a lot of their grains.

So when the idea of repealing the 18th amendment started picking up steam, agriculture got on board. This was interesting because your rural communities tended to be the driest communities. And that’s why they were able to carry a lot of legislatures. But they were also the farmers who needed the market. So a lot of farming groups got behind repeal because they found a new way to market their grains. So it impacted them a lot. When Prohibition went into effect, it put a lot of people out of business. Not only the breweries, but also bar and saloon owners, trucking companies, ice companies, bottle companies, (there a lot of different bottle companies here in the state) lost jobs.

Whisky and hard cider were the most popular drinks until about WWI, mid-century with the immigration of German and Irish who brought with them beer, and they made it very well. So that started to become very popular.

Indiana actually had a pretty robust distilling industry in Indiana, down by Terre Haute and around the Ohio River, with the access to water, which was very important for that. Indiana actually had the first successful commercial winery in the early 1820s down in Vevay, Indiana. They were able to grow grapes successfully there and did advertising in Switzerland to bring people to come work at their winery.

How fascinating! Katherine also told us during the tour that while the “noble experiment” (as Prohibition was eventually known) failed, there were several things that came from it that are still in place today. With the commercial production of alcohol banned, several products were created in its place. Some well-known examples are: Welches grape juice, Vino grape brick, Coca Cola, Root beer, and Koolaid, among many others.

In addition to being a prominent part of the “American Spirits” of the Prohibition era, agricultural products are how we are able to make many more of the alcoholic beverages that are enjoyed today.

14 plants used to make alcohol

Did you know all of these things are made into alcohol? An incredible diversity of grains, herbs and fruits goes into the world’s alcoholic drinks, which means that for the botanically minded, a trip to the liquor store is a little different than it is for the rest of us. Amy Stewart explains what it’s like in her new book, The Drunken Botanist

This book looks so interesting! I think I may have to make it my next reading project – right as soon as I finish the book I started reading on our honeymoon…almost five months ago. (That’s pathetic, I know.) But seriously though, this does look like an interesting and fascinating read!

Overall, the American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition exhibit at the Indiana State Museum was a great time! It was very interesting, very interactive, and fun to spend a day back in the Roaring 20s! Jennifer, Sofia and I all really enjoyed the whole day. We also enjoyed learning about how agriculture ties into this interesting era! So next time you pop the top on an adult beverage, don’t forget to thank a farmer!

Visit For Yourself!
The exhibit is open until February 15th, 2015 which gives you PLENTY of time to check it out for yourself! But I encourage you to stop by while it’s still at least a teensie-bit warm outside, because if you’ve never been to the Indiana State Museum before, it’s right by the canal downtown which would be a nice place for an afternoon fall walk after the exhibit.

If you’d like to purchase tickets to experience the “American Spirits” exhibit, they are $13 for adults, $12 for seniors and college students, $8.50 for children ages 12 and under. Member admission is included in membership. For more information about the exhibit, special events, online ticket sales and more, visit indianamuseum.org.

Ooh, and I almost forgot! If you’re of age, they’re having this really cool event on October 23 in honor of the history and rise of craft beer in Indiana that sounds really fun! Here’s the 411 on that:

Join Rita Kohn, author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beers in Indiana; Doug Wissing, author of One Pint at a Time: A Traveler’s Guide to Indiana Breweries; Anita Johnson, owner of Great Fermentations; and Bob Ostrander and Derrick Morris authors of Hoosier Beer: Tapping into Indiana Brewing History to discuss Indiana brewing history and the rise of home brewing and craft beers in Indiana. This events is 21 & over. Reservations strongly recommended. Call 317.232.1637 for reservations. 

 Tickets: $35 per non-member / $25 per member. Price includes admission to the talk, a snack and an admission voucher for the American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition exhibit. This event will take place at Tow Yard Brewing Co. 

While you’re there, don’t forget to post pictures and use the hashtag #ISMSpirits – I’d love to see if you all dolled up in your best 20’s fashion and accessories!

Museum Social Media Information:
Website: www.indianamuseum.org
FB: www.facebook.com/indiana.state.museum
Twitter: @IndianaMuseum
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/indianamuseum
Websta: websta.me/n/indianamuseum​
​Trip Advisor: www.tripadvisor.com
Instagram: instagram.com/indianamuseum
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/IndianaStateMuseum
​Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/indiana-state-museum-indianapolis​ 

Hashtag for the exhibit:   #ISMSpirits

-Chelsea

Preview: American Spirits at the Indiana State Museum

On Jan. 17, 1920, the 18th Amendment put into place a nationwide ban prohibiting Americans from manufacturing, selling or transporting alcohol which remained in place from 1920 to 1933. This time period is commonly known as Prohibition.

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It’s something we all learned about in history class, but most likely, rarely think about today. As a fan of history, I sat down to write this blog thinking that I had a pretty good knowledge of Prohibition and the time period of the1920s and 30s. But I soon realized that there is so much more that I have to learn!

That is why I am excited to be touring the new exhibit in the Indiana State Museum, “American Spirits, The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” this Saturday!

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Not only do I get to learn more about our country’s history, I also am looking forward to learning more about the “spirits” we all enjoy from time to time. If you’ve come across any of my Indiana Vino Adventure blogs, you may have learned that I really enjoy a good glass of wine. (In fact, I mayyyy or may not be having a glass as I write this) :)

As I was researching Prohibition, I quickly found out that some wine was actually still allowed for religious reasons. Whew – I would have survived! :)

Inside the Exhibit
The “American Spirits” exhibit, on view at the Indiana State Museum Sept. 20, 2014 through Feb. 15, 2015 was created by the National Constitution Center.  It spans the dawn of the temperance movement in the early 1800s, through the Roaring ’20s, to the unprecedented repeal of a constitutional amendment during the Great Depression. It includes stories of flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance lobbyists and real-life legends like Al Capone and Carrie Nation.

The 5,000-square-foot exhibition, curated by Daniel Okrent, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, features more than 100 rare artifacts; recreated environments (from a church where visitors can hear [and deliver] temperance speeches to a speakeasy where they can learn the Charleston and the slang of the time to a law-enforcement office where visitors can explore efforts to stop bootlegging) and several multimedia experiences.

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In addition, the exhibition includes interactives such as Wayne Wheeler’s Amazing Amendment Machine, (pictured left) which is a carnival-inspired installation that traces the complex political and legal maneuvering behind the passage of the 18th Amendment.

So cool, right?

Not only does the exhibit share nationwide facts, It also features our very own state, Indiana! Indiana’s stories of the temperance movement, Prohibition and the cultural ferment of the 1920s, are just as colorful helping to shape the national attitude toward Prohibition. Stories like Billy Sunday’s, who moved his family to Indiana in 1911, evolving from a popular professional baseball player to an evangelical Christian. (His strong support of Prohibition played a significant role in the adoption of the 18th Amendment.) Other Hoosier stories include legends May Wright Sewall, a leader in Indiana’s woman suffrage movement, who dedicated her life to peace and Grace Julian Clarke, an influential writer for the Indianapolis Star, to name a few.

Check out a sneak peek of the exhibit below:

Details and Admissions
The exhibit opens to Members on Friday Sept 19th and to the general public on Sept. 20th. Tickets are now on sale for Indiana State Museum members and general admission guests. Tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for seniors and college students, $8.50 for children ages 12 and under. Member admission is included in membership. For more information about the exhibit, special events, online ticket sales and more, visit indianamuseum.org.

I’d love for you to join me!

Agriculture and American Spirits
As a member of the agriculture industry, I also thought this would be a neat opportunity to share some ag facts about “American Spirits”! You may be asking yourself, what role does agriculture play in all this? You probably don’t think about it, but farmers are the biggest source of ingredients for alcoholic drinks! You may have known about corn from Luke Bryan’s song, “Rain is a Good Thing” where he references, “Rain makes corncorn makes whisky” but…

DID YOU KNOW that crops such as barley, sorghum, rice, hops, apples, wheat, grapes, sugarcane, and even potatoes are also used to make different kinds of alcohol?

This means that when Prohibition was put into place, the demand for crops declined, putting even more economic pressures on farmers.

As I tour the “American Spirits” exhibit this weekend, I am also going to focus on highlighting how agriculture is involved in the various aspects of the exhibit as well as the beverage industry in general. I’ll be live tweeting from the event too so if you’d like to get a sneak peek of what’s inside, be sure to follow me at @Chelsea_PA on Twitter!

And to share all of the fun things I learned while at the exhibit, I’ll post a recap blog as well as provide more insight into all things “Agriculture and American Spirits” – so be sure to check back next week!

~Chelsea

 

 

Museum Social Media Information:
Website: www.indianamuseum.org
FB: www.facebook.com/indiana.state.museum
Twitter: @IndianaMuseum
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/indianamuseum
Websta: websta.me/n/indianamuseum​
​Trip Advisor: www.tripadvisor.com
Instagram: instagram.com/indianamuseum
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/IndianaStateMuseum
​Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/indiana-state-museum-indianapolis​ 

Hashtag for the exhibit:   #ISMSpirits

Credits: Indiana State Museum Press Release. American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition(italicize) was created by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Local Sponsors – Supported by: 21st Amendment; Contributors: Barnes and Thornburg LLP, Republic National Distributing Company and American Harvest Vodka.

My Past Few Months: Married, Mexico, and Making Things By Hand

Oh hey. Remember me? I’m still here! I know the blog has been a little dormant lately, but I’m hoping to be back to normal with blogging soon. Until then, I thought I would at least give you a quick update to what I’ve been up to lately, because a lot has been going on!

I guess the best place to start would be this little thing called my wedding. That’s right, I GOT MARRIED! After being engaged for around a year and a half, it was so exciting for our big day to actually get here!

As might be expected, it was a little stressful planning the wedding from out of town, but thanks to some big help my family and bridal party, the whole day was absolutely perfect!  Surrounded by our wonderful family and friends, T and I became husband and wife.

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It was such a happy, emotional, and fun day. But boy did it go by fast! I’m so thankful that I had the wonderful Abby of AK Photography there to capture moments in time and the talented Jenna and Felicia to capture everything on video!

Maybe in a future post, I’ll share more photos and details about our big day, but for now – here’s a sneak peek!

Tyler + Chelsea – Wedding Trailer from Jenna James on Vimeo

Aren’t those girls seriously talented? The whole day felt like an absolute fairy tale, and this video captures it perfectly. And this is only the teaser! I can’t wait to see the whole thing!

After the wedding, we headed off on our honeymoon! And let me tell you, after being in “wedding mode” for 18 months, a whole week of nothing but sun, food, and relaxation was just what the doctor ordered.

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Isla Mujeres – I want to go back already!

We were sad to leave this wonderful paradise, but we were looking forward to settling back into normal life. Wait, not quite – next up was reorganizing the house and writing wedding thank yous! – Which are almost on their way, wedding guests! :)

Besides getting back on track with normal life, I also had to catch up on everything that happened at work while I was gone. And let me just say that a whole week and a half away from the marketing department at Beck’s might as well be an eternity with how much takes place in our world over that amount of time!

And speaking of work, I have been keeping my blogging skills up to par by posting to my “Family and Farming” column on the Beck’s Blog. Here are some of the things I’ve been sharing:

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 had a lot of fun making these recipes and sharing my memories so I hope you’ll check them out!

Well, there’s so much more to share, but I have to squeeze in a little sleep here and there so I’m calling it a night. But I hope to be back again soon! Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

~Chelsea

Farmland: Meet America’s Next Generation of Farmers

Did you know that fewer than 1 percent of our population of 317 million are farmers? At one time, it was common for everyone to grow their own food. But with the immense amount of growth of our country has experienced, most Americans are now five generations removed from the farm. This means less people growing our food, and less land to grow it on, but that doesn’t mean there is any less care that goes into it.

Being five generations removed from the farm, a huge disconnect has developed between the farmer and the consumer. So much so, in some cases, that people couldn’t even tell you where their food comes from aside from in the grocery store. When in reality, about 90 percent of the food grown in America comes from a family farm.

It really saddens and frustrates me to see this happen, which is one of the reasons why I became an ag communicator. One of my greatest passions is helping to educate people where their food comes from and how it’s grown. But with anti-ag groups presenting misinformation, it’s sometimes hard to give people a firsthand look into what it is REALLY like on the farms across America. That is why I am so excited to share with you the new documentary, Farmland!

farmland poster

Released in theaters today, Farmland lets you step inside the world of farming and take an intimate look at the lives of farmers and ranchers in their ‘20s, all of whom are now responsible for running their farm and producing the food we all depend on.

As the trailer said, “When people see farmers, they think GMOs, organic, certified organic, all natural, treading an animal humanely” and all of the other buzz words that the media reports on, but what they don’t think about is that the farmer growing their food is a regular person just like you and me. And farming isn’t just a job to them, it’s their livelihood. Their lives depend on ensuring that their crops and/or livestock are healthy or nutritious. Not only because they feed them to their own family, but because hundreds and thousands of people are depending on them. To the outside eye, making sure that happens might look easy.  But from firsthand experience, I can tell you that farming is anything but.

“We put so much time and so much effort into making something happen, when it finally does happen, we’re pretty proud of it.” – Farmland.

Thanks to the Indiana Soybean Alliance, the Indiana Farm Bureau, and BASF, I had the opportunity to attend an advanced screening of the movie and I absolutely loved it! I’m not sure if it was because it was such a great representation of the different areas of farming and what all it takes to be grow the food we all depend on, or because of how proud it made me feel to be a part of agriculture, but I truly hope that everyone takes the time to watch it! (Oh and maybe bring a tissue just in case, as I may have gotten a little tear-y eyed at the end.)

Farmland and meeting Leighton Cooley

We got to meet one of the farmers from the movie, Leighton Cooley! A fourth generation poultry farmer, Leighton operates four farms in georgia with his father. In addition to chickens, he also has a cow-calf operation and grows hay. Leighton and his wife have two sons.

Farmland will be released in select theaters across the country starting TODAY! Please check www.FarmlandFilm.com for screening dates and locations. In Indiana, it will be showing at the Landmark Keystone Theater in Indianapolis.

If you don’t see a theater near you, their Facebook page said to send them a message with your email address and they’ll add you to the list to receive updates about the digital download and DVD release of the film.

Please do me, and yourself, a favor and go see this film! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Chelsea

AGtivities on Campus – Purdue Ag Week 2014

As I write this, I am sitting on the couch watching the NCAA March Madness championship game (well listening and glancing over my laptop), but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to tell you about the awesome #AGtivities that are happening at my Alma mater this week.

Students from the Purdue College of Agriculture are hosting Purdue Ag Week on campus! Ag Week is a student-organized event at Purdue University that aims to show the campus what agriculture gives. The Purdue Ag Task Force, a Purdue student organization, leads the event and aspires to make Purdue Ag Week an event where the various facets of local, national and international agriculture are understood and celebrated.

imagine a world without agriculture

This year’s theme is “ImAGine a World without Agriculture.” There will be over 25 different events allowing students to learn about various aspects of agriculture. Each event is organized by a different College of Agriculture group.

Events kicked off on Sunday with the Farmer 5k to raise money for Food Finders Food Bank, and a private screening of the movie, Farmland, which highlights the lives of six young farmers and the risks they face every day to run their own farms. I have also had the opportunity to see this movie, which hits theaters May 1, and I really hope you guys check it out at your local theater (but that’s a separate blog post all in itself).

Monday’s list of “AGtivities” included a SSC table where students could learn about sustainable agriculture, a Food Science – the Missing Link event which featured how ice cream is made and handed out samples to students, and an event that has a special place in my heart, Milk Monday!

When I was at Purdue, my club, Ag Communicators of Tomorrow, teamed up with Dairy Club to create Milk Monday as part of “Grand Alternative” events for Grand Prix week. In partnership with Dairy Promotions of Indiana, we handed out free grilled cheese and milk to students as a way to promote the benefits of milk and the dairy industry.

Since then, the event has been continued each year by Purdue Dairy Club and was held today as part of Purdue Ag Week.

Check out their recap from today’s Milk Monday festivities!

Purdue Ag Week is off to a great start and still has plenty of great events left, so be sure to check them out if you’re around campus this week!

purdue ag week

I know not all of you will be able to make it to campus, so if you are out of town like me, but still want to learn more and keep up with Ag Week AGtivities, be sure to Like Purdue Ag Week on Facebook and follow @PurdueAgWeek on Twitter!

Keep up the great work, Purdue ag students! I’ll be here cheering you on with my Milk Monday shirt!

MilkMonday shirt

 

Caring for the Caretakers – Celebrating Farmers on National Ag Day

Farmers are caretakers. They care for their crops, to ensure they’re the highest quality products for consumers; their animals, to help them grow healthy and protect them from the elements; their equipment, to ensure that it runs correctly to get the job done; their family, to provide for them, love them, and help guide them in their lives; and also for the land, to ensure that it is around for many generations to come.

I was reading a blog where the author was talking about her husband, a dairy farmer, who when his alarm goes off at 4 a.m. each morning, doesn’t hit snooze like the majority of people (myself included some mornings), but instead, “jumps up, splashes water on his face, gets dressed, laces up his work boots, and heads out the door to the barn.”

Imagine doing that, every day of the year. No sleeping in, no sick days, no weather delays…4 a.m. sharp. His cows depend on him, and as a farmer, there’s no option of quitting or letting them down.

If you’re asking yourself why someone would want to do that, she answers it in her very next line. “It’s simple—dairy farmers like Scott work relentlessly hard 365 days a year. Deep within their hearts and souls, they genuinely care for their land, for their cattle and for their family.”

And she is exactly right. Her husband doesn’t think about himself, or how tired be may be…his cows, and his farm, are his first priority. They don’t need us to care for them, they don’t ask for recognition… but I think they deserve it!

What they’re doing is so vital to our society, but there have been many times where they don’t always get the recognition and “care” that they deserve in return. The agriculture community cares about farmers, but we want others to join us too!

This week we are celebrating National Ag Week, with Tuesday, March 25, being National Ag Day. Sponsored by the Agriculture Council for America, it’s a day to recognize and celebrate agriculture and the farmers who keep the industry going.

In our country, we are so blessed to have abundant, quality, accessible and affordable food, yet it isn’t always appreciated. Being 3-4 generations removed from the farm, consumers aren’t as informed about where their food comes from and all of the work and “care” that goes into it from farmers all across America.

This isn’t because farmers try to hide things from the public, or don’t want people to know about their food. It’s exactly the opposite! If you talk to a farmer, sharing their knowledge with others is something they actually enjoy doing.

Unfortunately though, in the last couple of years, all that’s been heard, or at least publicized about agriculture on the internet and news publications, are the “issues”. Most of the time, what reaches the public is misinformation, and overly emotionalized exaggerations from anti-ag groups with large marketing budgets, not from the true source, the farmer.

But in the last year, which was actually named the Year of the Farmer, the agriculture community and farmers have made great strides in trying to better connect with consumers to tell their stories and educate people about where their food comes from. As a member of the agriculture community and having grown up around farming, I am so thrilled to see agriculture be highlighted and honored on the national level.

Here are just a few examples:

So God Made a Farmer

So God Made a Farmer” was the name given to a speech given by the radio broadcaster Paul Harvey at a 1978 FFA convention. The speech was used in a commercial by Dodge Ram during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVII in honor of farmers. Also, in support of farming, Dodge agreed to donated money for each view of the video, totaling $1,000,000, to the FFA Foundation. This goal was reached in less than five days.

The Great American Wheat Harvest

The Great American Wheat Harvest is a documentary film that will tell the story of hard-working custom harvesters who travel from the heart of Texas to the Canadian border harvesting the wheat that feeds our Great Country and the World. This film is being produced by award-winning Director and Producer, Conrad Weaver. It shares the challenges that are now threatening that way of life passed on from generation from generation. Much has changed and from a historical perspective. It is important to document the lifestyle and heritage before it is lost. The Great American Wheat Harvest Movie is the behind-the-scenes look and tribute to those working daily to produce our food and those gathering the harvest.

Farmland the Movie -I get to attend a screening of this movie on Thursday and I’m can’t wait!

Through this film from award-winning director, James Moll, you’ll step inside the world of farming for a first-hand glimpse into the lives of young farmers and ranchers. You’ll learn about their high risk jobs and the passion for a way of life that’s been passed down from generation to generation.

Why I Farm

This year, in honor of all farmers, Beck’s Hybrids has started a movement. A movement that tells the story of the American farmer. The “Why I Farm” movement pays tribute to farmers for their hard work, dedication, and passion to a job that they do selflessly, seven days a week. Through video, 16 Midwest farmers have shared their farming stories and the emotion and passion they have for what they do is inspiring. The video above is one of my favorites from their campaign!

Each of these videos highlight different aspects of farming and agriculture, but they have one common theme, they show that farmers really do CARE about what they do and CARE about the quality of their products.

During Ag Week, I want to encourage you to make more of an effort to learn and understand how food and fiber products are produced. But don’t just rely on searching Google! Get out there and talk to farmers, your local Farm Bureau, and agriculture organizations in your area. And join in on your local Ag Day celebrations!

For starters, if you’re in the downtown Indy area, stop by the state house and join Indiana’s Family of Farmers in their Ag Day Celebration! IFOF Ag Day Flyer

From watching and learning from my grandpa and family on the dairy farm, to interviewing and talking with farmers on a daily basis, I have witnessed that farmers truly are caretakers.

Please join me in expressing care for farmers and thanking them…not only on National Ag Day, but every day throughout the year, as they do for us.

For more on National Ag Week, National Ag Day Agriculture and Farmers, check out the links below:

 

(Header image graphic by BoilermakerAg.com – please give proper photo credits if shared and do not crop out logo. Thank you – share away! Photos for this graphic provided by Agriculture Council of America and Summerhouse Studios Photography.)

 

The Peterson Farm Bros’ Beef with Chipotle (Part 1)

boilermakerag:

This is a great blog written by a family farmer in Kansas about the misinformation that is being spread about agriculture and the distrust of farmers that occurs because of it. This is a very well written and respectful article and I hope you guys keep these things in mind when you’re reading articles on the internet!

-Chelsea

Originally posted on The Peterson Farm Blog:

By Greg Peterson

Many of you have probably seen or heard about Chipotle’s commercial, “The Scarecrow” and their recent video series, “Farmed and Dangerous.” Chipotle claims these spots are shedding light on the “inhumane” and “unsustainable” nature of “industrial farming.” They try to use the videos to inform people of the perceived problems with the current food system, such as the difference between meat that is ethically raised and meat that isn’t. Their approach seems genuine and sincere at first and is attracting a lot of attention from consumers.

To be clear, I do agree with the general ideals Chipotle claims they are supporting:

  • The consumer does deserve healthy meat from humanely raised animals
  • The family farmer is who should be raising their food
  • Ethical behavior should be of greater concern than profit.

What I don’t agree with is Chipotle’s definitions of family farmers, humanely raised animals, and ethical behavior…

View original 728 more words

Transforming Lives Through the Power of Food – Marion County Young Farmers Volunteer at Second Helpings

Here in the United States, we are very fortunate to have access to an abundant and low-cost food supply, thanks to the freedoms of our culture and the hardworking farmers that provide it. But have you ever had something you swore that you would use when you were in the store, but ended up tossing the entire package because you didn’t use it and it went bad? Or have you ever been to an event where they plated meals that ended up with empty seats and leftover meals?

I don’t like to admit it, but I have guilty of this before. I  have gotten better at only buying the food I’m going to definitely use, but the unfortunate truth is that useable food is wasted every single day. With the bulk of that waste being in the food service industry.

And that is how,  three chefs — Kristen Cordoza, Bob Koch, and Jean Paison, formed Second Helpings, Inc. They saw firsthand the tremendous amount of waste in the food service industry and were acutely aware that most programs serving the disadvantaged often struggled to provide for their clients’ most basic nutritional needs. So the three chefs set forth to solve all four problems—food waste, hunger, job training, and a source of skilled labor for the local food service industry—with one solution: turn unused food into meals and jobs.

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Second Helpings began in 1998.They accept donated perishable and overstocked food to prepare nutritious meals for thousands of hungry children and adults every day, and distributes them free of charge through local social service agencies in Greater Indianapolis. Second Helpings also trains unemployed and underemployed adults for meaningful careers in the culinary industry with their Culinary Job Training Program.

“We’re more than a soup kitchen or a food pantry – we’re a community kitchen. We’re not just  teaching people to cook – we’re providing an avenue for people to transform their own lives. We don’t just collect food – we rescue food because we can’t stand to see it go to waste when others have none. Today, the need is so much greater than we ever imagined when we began – so we’ll go on undeterred. ” – via SecondHelpings.org

In their first full month of operation, 37 volunteers helped rescue 7,000 pounds of food and prepare 3,074 meals. Thanks to their founders, partners, board, staff, and volunteers, they currently turn over a 100,000 pounds of rescued food into 50,000 meals every month! What an impact!

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Here are their running totals of meals served, pounds of food recovered, and culinary graduates from this month, year and since the beginning in 1998. Pretty impressive to see their impact!

To reach this accomplishment each month, Second Helpings relies on 700 regular volunteers to fight hunger in our community. Volunteers chop vegetables and cook meals in their Hunger Relief Kitchen. They deliver food to recipient agencies and lend their expertise to office operations, and they also share Second Helpings’ story and impact in the community.

And last week I, along with the Marion County Young Farmers, got to be one of these volunteers!

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Marion Country Farm Bureau Young Farmers volunteering at Second Helpings, Inc. Photo courtesy of Chelsea Nord.

We arrived and helped full-time volunteers complete various tasks in their Hunger Relief Kitchen. We prepped ingredients that would later be used to create the delicious meals they serve to the community, and helped clean up the kitchen at the end of the evening. The main ingredient we prepped was chopping onions. I did have to apologize to my fiance and coworkers for the intense onion smell that lingered on my hands (despite many hand-washings), but just knowing that I was able to help in someway made it a very wonderful and rewarding experience.

Marion County Farm Bureau (MCFB) has been a long-time supporter of Second Helpings and wanted to continue that support through volunteering. In addition to monetary donations, MCFB Incorporated and Insurance purchased eight livestock projects from Marion County 4-H youth and donated the meat to Second Helpings. This is the fourth year that MCFB has purchased livestock at the annual Marion County Fair and donating the product to help feed Indiana communities. Over 1,300 pounds of meat was provided to Second Helpings.

Marion County Farm Bureau President, Mike Honeycutt, pictured with a Marion County 4-H youth and his livestock project, which was donated to Second Helpings.

Marion County Farm Bureau President, Mike Honeycutt, pictured with a Marion County 4-H youth and his livestock project, which was donated to Second Helpings.

As a group, we had a great evening volunteering at Second Helpings and met some wonderful people. We hope to make it more of a regular event and are grateful to be a part of their mission to transform lives through the power of food.  Thank you, Second Helpings!

If you live in the Indy area and would like to join us in volunteering, or learn more about Second Helpings, visit their website at www.SecondHelpings.org, LIKE them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

 

Happy Meals To Promote The Importance Of Reading – McIndyMom’s Give-A-Way

As I scrolled through social media pages and blog posts over the weekend, I started to see the familiar “thankful” posts that are published each November. I always enjoy these.  I have never actually written a “thankful” post on my blog or social media pages, but they do make me reflect on all the things I am thankful for in my life.

My health, family, friends, faith, and my job are among the few obvious things I initially thought of, but as I reflected more, I know that I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am now without the solid foundation of skills and values that my parents instilled in me at a young age.

One of the most important of those being reading. Growing up, I can remember learning my ABC’s, my parents helping teach me to read with books like, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” (anyone remember that one?), and taking trips to my local Library with my Aunt Beth.

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At the time, I may not have realized how valuable those experiences were, but the very fact that I am able to sit here and share my experiences through words just shows how many things in my life, as well as yours, are affected by our ability to read and write. And looking back, I have really come to cherish those memories.

Last Friday, November 1, was National Family Literacy Day and in support of this cause, McDonald’s launched a National Happy Meal Books Program to invite families to celebrate the joy of reading. Through November 14, children who order McDonald’s Happy Meals will find one of four limited edition books featuring stories that bring nutrition, imagination, and play to life. Each book also comes with it’s very own bookmark that kids can personalize.

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I think this is so neat! I mean, the toys we got in Happy Meals when I was younger were cool and all, but books are something interesting and practical that kids can keep instead of hiding them in between the car seat cushions, or leaving them on the floor for you to step on, when they get bored with them.

Have you seen these books in your kids’ Happy Meals yet?

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Along with these books being placed in Happy Meals nationwide, McDonald’s of Central Indiana is leading a “Give a Book, Get a Book” campaign! By donating a gently used children’s book, customers will receive a “Be Our Guest” card for a free Happy Meal to say thank you for helping to share the gift of reading with others in the Indy community.

Book donation sites will be set up around the area at the Ronald McDonald House, local libraries, and Indy Reads from Nov 1 – 14. In addition, participating libraries are hosting a “Happy Meal Day” with activities for kids and McDonald’s Happy Meal Books. To find a full list of book donation sites and participating libraries, click here: http://www.indywithkids.com/2013/11/happy-meal-day-give-a-book-get-a-book-locations/

Now, I know not all of you are in the Indy area, but I hope everyone can help me promote this event! To help in promoting the “Give a Book, Get a Book” campaign, McDonald’s Happy Meal Books program, and National Family Literacy Day, I am hosting a give-a-way for anyone who shares this post on their social media pages!

By entering the contest, and sharing these events, one reader will win a week of happy meal coupons, a $10 Amazon gift card and a copy of a Happy Meal Book! (Everything will even be put together in a Happy Meal box!)

Here’s how to enter:

1. Share this blog on Facebook, Twitter and or Pinterest leave a comment below with the URL to your post. Be sure to use the hashtag #mcIndyMoms so we can see your posts as well!

For additional entries: (each of these need a blog comment with the URL as well)

2. Tweet About The Give-A-Way:

Help @Chelsea_PA @indywithkids & @MyIndyMcDonalds promote reading! #McIndyMoms http://bit.ly/McIndyMoms 

3.Like IndyWithKids on Facebook

4. Subscribe to Boilermakerag.com

5. Follow @MyIndyMcDonalds on Twitter

6. Follow @Chelsea_PA on Twitter

The give-a-way will be open until this Sunday, November 10 so be sure to share with all your friends this week! Thanks to Indy with Kids and McDonald’s of Central Indiana for providing the awesome prizes and promoting the importance of reading!
If you’d like to increase your chances of winning, check out some of my fellow bloggers who are hosting this give-a-way too!

What was your favorite book as a child?

 

WINNER UPDATE:

We have a winner!!  Congratulations to Angie MCKie! You are the winner of the McIndyMom’s prize pack! Please email me at boilermakerag@gmail.com to claim your prize! Thanks to everyone who shared my posts and followed the social media pages! Stay tuned to BoilermakerAg.com for more blog posts and potential give-a-ways! 

Entries were put into a list randomizer via random.org and chosen from the results.
McDonald's Winner Close Up

Here is the full list of results:

McDonald's Winner 1

Happy 80th Birthday, FFA Jacket!

Twas the night before Christmas (National FFA Convention), when all through the house (hotel), not a creature was stirring…… (wait…no. that doesn’t work either… who am I kidding, the kids are too excited to sleep!)

Come daylight, (probably as you’re reading this,) more than 50,000 FFA students from across America will be flocking to the Convention Center in Louisville, KY for the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo! All wearing the exact. same. thing. You know…those blue jackets!

If you aren’t familiar with the story behind these jackets, there’s a lot more to them than just corduroy and gold thread!

According to the National FFA Timeline and other sources, the jackets were originally created to be worn by the Fredericktown Band of the Fredericktown FFA Chapter, and soon the jackets caught on with other chapters. The Official FFA Jacket was adopted in 1933 as the Organization’s Official Dress and now serves as a symbol of professionalism and pride. For more on the history of the FFA Jacket, check out “Breaking Out The Blue Jackets”.

As a former FFA member, I know how proud these students are to represent their states and chapters by wearing this jacket. It shows their community involvement, leadership, and most importantly, their passion for agriculture.

And as I noticed while reading the Convention program booklet, this year the National FFA Organization is celebrating 80 years of the FFA jacket!

Wow! That is 80 years worth of students becoming great leaders through FFA, and based on the sheer number of students attending Convention this year, there are no signs of slowing down!

So Happy 80th Birthday, FFA Jacket! You sure do look good for your age! :)

Celebrating 80 Years Of The FFA Jacket

Graphic by BoilermakerAg.com – please give proper photo credits if shared and do not crop out logo. Thank you – share away!

See you at Convention!

Do you remember getting your FFA jacket?

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