Category Archives: Agvocating
As a 20-something living in Indy, I decided to join this cool group called Indy Hub that advocates for Indy’s twenty-/thirty-somethings, and acts as a resource to help us learn about and become a part of the city.
If you’ve read any of my blog posts, or any social media posts for that matter, (or heck, just by looking at my blog header photo) you can probably tell that I am passionate about agriculture and food. So when I heard that Indy Hub was putting on an event called “Raise Your IQ: Indiana Food” I knew I couldn’t miss it!
At the event we were given the opportunity to have breakout sessions with two of the four panel members and then hear from all of them during a panel discussion. The panel members included:
Don Villwock, 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 Robinson, 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 Felege Hiywot Center on her journey of community development and youth empowerment through a tiny urban garden.
The two panel members I listed to were Clay from Sun King, and Aster from the Felege Hiywot Center.
I’ve heard of Sun King before, but who wants to pass up a free sample and be able to pick the brain of one of the most popular local breweries in the city? Not this girl!
Clay talked about the increase in appreciation for local artisans, local agriculture and how people are recognizing that there are opportunities for these things within the local community. He also said that he is proud to be local and wants to stay local. He wants people in Chicago to say, “When are you expanding to Chicago?” so that he can tell them, “Never, when are you going to come to Indiana?”
He wants his beer to be known as “Indy’s local beer” that’s exclusive to the city and people come to Indy to buy it. And I love that philosophy! I know not everything can be kept local, but it boosts the economy and ups the hype about the cool things we’re doing in Indiana. Keep up the good work, Clay!
DidYouKnow: Indiana’s popcorn crop is the second-largest in the country and Sun King used this as their inspiration for their Popcorn Pilsner that is crafted with 2 pounds of Indiana grown popcorn per keg!
My second session was with Aster from the Felege Hiywot Center and I was very interested to learn more about this organization. Aster came here from Ethiopia and recognized that kids in her neighborhood weren’t appreciating everything they have here in the U.S. (education, resources, etc.) so she started the center to serve urban youth of Indianapolis, and teach them about gardening and environmental preservation as well as encourage them to embrace the virtues of community service. They have a really neat story so be sure to learn more about them on their website!
What I thought was so neat about her story was her passion for youth.
“Be patient and get them involved,” said Aster. “Also really listen to their ideas and be the resource the need. Sustainability continues through generations and the youth have to be able to carry it on.”
And that is so true! I am passionate about teaching youth about their food and agriculture and it was refreshing to see her putting an emphasis on it. I was so inspired by Aster’s work that I might actually help volunteer there! And you can too!
To end the night we heard from the panel and talked about what is exciting about Indiana food, sustainability, and how we can continue the conversation about the importance of knowledge about our food.
Indiana Farm Bureau President and Indiana farmer, Don Villwock said that he is excited about the opportunities for young and smaller famers to get involved with the increase in the local food movement.
As a farmer, he also emphasized the importance of sustainability.
“Sustainable farming is leaving his farm better than when his grandfather farmed it,” Don explained. “Water is clean, soil health is better, air is less polluted, and the crops that we raise are healthy, more nutritious and safer.”
This was such a powerful quote to me because it shows that despite what some might think, farmers really do care about their land and the crops they grow. That is their livelihood and they eat the same things we do so they want to make sure to take care of their resources.
My final take-a-way point of the night was from Dr. Lisa Harris about making time to actually gather around a table for a meal together. This really stuck with me because by being from a large family, this was one of the things I most valued about growing up. And I want to encourage everyone to make an effort to get back to cooking meals at home and eating at the dinner table. It sets a good example for your children and is such a good way to keep you connected to your food, and as a family.
Overall this event was so much fun! There was a great turnout with people from many different professions around the city. I caught up with a few participants to see what they took away from the discussion.
Click the link above to listen to physician Risheet Patel of Fishers and psychiatry resident Aimee Sirois share their take on learning more about happenings in Indiana food.
Thanks to everyone who came out to encourage the conversation about Indiana Food! I can’t wait until the next IndyHub event!
Today is National Ag Day!
National Ag Day was started by Agriculture Council of America (ACA) which is an organization uniquely composed of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities dedicated to increasing the public awareness of agriculture’s vital role in our society. The Agriculture Council of America and the National Ag Day program was started in 1973.
It’s a day of recognition – for the farmers, ranchers, families, distributers, businesses, and people that make agriculture in our country so great!
It’s a day of support – for all of those involved in the agricultural industry and for all of the laws and policies that affect how their farms and businesses operate.
It’s a day of education – to promote the facts about agriculture and the process of how products get from the farm to your fork.
And it’s a day of pride – for all those involved in agriculture to share their pride for what they do, and help promote agriculture by sharing their story.
And today – I want to share my #AgProud story!
I originally wanted to write this post for a fellow blogger friend Ryan Goodman over at I Am Agriculture Proud a long time ago, but since I never published it, now seemed like the perfect time to share it with everyone!
The story of BoilermakerAg starts in a small town in southern Indiana on my grandpa’s dairy farm.
My parents didn’t directly farm but my aunt and uncle, along with my grandpa until he retired, ran the farm and babysat me during my very early years. From a very young age, I learned about the meaning of hard work, caring for animals, and the basics of farming.
Some of my favorite farm memories are helping deliver calves in the field with my uncle, helping bottle feed and care for calves, helping milk cows, and the smell of the milk house.
One specific memory was when I was helping my uncle on the farm and all of a sudden he said we had to jump in the truck and go up to the hill where a cow had started going into labor. The mom was having difficulty and if we didn’t get there fast, we could lose the calf, or the mom. We got there and he ended up having to “pull the calf” which is when the calf isn’t delivering in the right direction and you have to gently pull the calf out to help the mom with the process. Luckily, we got there just in time and both mom and calf were just fine. It was an incredible moment to witness and be a part of, and it was when I realized that I had a passion for animals and agriculture.
When the calves were a little older, they were moved into the barn into stalls where we could monitor them and bottle feed them. This was a favorite memory because as a little kid, it was fun to care for them and funny because they were all slobbery and it was like a little game with the calf sometimes to try to pull the bottle away from you.
The other best memory I have from that time is helping milk the cows and the smell of the milk house. Any time I ever visit a dairy farm, that smell is always so comforting and takes me back to my childhood days on the farm.
I had agriculture running through both sides of my family too, but I didn’t learn about that until more recently in my life. My dad sells agricultural insurance and sold seed earlier in his career and my mom’s family was involved in agriculture as well.
My mom’s dad and grandpa actually grew seed corn in the 1950s and had a hog farm for a while until they opened a campground and hand-turned pottery store in the late 1960s.
My grandpa still tells me stories about those times and its always so interesting to hear about that time period and how agriculture has changed since then.
From there my ag story continues with me being in 4-H and FFA and showing pigs at the county fair. I learned a lot about other species of livestock and this is where I got exposed to Purdue University – where I would later attend the College of Ag.
Growing up in rural Indiana also gained me exposure to all areas of agriculture through my friends (if their families farmed) or through the extension service or 4-H.
But it wasn’t until going to college and starting my career where I learned just how fortunate I was to have grown up around agriculture and how it has helped me become the person I am proud to be today.
I ended up majoring in Agricultural Communication with a minor in Animal Science and now work in marketing at a seed corn company in central Indiana.
I get to interact with farmers all across the Midwest, hearing their stories and sharing them in our newsletter. I always enjoy these interactions because it can take me anywhere from the farmer’s kitchen table, farm shop, or even driving with them through the fields.
I always take these opportunities to really listen to their stories and make mental note of any advice they can give me or facts about agriculture that they have to share.
I had to leave my rural setting to live in the city, but my rural roots in agriculture haven’t, and never will, leave me.
I am Agriculture Proud because my families have been a part of agriculture for several generations, I have been taught the meaning of hard work, getting your hands dirty, and respecting the land and Mother Nature…because as a farmer, your livelihood depends on it.
I am Agriculture Proud to continue the involvement in agriculture within my family by sharing my stories and experiences in the ag industry.
I am Agriculture Proud to be associated with some of the nicest, most honest, passionate people on this Earth.
My agriculture story could go on for pages, but I hope this gives just a peak into why I am, and always will be AGRICULTURE PROUD!
What’s your Ag Proud story?
Thanks to everyone who participated in this contest!
Congrats! Hope you have a great time!
Which weekend do you plan to attend? I’d love to hear about your visit!
****Give-A-Way contest ended, but still check out the festival info below!*****
DID YOU KNOW that the National Maple Syrup Festival is held right here in Indiana? I had no idea!
This unique annual event is held at Burton’s Maplewood Farm, located near Medora, Indiana. Nestled in the rolling hills of Southern Indiana, festival goers can enjoy the taste of country made hot pancakes with 100% pure Maple Syrup all day every day as well as experience a variety of fun-filled events, activities, Live-music & demonstrations are sure to keep you entertained and coming back for more year after year. Maple Syrup Producers from every maple syrup producing state in America are invited to come and share their version of 100% pure Maple Syrup so get your sweet tooth ready!
Here’s how to enter:
1. Share this blog with your friends on Facebook or Twitter and leave a comment below with the link to your post.
For more chances to enter:
2. Follow me on Twitter at @Chelsea_PA and post the tweet below. Then leave an additional comment below with the link to the tweet!
“I want to join @Chelsea_PA at #MapleFest13 with @maplewoodfarms, @kingarthurflour and @basilmomma! #maplesyrup #SVChallenge”
3. Subscribe to my blog! Follow it above if you are a wordpress user, or just subscribe via email. Once you follow my blog, leave another comment saying you did that as well.
BEST OF LUCK! The contest will only be open until Monday at noon so don’t miss it!
(Sorry for the short notice, but we have time to mail you the tickets!)
ALSO………….King Arthur Flour is holding the KAF Sweet Victory Challenge recipe contest and you could win!
To enter, create a recipe using pure maple syrup and King Arthur Flour and you could win big! The contest will be held during the National Maple Syrup Festival on March 2nd, 9th. There are two divisions (Adult, Youth), with three Categories (Savory Main Dish, Dessert, Breakfast) for each division. Visit http://www.sweetvictorychallenge.com/ to learn more and enter. HURRY THOUGH! Entries for this are due TOMORROW!
2013 National Maple Syrup Festival
March 2nd & 3rd, 9th & 10th
8121 W. County Rd. 75 South
Medora, IN 47260
Children 4 yrs old and under: Free!
Youth (5 to 15 yrs old): $6.00
Adults (16 – 64 yrs old): $10.00
Seniors (65+): $8.00
Cool thing to know! – Donate (1) canned good for a $2.00 discount off. All donated food will be given to area food pantries.
I will be attending the festival as well so hope you all come and join me!
Check out some more info about the National Maple Syrup Festival in these articles!
- My Indiana Home: http://my-indiana-home.com/the-national-maple-syrup-festival-a-sweet-celebration/
- Inside Indiana Business: https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?id=57951&ts=true#middle
- Just Short Of Crazy Blog: http://justshortofcrazy.com/2013/02/national-maple-syrup-festival-sweet-victory-recipe-challenge-svchallenge/
I’m sorry about not being able to blog much lately, but I still want to share good information with you! I found this blog from fellow ag blogger Marie of OregonGreen about Farming in the Winter. She makes a good point that most people don’t know about all that goes on in the winter on farms all across America. It’s a lot busier than you think. Check out her blog to learn more about farming in the winter!
I stopped by a local restaurant the other night to pickup dinner. While I was waiting the manager asked “Are you farming this winter?” I responded, “Yes of course.” Manager, “What is there to do this time of year?”
It may be a slower time of year but there is ALWAYS something to do, contrary to popular belief.
Maintenance & Projects
Each tractor, swather, combine, semi-truck, sprayer and fertilizer buggy is gone through in detail. Changing oil, replacing belts, repairing temporary fixes from harvest and any other thing that may arise. We do this each winter to make sure our equipment is taken care of. Things break on the farm but poor maintenance shouldn’t be the reason.
This year we have a big project in the shop. Our three-wheeled fertilizer spreader/buggy is getting tracks! Why? Because we get stuck. Working on wet ground during spring fertilizing makes getting…
View original post 491 more words
As I sit here with all of this warm weather, (SERIOUSLY? 70 degrees in DECEMBER?) I have decided that it would be a perfect evening to enjoy a glass of wine outside and embrace the few hours of daylight we have left. And to add to that, my wine of choice for the night would be the new Hoosier Red I got at the Mystique Winery and Vineyard grand opening event last month!
Never heard of them? WELL…. Let me telllllll you, they are awesome!
Mystique Winery is a new vineyard, winery, and tasting room that recently opened in my small hometown of Lynnville, IN. Never heard of it? (Trust me, it exists.)
How cool right?! I was extremely excited to learn that we now had a winery in my hometown!
Mystique Winery is a family venture that started as a dream back in 2008 by the Clutter family with the first planting of vines in 2009 consisting of Niagra, Steuben, Vignoles, and Chambourcin grapes.
(DidYouKnow: It takes 3 years to get a crop off of a vine. Talk about needing to have patience!)
It has been a long journey for the Clutters, but through hard work and dedication, Mystique Winery & Vineyard has finally become a reality.
A couple facts about Mystique Winery:
- It is Warrick County’s first winery nestled on the knobs of Lynnville, Indiana.
- They’re also a part of the Hoosier Wine Trail.
- They have a Mardi Gras themed tasting room that is perfect for visiting with friends and enjoying Mystique’s southern Indiana hospitality. (To learn more about why they chose a Mardi Gras theme, check out the article on them from the Evansville Courier and Press.)
- They have outdoor seating and a fire pit – this would be perfect for my evening scenario I mentioned at the beginning! (If only I was in southern Indiana right now…)
- Fact: They have great wine!
Their Grand Opening was on November 17, 2012 and it was a HUGE success! Owner Patti Clutter said, “It was an awesome day and we were so in awe of the support from Warrick County, family and friends. We had over 25 worker bees that worked their tails off all day and the parking attendants said we had over 1200 people and possibly a lot more!”
They had activities all day starting at 11a.m. and were busy even past dark! It was a great time and I definitely want to back! Due to other obligations that day, I didn’t make it until around 4p.m. but it was still a blast! I did miss the Honey Vines who they had perform, but I heard they were AWESOME! I ended up purchasing their Christmas CD so I still got a little taste of their music.
I tried several of their wines and they even had wine slushies! (To. Die. For!) Here were a few of my favorite wines:
By the end of the evening, my family stopped by too so it ended up being a fun family outing!
I want to send out a personal congratulation to Mystique Winery and Vineyards and the whole Clutter family for a GREAT JOB WELL DONE on opening their Winery!
Next time, I definitely have to get one of their T-shirts!
My little hometown of Lynnville, IN is a thriving
metropolis one stoplight town, like many small towns in America, that I love dearly. It has the basics – gas station, grocery store, bank, hair salons, high school, a couple restaurants and now… a winery. WAIT, what? A WINERY? IN LYNNVILLE?
(If you were from that area, you would understand my surprise.) But regardless, how awesome!
The Clutter family from Lynnville started the journey of building their vineyard and winery in 2008 with nine rows of grapevines. And now, with a lot of hard work and determination behind them, they are proud to present the grand opening of Mystique Winery and Vineyard!
This Saturday – TOMORROW – they are having their Grand Opening Event and everyone should definitely stop by!
Here’s the 411:
Mystique Winery and Vineyard Grand Opening Event
Saturday Nov. 17, 2012
11am – 6pm
(Or as Patti says, until the last person leaves) – gotta love that small town hospitality 🙂
There will be wine tasting, (wait, duh Chels, of course there will be wine tasting, I mean, it is a winery), tours, and a whole lot more! The Honey Vines (Andrea Wirth & Melanie Bosza) will also be playing from 12-4p.m. and from what I’ve heard, they’re pretty awesome.
I’ll have a full blog about Mystique Winery coming soon, but make sure to stop by their grand opening event tomorrow! You won’t be disappointed!
Hope to see you there!
Rise and shine everyone! It’s super early but I’m on my way down to NATIONAL FFA Convention today in downtown Indy. If you don’t know what this is, it’s a BIG deal. Around 50,000 FFA students will be In Indy for the convention and it will be a sea of blue jackets!
Do you know why they wear those jackets? The link below is from a post I wrote about National FFA week last year, check it out to learn all about FFA and those blue jackets!
Have a great National FFA Convention everyone!
I haven’t written an Ag blog in a while but two separate things have come out in the news recently that I just can’t avoid addressing. I see several things every day about agriculture, especially things on social media. And honestly- about 85% of it is incorrect. I’ve figured out why it happens and two specific examples come to mind.
An article came out saying that Dunkin Donuts has decided to start using cage free eggs and gestation crate free pork. Ok, that’s their decision. But the part that frustrates me as an advocate for the agricultural industry is that consumers are so misinformed and the people who publish these stories go to sources that aren’t fact based.
For instance – the source for the Dunkin donuts article was none other than the director of corporate policy of HSUS (If you aren’t familiar with them, HSUS stands for The Humane Society of the United States – an extremist animal rights organization… Not to be confused with your local humane society.) They have an agenda and hire employees to push those agendas and publicize it everywhere.
The Associated Press wrote this article and I’m pretty disappointed in them as a fellow journalist for having such a slanted story. They didn’t even try to talk to any university ag scientists or farmers about the topic, they just put the “tug at the heartstrings” opinion in the spotlight.
This is where the agriculture industry (me included – that’s why I’m writing this post) needs to work harder to get the scientific information out to the public so that when someone (HSUS) explains gestation cratesas breeding crates where the pigs can’t move for four years (not true), the public will be educated with the facts and knowledge to know the difference.
NOTE: Gestation crates are individual housing for sows during the time of pregnancy which are used so that individual sows can be fed relative to their individual needs and to reduce the impact of aggressive behaviors seen in group housing. One important fact that is left out is that the pigs are moved to farrowing crates once they give birth to better care for their litter and reduce the risk of the moms accidentally stepping on the piglets. They don’t stay in gestation crates their entire lives.
Second example: Another article was published about a man who was eaten by his hogs. Right away people are freaked out, but there are questions we need to ask: what breed of hog were they? Were they castrated or boars? Did the man fall and start bleeding? People don’t think to ask these questions but they’re important. These are some of the reasons we castrate pigs and dock their tails. They live in social groups which creates dominance (just like in our society) so the more dominant they are, the more aggressive they become. The reason we dock their tails is because if they get in a fight, the aggressive pig will bite the other pig’s tail off and cause injury.
The news makes this out to be that all pigs are dangerous and that “no one is safe around them” kind of story. Again, not true. The questions above need to be answered and there have to be other explanations than his pigs just “attacked” him. They don’t do that for fun.
Farmers and veterinarians know how to properly care for their animals and practices put in place such as tail docking, castrating, and teeth clipping are there to protect the pigs and the caretakers. (Think about this as declawing your cat so they can’t scratch you or the fellow dog.)
But the main point of my blog today is to highlight the fact that the information put out by these groups is so easy to find that no wonder people believe the extremists. Just the other day, I Googled “average life expectancy of a sow” and not one of the top ten results was from a trusted (educational) source! No universities, no farmers, no vets. Just animal activist groups, pro-vegetarianism websites, people who don’t provide the right information. How can we expect the public to find out the truth if it’s hidden in the Bermuda triangle of Google?
One thing I think those types of organizations get right (when it comes to publicizing their information) is their Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is the process of using good key words and search words when publishing your information. Important parts of this include good, descriptive titles, tags (especially for blogs) and getting it out on social media sites to spread awareness and raise viewing numbers for that information. To learn more about how to improve your SEO, click here.
SO HERE’S MY CALL TO ACTION:
Consumer Challenge: go out at learn something new today about some part of agriculture! Just make sure it’s from a reliable source like universities, or farmers!
Agvocate Bloggers – keep posting your factual, educational information and work on your blog’s SEO to help bring it to the front of the search page.
Universities and Veterinarians- when you publish educational agricultural information put it on Google and make it easily accessible to the public! You can’t admit that the first place you go to look something up isn’t google? Help others learn the things we’ve been trying to tell them!
Also, share it on social media! This is the fastest way to get your information to the public!
Have any of you taken steps to increase your SEO? I’d love for you to share them!
Here are some links:
Photo courtesy of Purdue University.
Here it is, finally!! The 3rd and final leg of our Marion County Farm Bureau Wine Tour!
I am extremely sorry for the delay on this, but with the last minute Indians Ticket Give-a-way, filming a TV commercial at work, 2 friend’s weddings and planning for my class reunion coming up in 2 weeks, I’ve been a little swamped to say the least!
But I didn’t want to leave you hanging, so here is the final part of our journey: Dinner! Better late than never right? (Please say yes so I don’t feel as bad for being so late on this).
Brown County Winery was such a cool place. I have been to their shop in downtown Nashville (IN) for a tasting before and I loved their Blackberry Wine and their Vista Red Wine! But unfortunately during this visit, I got a little car sick on the ride down there (don’t worry I didn’t physically get sick) so I didn’t feel like tasting the wine – but I did still get my souvenir! I got a Wine Cork Cage that was shaped like a wine glass!
I am very excited to add this to my decorations in my apartment!
After everyone finished tasting, we headed to Butler Winery for our next stop! I had never been to Butler Winery before but it was a pretty cool little place!
Did You Know? – You can’t call a Port Wine “Port” unless it’s made in Portugal, just like you can’t call sparkling wine “Champagne” unless it’s made in France!
Neat, huh? I never knew that before! If only I would have been able to take the Wine Appreciation Class at Purdue, I might have been better prepared for all of this wine trivia! Haha
Have any of you ever taken the Wine Appreciation Class at Purdue? I’m not joking, it’s a real class. 🙂
Thankfully, I felt better at Butler Winery and did try some of their wines.
My favorite was their Indiana Red! Just like its description, it’s a “fruity red wine perfect for picnics. If you are serving a meal & aren’t sure if you have dry wine drinkers or sweet wine drinkers, but you want to have a red, pick this one.”
Plus, the best part, its only $11.95! Great deal if you ask me!
By this point I couldn’t believe that our day was going by so quickly! I wish we could have stayed a little longer at each place, but we had to stay on schedule. But the little tease of a visit just gives me more incentive to go back later!
So after Butler Winery, we were on the road to our final destination – Mallow Run in Bargersville, IN.
This was one of my favorite stops of the day. It’s just such a neat place! Their tasting room is a remodeled barn that is beautiful inside and out, and they have a great patio outside with tables and chairs which allow you to enjoy the weather as you enjoy your wine.
They also have music and pizza for people who want to stay for nightly entertainment! I definitely want to go back again and stay for their events.
As far as their wine, all of it was awesome. Hands down. But if I had to pick a favorite, I LOVED their Picnic White! I ended up choosing that one as my “economic impact” and purchased a bottle as my souvenir.
WHEW! Are you guys as worn out as I am after all of this fun? After a long but fun-filled day, our wine tour had finally come to an end. We had such a great time! I loved getting to tour several Indiana wineries, trying new wine, and building friendships and memories with my fellow Farm Bureau members.
I can’t wait to go back to some of these wineries and take my friends and family there.
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED MAKE THIS DAY POSSIBLE!
If you have any questions about wine, our trip, or if you would like to learn more about becoming Marion County Farm Bureau member (which you totally should because you get to do cool things like this!) I would be happy to share any information I have!