Blog Archives

Why I Farm|A Planting Prayer for Farmers

Farmers are truly some of the most dedicated, hardworking, and passionate people I’ve ever met. As they go out to plant their crops this spring, their families will be praying for them to return home safe and sound, just like this sweet little girl.

This video is the latest in the Why I Farm series to honor farmers. I hope you’ll join me in sharing this video as a way to honor farmers everywhere and thank them for working tirelessly to provide for all of us.

 

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United We Grow: Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Conference

“You are a part of something bigger than you are.”

Those were the inspiring words of Wayne Humphreys during his opening keynote at the 2016 Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Conference this past weekend. Held in Indianapolis, the conference brought together more than 500 young farmers and Ag professionals like myself to learn from industry experts (and each other) on hot topics within the agriculture industry.

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At the conference I was joined by five other Marion County Young Ag Professionals. On Friday evening we participated in a new volunteer event to help Gleaners Food Bank – “CANstruction”. We teamed up with the rest of District 6 to create a structure out of cans and decorate it for a competition. Attendees would then vote on their favorite during the conference. There were some really creative creations, but I am proud to announce that our district was voted the winning structure! All of the cans were donated to Gleaner’s after the conference.

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Saturday we spent the day attending breakout sessions and recognizing county chapters for their outstanding work during this past year. The breakouts I attended included two round-table discussions on livestock issues and niche markets, as well as a social media session from Brian Scott of The Farmer’s Life on how to effectively communicate your farm story on social media.

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All of these breakouts brought some great discussion, updates on current industry topics, and beneficial facts to take back to our jobs and farms.

To wrap up the conference, we enjoyed some evening entertainment with a live auction, Ag Olympics, and performance by country band, Darlington Road.

Leaving the conference I reflected back on something Wayne Humphrey’s said at the start of the day.

“Agriculture is becoming more complicated. Not only because of new technologies, but also because of the challenge of communicating about them and educating consumers. But we’re doing the best we can with what we have in this day. When something new arises, we find out what it is, we visit, we learn, and we grow together.”

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His message coupled perfectly with the theme of this year’s conference: United We Grow. And that is exactly what we did – we visited, we learned, and we grew to become better agriculturalists.

Thank you to Marion County Farm Bureau for giving us the opportunity to attend and expand our leadership in agriculture.

BoilermakerAg

Boilermakers Continue to Celebrate Agriculture with Purdue Ag Week

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a great week so far! Have you had a chance to catch any of my other posts about Purdue Ag Week?  If so, what did you think? Have you learned anything new about agriculture? If not, you can read about them here, here, here and here. (Then return to the question above and let me know if you learned anything new.) 🙂

Learning new things about agriculture is one of the main goals of Purdue Ag Week, and the ag students are doing a great job of educating their peers about all areas of agriculture. One way they are doing this is by daily agriculture quizzes. Each day members of the Ag Week Task Force have been giving away prizes when students take a quiz about agriculture. This year, they are having students take the quiz (which features different questions each day) on their phones so they can better record the scores. Once students are done with the quiz, a Task Force member will hand them an answer sheet and go over the answers with them, along with a fun prize!

Want to test out your knowledge of agriculture? Give the quizzes a try for yourself! Here is the link to Thursday’s quiz. Answers to the questions will be posted on the Purdue Ag Week Facebook page so check back at the end of the day to see how you did! (I’ll also add the link on here after they have been released.)

In addition to the daily ag quizzes there have been some awesome events so far, with even more in store for Thursday and Friday.

Purdue Ag Week - Thursday

Thursday is the ever-popular “Pet A (Goat) Kid” event, along with a diversity in agriculture session from the MANNRS Club, a “Truth or Myth” Ice Cream session from the Food Science Club, mini tractor pulls and various other club events throughout Memorial Mall.

Thursday Instagram Challenge: Take a selfie with a farm animal featured during Ag Week events. Then, post it to your Instagram account along with the hashtags #mAGnifyPurdue and #mAGnifyChallenge and you’ll be entered to win a prize!

Celebration of Agriculture: 8 – 10 p.m. (Memorial Mall)
Thursday night will be a Celebration of Agriculture, a social event for the entire Purdue student body, where students can join together in community to continue conversations about agriculture. They will have free pork burgers along with other food, games and music. The goal for this event is to create an opportunity to build a sense of community within the College of Ag and with students from other colleges, too!

Celebration of Ag Social

To wrap up the week, there will be three club events on Friday from the Cattleman’s Club, Ag Business Club and IAAE. As well as another daily ag quiz and Instagram challenge!

Purdue Ag Week - Friday

Friday Daily Ag Quiz: See just how much you know about agriculture with the final daily quiz. To give it a try, click here. Then head over to the Purdue Ag Week Facebook page to find out how you did. (As mentioned above, I will post the link to these answers as well after they are released.)

Friday Instagram Challenge: “Favorite Photo Friday” – Post a picture of your favorite Ag Week memory and make sure to include the hashtags #mAGnifyPurdue or #mAGnifyChallenge.

 


Continuing the Conversation After Ag Week:
Purdue Ag Week will be coming to a close after Friday, but it is my hope that the conversation about agriculture will continue throughout the year. Agriculture, and the farmers and ranchers who dedicate their lives to growing our food, are so incredibly important to all of us and we shouldn’t take them for granted. I encourage you to join me in thanking farmers and appreciating our country’s advances in agriculture by following some of these agriculture causes:

Congrats to all of my fellow Boilermakers on a successful Ag Week!

 

BoilermakerAg

 

 

 

 

mAGnify: A Closer Look at Agriculture with Purdue Ag Week

With the majority of our population being three generations removed from the farm, knowledge of how food is grown and where it comes from is decreasing with each generation.

But more recently, consumers are looking to know more about what is in their favorite foods and how they are grown. So in an effort to help increase awareness about agriculture, students from Purdue University created Purdue Ag Week.

Purdue Ag WeekIn its fourth year, Ag Week is a student-organized event that aims to show the campus of Purdue what agriculture gives. The Purdue Ag Task Force, a Purdue student organization, leads the effort and aspires to make Ag Week an event where the various facets of local, national and international agriculture are understood and celebrated.

The theme of this year’s Purdue Ag Week (April 12-17) is mAGnify: A Closer Look at Agriculture. Throughout the week, more than 20 student clubs and organizations will be hosting interactive events that highlight different aspects about agriculture. The goal of these events will be to give students a closer look at how farmers, ranchers and the agricultural industry produces the food, fiber and fuel that are so vital to all of us.

In addition, members at the Ag Task Force booth on Memorial Mall will be giving away t-shirts, stress balls and koozies when students take a quiz about agriculture. This year, they are having students take the quiz (which features different questions each day) on their phones to emphasize technology and better record the scores. Once students are done with the quiz, Ag Task Force members will discuss the answers with them and share additional facts about agriculture.

I realize many of you might not be able to physically attend if you are in different parts of the state or country, but I still wanted to help spread the word about this awesome event and pass along the important facts being shared at the various events.

This week, I will be publishing a series of posts highlighting the various Ag Week events that will be taking place. Be sure to check back to see all of the things they have in store!

SUNDAY, APRIL 12
Kicking off this year’s Ag Week will be Collegiate FFA’s Farmer 5K! In this farmer-themed run/walk, students are inviting runners to grab their bibs, flannel, and other farm gear to raise money for the Food Finders Twin Lakes Student Food Pantry. This race is aimed at raising awareness of the agricultural industry and supporting efforts to help end food insecurity.

Did you know that one in six Americans experience hunger or food insecurity? This combined with the fact that farmers will have to produce an estimated 70% more food by 2050 in order to meet the rising world population demand is alarming.

During the 5K, runners will blaze past agriculture facts as they complete the course, learning about different food, farms, and farmers around every turn. The race begins at 9:30 a.m., with on-site registration and packet pick-up taking place from 8:00am to 30 minutes before the race at the Purdue Engineering Fountain. All runners and walkers must be registered. If you’re interested in participating, or even just watching, you can find all the details on their Farmer 5K website.

Farmer 5KAg week continues on Monday April 13 with the Purdue Dairy Club’s Milk Monday event and a presentation by dairy farmer and blogger, Dairy Carrie! Check back tomorrow to learn more about these fun and exciting events. Also, don’t forget to follow along on social media by using the hashtag #mAGnifyPurdue and following @PurdueAgWeek on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Happy Ag Week!

 

BoilermakerAg

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.

American Spirits - Katherine Gould                                                                American Spirits - 1830 Bottles Consumed

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.)

 

Farmers Share Their Stories With #WhyIFarm

Happy Friday Everyone!

Ok, so…I have to admit. Lately I have been a failure at blogging.  With moving into a new house, traveling with work, and planning this whole wedding thing, blogging had to take a back burner for a little bit. I feel like I’ve said this before, but a girl needs some rest every now and then. So thank you for sticking with me!

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Things still are busy, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to share this with you!   A couple weeks ago I posted about the Why I Farm Movement to honor farmers. If you haven’t heard of it yet, be sure to read my last post and check it out!

But my reason for writing today is because they just posted their new video! Why I Farm has been highlighting Midwest farmers and sharing their stories about why they love to farm. As an advocate for agriculture, (Agvocate as we like to say) I absolutely LOVE this! I have seen so many people take for granted how cheap and accessible our food system is that they don’t always appreciate how much hard work goes into producing it.

The videos from Why I Farm do an incredible job of showing just how much passion and emotion these farmers have for what they do. Get your Kleenex ready.. because if your from a farm family, or grew up around farming… some of these may bring tears to your eyes (At least they did for me).

The new video highlights a young farmer from Warrensburg, IL named Nathan Wentworth. He shares his family’s farming history and what it means to him to be able to carry on that tradition. But this video is so much more than that.

My favorite part is that he also shares that there’s more to farming than just driving a tractor. It’s knowing about how to care for the crops, the land and … wait, why am I explaining this? I’ll just let Nathan tell you for himself…

“To put it simply, I love farming. I love figuring out problems. I love watching life grow, transform and develop. I love being a biologist, a botanist, a chemist, an engineer, a marketer and all the professions involved with farming. I love all of it, but nothing can hold a candle to farming with my family. To carry on the traditions, and values that the generations before me developed…and then pass those on to the generation’s to come. That is something God has blessed our family with and it is something we will not take for granted. That’s why I farm.” – Nathan Wentworth

What did you think? Powerful stuff, right? I may be the only one, but it sure makes me proud to be from a farming background and to be working in agriculture! Thank you Nathan, and all farmers, for all that you do!  

Also, with harvest season in full swing and farmers out on the roads, please use this video as a remember to respect them on the roads and slow down! I know we’re all busy (myself included) but this graphic from Kelly at the Old Blue Silo is perfect to put it in to perspective.

Courtesy of Kelly at http://www.oldbluesilo.com/.

Courtesy of Kelly at http://www.oldbluesilo.com/.

Well said, Kelly. Well said!

So now that it’s the weekend, join me in unplugging from the digital world for a while and have some relaxation time! But before I go I wanted to share that I have joined the movement to honor farmers, and I hope that’ll you’ll join me too! Visit whyifarm.com to learn how you can help honor farmers.

nathan

Have a great weekend everyone!

Honoring Farmers with #WhyIFarm

Being an Ag blogger, I’ve written about farmers and agriculture several times, but I just can’t say it enough – farmers are some of the most hardworking, passionate and dedicated people I know. They truly do want to provide a quality product for consumers and are proud to be a part of feeding families everywhere.

Growing up in agriculture, and by interviewing farmers throughout the Midwest, I have seen a lot of these qualities firsthand.  I always come out of these interviews feeling so proud to be a part of this industry and thankful for getting the chance to meet not only great farmers, but all-around great people. People that always remember your name, take time to actually get to know you, and would drop whatever they’re doing to help you…just like you’re a part of their own family.

That’s why this quote from farmer, Bryon Coffman, really hits home for me.

“You’re not just a part of your family farm, you’re a part of agriculture. And that’s a much larger family. That’s Why I Farm.” – Bryon Coffman, Moweaqua, IL.

This quote came from the new “Why I Farm” movement started by Beck’s Hybrids. Being a family owned company, and farmers themselves, they know what it takes to farm. So with the Why I Farm movement, their goal is simple – to honor farmers and give them the recognition they deserve.

To kick off this effort, they interviewed eight Midwest farmers and through video, brought their farming stories to life. And guys, these seriously are incredible! I seriously almost tear up the first time I watch these videos. They really are that powerful! They captured the true emotions from these farmers and you can really see their true passion and love for what they do.

Check out the rest of Bryon Coffman’s video below:

Why I Farm: Bryon Coffman from Becks Hybrids on Vimeo.

You can view the rest of these videos at www.whyifarm.com.

I don’t know about you, but I think farmers DO deserve to be honored for all that they do – so let’s help to spread the word about Why I Farm! To join the movement, like Why I Farm on Facebook, follow @WhyIFarm on Twitter, and use ‪#‎WhyIFarm to share the videos and your farming stories!

So what do you say, will you join me in the “Why I Farm” movement? Let’s help honor farmers!

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Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored post. I am an employee of Beck’s Hybrids but was not compensated in any way to write this post. All thoughts are my own.

Free Family Event: Earth Day Indiana Festival

In honor of Earth Day, there are several activities happening around Indianapolis! Events like these are great ways to get the whole family involved and explore new ways to make our planet a better place.

One exciting event is the Earth Day Indiana Festival on Saturday April 27 in downtown Indy. This is a free outdoor festival with over 130 environmental and conservation exhibits, special activities for the kids, great music and wonderful food.

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Here is a photo of some of the exhibitors and visitors at last year’s Earth Day Indiana. You can see the whole slideshow on their website.

The festival is being held at the White River State Park and goes from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

With over 130 exhibits there’s going to be a lot to see so I wanted to point out a few neat booths that you won’t want to miss.

Indiana’s Family of Farmers – a proud sponsor of Earth Day Indiana – will have two booths at the event. Now you might be wandering, what are a group of farmers doing at Earth Day? Well, a famer’s livelihood depends on the land so they also have to be good environmentalists to make sure their fields last from year to year. Indiana’s farm families work hard to be good stewards of our land and they want to help promote taking care of the soil.

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The first Indiana Family of Farmers booth will be in Exhibit Tent D – booth 93 with their popular “Wheel of Ag” encouraging visitors to learn more about being good stewards of the land. A variety of farm families from across the state will also be at the booth to answer questions about their farms.

Land conservation is becoming more and more important and farmers are doing a lot of great things to preserve their soil. Management practices like no-till farming, using cover crops, and preserving waterways and wildlife buffers. Be sure to stop by the Indiana Family of Farmers booth to learn more!

IFOF EarthDayBadge

The second Family Of Farmers booth will be in the Children’s Tent – booth 122 and will help kids plant popcorn seeds in biodegradable CowPots to celebrate the “Year of Popcorn” at the 2013 Indiana State Fair.

Indiana is the number two state in popcorn production in the U.S. and Indiana Family of Farmers wants to help share all of the cool facts about popcorn.

All of these activities sound so fun! So be sure to mark Earth Day Indiana Festival on your calendar and get the kids ready for a day full of fun and learning!

And if you’re up for an extra challenge, as you visit the Indiana Family of Farmers booths, share what you learn about conservation and agriculture on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by tagging @FamilyofFarmers and using the hashtag #FarmsMatter.

Hope to see you at the festival on Saturday!

~Chelsea

IFOF Ambassador

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