“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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
This past weekend, I joined my fellow Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmers for our annual leadership conference in Indianapolis.
I always enjoy attending this conference because I get to visit with friends from all across the state, learn more about the latest topics in agriculture, and hear some great messages from the keynote speakers.
In the four years that I’ve attended this conference, I always come away with some great inspiration. But there was something especially inspiring during this year’s keynote presentation from Kelly Barnes.
Kelly was born and raised on a small family farm in eastern Oklahoma and his message is centered around the stories, life lessons, and virtues he learned growing up.
His presentation was “Create Great Moments More Often” and what came from it was some very important reminders that I think we all should live by.
1. Be present. Be in the moment.
Truly be there. Whether it’s in class, your career, or with your family, take every opportunity to be engaged in what you’re doing. And also truly listen. I’ve learned over the years that you can always learn something from every situation. But if you’re not truly “present” you might miss something significant. So join me in putting those phones and computers down sometimes and just be present.
2. Appreciate the little things. Because sometimes they are all we get.
Never neglect the little things. I can’t always remember every conversation I’ve had with my parents or grandparents, but the unexpected care package Mom sent me during finals at school, the good luck letter Dad wrote me when I tried out for the Purdue softball team, the time my Grandpa carried me all the way back from the creek on his shoulders because I didn’t wear shoes and our 4-wheeler broke down, or the hand-written cards I get in the mail from my Grandma… THOSE things make the biggest impact.
“The thought does count, but it’s the action that makes the difference.”
Kelly also shared something that I learned to live by from a young age by playing sports. You can’t achieve things by cutting corners. Always catch the call with two hands. Don’t step inside the court when running laps. And run hard all the way through the base. Those lessons relate to every aspect of our lives whether you play sports or not.
3. Pack an extra sandwich.
At first, this sounded silly. But then Kelly told us about this story about his daughter’s classmate and it touched my heart.
Kelly’s daughter and his neighbor’s daughter are in the same pre-school class. Every Friday they take a field trip and have to bring their lunch. The night before the field trip, his neighbor was packing her daughter’s lunch when her daughter asked if she could pack an extra sandwich. Her mom kindly explained… “No, you have plenty. We don’t waste food.” So the daughter when off without a word. The next week she asked again, “Can you pack an extra sandwich?” And her mom said again, “No, you have plenty, it’s not good to waste food.” And the daughter nodded and went on with her evening again.
Then the next week came around and her daughter asked a third time if her mom could pack an extra sandwich. This time the mom asked more and her daughter explained how every Friday a little boy in her class comes and asks if she is going to eat the rest of her sandwich. Not because he is a bully. Because he didn’t have food of his own to eat.
When his neighbor finished telling Kelly this story, he talked about it with his wife and wanted to do something to help. He didn’t know the situation or didn’t want to overstep boundaries but knew he couldn’t sit back and do nothing. His wife said, “It’s simple. We’re going to pack an extra sandwich.”
I was fighting back tears at this point. What a heart wrenching story. And sadly, it’s a story that is true for too many people.
So what did Kelly suggest we need to do when we see these moments in our lives?
Create great moments for other people.
Be “we focused” in a “me focused” world.
Look for the things that need to be done.
Kelly ended his talk with this simple rule that we as a population need to get back to living by.
BE TO GET.
Be a friend to get a friend.
Be involved to get something out of it.
Be willing to fail to get success.
Be willing to do the small things to get the big things.
Be willing to love to get love.
Be positive to get that positive life.
Because if you be to get, you’ll get to be.
I hope this can serve as an inspiration to you as it did to me. I want to end by giving a HUGE thank you to Kelly for sharing these great messages and reminding us of what the important things are in life. Also, thank you to the Indiana Farm Bureau and Young Farmers Committee for bringing Kelly to speak and putting on a wonderful leadership convention. Go out and make some great moments everyone!
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!
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 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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
The day is finally here! Today is awesome for two reasons.. A. It’s Friday, no other explanation needed. and B. I have the winner of the two free tickets to Zest ‘N Zing: A Foodie Event For the At-Home Chef on May 7 at the Eugene & Marilyn Glick History Center!
First of all, I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who entered! It means a lot to me that you guys read my blog and participate in my contest so please continue to check back for more opportunities in the future!
Ok, now lets get to the big news! In a drawing via random.org the winner is…….
Rebeca @ The Average Parent!!!!
Congratulations Rebeca! You and a guest will be joining me at Zest ‘N Zing thanks to Indiana Family of Farmers! I will contact you with further details.
For the rest of those who entered, and all of you in general, there are still tickets left for the event and the proceeds go benefit Gleaners Food Bank in Indy! Tickets are $20 and include includes two drink tickets, five food tickets, a swag bag and the cooking competition.
And let me tell you, it is totally worth it! The food and drinks are amazing, the competition is super fun and the swag bag has some awesome kitchen goodies and recipes!
Tickets are ONLY available for purchase online – No tickets will be sold at the door. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets today! And by attending, you can still have a chance to be the third “Mystery Judge” and get to taste the awesome dishes the teams prepare!
See you next week!
CALLING ALL INDY FOODIES! Clear those calendars and get those appetites ready because Zest ‘N Zing is back!
Join two Indy chefs and two Indiana farmers who will work in teams to create a great new dish during Zest ‘n Zing: A Foodie Event for the At-Home Chef at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick History Center in downtown Indianapolis on May 7.
Indy weatherman, Paul Poteet and WTHR’s Jennie Runevitch will be emceeing the event and last year’s champion, chef Jason Anderson is returning to defend his title! Chef Anderson, joined by cattle farmer Ginny Tauer will go head to head with the new challenger, chef Greg Schiesser from Indiana Downs and hog farmer, Nick Sommers.
Last year I was the #OfficialTweeter for the event and it was a blast! It is a great opportunity to have fun and learn a little more about farmers and food preparation. The recipes are geared toward something you can make in your own kitchen and last year they sent the recipes out after the event so you could try it at home!
I’ll be there again this year and thanks to Indiana Family of Farmers, I have a FREE pair of tickets for you to join me!
*** Here’s how to enter***
Like this post and leave a comment at the bottom saying that you’d like to join me at Zest ‘N Zing.
**For additional chances to win**
Subscribe to my blog and leave another comment saying that you followed me.
Post the tweet below to your Twitter account and leave a comment with the link.
The contest will be open until Thursday at 11:59 p.m.
Judges for this year’s event will be Heather Tallman of the blog, Basilmomma and her radio show “Around the Kitchen Sink” and here’s where it gets even more fun – one of you could be the other judge! The second judge will be chosen out of the audience that night so you have to make sure you’re in attendance!
Doors for the event open at 5 p.m. and you can mix, mingle and eat with farmers from 5 – 7 p.m downstairs. The competition begins at 7 p.m. so be sure to finish up eating a few minutes before to get a good seat!
I’m so excited for this event and I hope you are too after reading this post! Don’t forget that if you want to enter to win the tickets, submit your entry before 11:59pm on Thursday.
If you aren’t drawn as the winner, I hope you will still attend the event!
Tickets are $20, with proceeds benefiting Gleaners Food Bank and can be purchased at this link: Zest ‘N Zing Event Tickets.
Can’t wait to see you all there next week!
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!
You might be asking yourself, what is she talking about?
Well, have you ever seen the Food Network show Iron Chef America? (Two chefs go head-to-head in an hour long competition where they have to create the best food dishes with a “Secret Ingredient” and the winner is chosen by a panel of judges.)
With this show as inspiration, Indiana Farm Bureau has partnered with celebrities, chefs, and farmers (ALL from the Indy area) to create an Iron Chef of their own…only they’re adding a little “Zest” and a little “Zing” to make it fun for everyone!
But the best part about this… YOU ARE INVITED!
Here’s the 411:
These two teams will go up against each other to create a dish that you can re-create at home! They will only have an hour to accomplish this goal before their dishes are places in front of the JUDGES. News Channel 13 WTHR’s Jennie Runevitch and the Indianapolis Colts’ Jacob Tamme will be the ones to taste their dishes and determine the winner. (I am totally jealous of their job—YUM!)
Wed. Feb. 22nd
5-7pm – Reception, 7-8:30pm Competition
450 West Ohio Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202-3269
Tickets are only $20 each and it goes to benefit Gleaners Food Bank and Ronald McDonald House.
This is an event that everyone can enjoy! Your $20 ticket includes two drink tickets of the best Indiana beer and wines, five food tickets for great food from Hoaglin Fine Catering, a SWAG BAG, and the cooking competition. That is a FANTASTIC value for your money… did I mention that the proceeds go to charity? In my opinion, this is a MUST-SEE event that you won’t want to miss.
Also, I am going to be covering the event as the #OfficialTweeter with LIVE updates so make sure to follow me on Twitter :@Chelsea_PA
I will be going backstage to talk to the competitors and posting quotes, pictures, videos, and inside info as the competition heats up! Be sure to look for and mention the hashtag #zestnzing to get this event trending. There has already been a lot of #TwitterChatter about it!
To get the #OfficalTweet’sstarted, check out my Twitter to find out how YOU could get a seat at the judges table! How awesome would that be? Getting to hang out with Jennie Runevitch and Jacob Tamme, NOT TO MENTION getting to taste all of the great food! You have to be at the event though so make sure to get your tickets before they run out.
Tickets can be purchased on the “Zest N Zing” website – CLICK HERE to register!
So, now that you’ve heard all about the latest SHOWDOWN in Indianapolis, you’re going to come right? You don’t want to miss this. It is going to be really fun and really funny with Smiley and Paul Poteet as team captains.
I will be very impressed if Smiley can count all of the WW points of the food ingredients!
So, since I personally invited each of you… I expect you to be there to support the teams, local agriculture, and me in my Twitter career. 🙂
Be sure to listen to WZPL, watch WTHR, and check back at @Chelsea_PA to get more updates as the event gets closer!