The event, which is coordinated by the INFB Women’s Leadership Committee, always includes food samples (which vary from year to year) provided by INFB’s 10 districts. Other exhibitors, such as the Southwest Indiana Melon and Vegetable Association and Indiana State Beekeepers Association, also provide samples.
This year 3,352 fairgoers were served during the event, held Aug. 16-18. People filed through the building all three days sampling such things as breakfast cereal, lamb summer sausage, and macaroni and cheese, and in the process, they learned a little bit about modern Indiana agriculture.
A broad range of people come through TFIF each year, but the Women’s Leadership Committee wanted to see if the idea could be expanded or replicated elsewhere, according to Ashley Beasley, INFB women’s program coordinator. So this year, the committee members decided to try something new: They traveled to two different sites in the state and presented mini-TFIFs, using a “different setting to target a different audience,” she said.
At both the Evansville Farmers Market (Aug. 12) and the Columbia City Farmers Market (Sept. 24), committee members passed out samples of apple sauce and interacted with farmers market clientele.
But despite the unfamiliar locales, the focus on talking to people about where their food comes from remained the same.
Besides talking to new audiences, the committee had another goal in mind when members took TFIF on the road.
“We want it to be a model” for county Farm Bureaus that are interested in doing something similar, Beasley added. Around 200 people stopped by the TFIF booth in Evansville and around 130 people in Columbia City, Beasley said.
“Those aren’t super numbers for us” during the State Fair event, she said. “But it’s a realistic number for a county Farm Bureau.”
Now that the WLC has completed its experiment, the group will pull together resources to help counties create their own TFIF event. A packet of information will be put together to assist counties in thinking about the concept and to help them avoid pitfalls. For example, Beasley said, it’s important to work with a farmers market’s market master and local health department as soon as possible.
The packet of material will be available at this year’s state convention, which runs Dec. 8-10 at the Grand Wayne Convention Center in Fort Wayne. The committee will have a booth at the convention expo (formerly known as the trade show) to hand out information and answer questions.“It’s talking to people about where their food comes from,” Beasley said.
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