I was happy to see that preeminent Indiana economist Morton Marcus has noticed the Indiana Grown Commission and the local food movement generally. His humor in the column in the Jan. 13 Opinion page of Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly seemed to poke fun at the effort to inspire Hoosiers to buy more locally grown and processed food, preferring to export to other states. As he points out, those efforts are not widely known for the seven years of effort to draw our attention.
Statewide efforts may have started with a study commissioned by the Indiana Department of Health in 2012 called Hoosier Farmer? Emergent Food Systems in Indiana by Ken Meter www.crcworks.org/infood.pdf. The numbers are somewhat outdated now, but economic highlights of that study said that although much of Indiana is covered by farmland, not much of that produces food for human consumption. We import 90% of the $16 billion food we eat, with $14.5 billion being sourced from outside the state (in 2012 numbers). Compare that to the total commodity sales of perhaps $8 billion per year, with nearly the same amount being spent on production costs (which are also sourced outside the state).