Mobile and Ready to Roll!

We all hope everyone’s summer has been going well. We know ours has!  After the container was scrubbed and polished clean, we tackled the bathroom facilities to meet health and safety standards! We installed shoe molding around the bases of the floorboards, and caulked and sealed any open spaces to make the bathrooms watertight. A chop saw was used to cut molding to fit the bathroom, and was hammered in place with caulking the boards to complete the job.


Cabinets for the bathroom were purchased so toilet paper, hand towels, and soap could be stored.  Assembling the cabinets was relatively easy. Below, our interns can be seen constructing the cabinets.

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Laurynn putting  toilet paper away in one of the newly constructed cabinets.

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Scrubbing down a  rescued and re-purposed fridge, as shown below, was essential for the storage of our produce while the container awaits for the arrival of air conditioners to be installed.

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We also just received our first shipment of produce from our farmers at Spanglers, and Stan Ross for our first Costumers at OpenDoor!  Peppers, corn, onions, potatoes, cabbage, fresh basil, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini were all available!  We will be getting in more delicious vegetables, (and maybe even some juicy peaches!) as the growing season progresses so stop by and see us! 

 

 

 

Refrigeration Station!

We hope everyone’s summer has been going well and everyone has been staying cool! This season has been very productive as we are getting the food hub refrigeration unit ready!  The food hub received the container which needed to be sanded, pressure washed, flex sealed, and finally painted. The interns worked quickly and efficiently to get this task done. Pictured below are the interns applying white enamel paint on the container to improve the resistance from the fierce summer solar rays that our farmer’s plants love so much!  IMG_0400
Much research went into investigating the appropriate materials and equipment needed to properly prepare the container. Research included how to remedy rust and how to sand and clean the container before painting. Once we had a plan in place we went out to the site and began work. Pressure washing was needed to clean the surface of the container prior to painting. It was raining a lot that day so not only did we have the pressure washer, but we also had nature washing the container for us as well. The pressure washer did a wonderful job as the unyielding force of the water collided with the dirt without resistance. The caked on dirt just simply melted away.  IMG_0386
Here, one of the interns’ paints over the old logo of the container. One can see a stark difference between the old and new paint. The enamel paint does an excellent job in penetrating the old base layer on the container and adhering to the structure. Ladders were used to paint the very top trim and eventually the interns climbed on top of the container to lay down an especially thick coat of paint.  Needless to say not only did the container get painted but the interns inadvertently painted themselves!IMG_0404
Now all that remains to be done to the container is to incorporate some air conditioning units to keep the structure cool. Enamel white paint was chosen for the container for its properties of fending off the temperatures and secondly for the brilliant reflective shine when dried. Inside of the container we will be installing lights, air conditioners, CoolBots, dehumidifiers, and shelves for the food. The floor is corrugated to allow for ease of cleaning and will also allow for draining.IMG_0383We look forward to our next blog post as we continue work on the food hub and mobile market. We have a lot of ideas in the plans ahead and we are excited to share them with you, our readers, with our next blog post!

A little taste of summer in January

The questionable days of a 60 degree December have given way to subzero wind chills and icy snow days. Winter is undeniably upon us.

Now that anticipation of the holidays is over, many Midwesterners pine for the warmth of spring, the sweetness of summer.

Well, what’s in your freezer?

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A little bit of planning (and freezer space) can keep you eating healthy and local year-round, including those party flavors of summer. Ratatouille with summer squash and zucchini? Yup. Eggplant parmesan? You bet. And some locally sourced green beans almandine will surely impress guests during the holidays!

Of course, eating this good comes with some sacrifice; those awesome IN melons won’t freeze too well unless you get a little creative – gazpacho, anyone?

Pinterest has LOTS of ideas for frozen meals that can not only freeze time, but make your deferred meal prep a whole lot faster!

Speaking of freezing time, a freezer is the only way to preserve the nutrient quality of fresh food for long periods of time. Not only will you get to enjoy exclusive summer flavors, you’ll get all the health perks you already love about local food!

It may be too late to stretch 2017 harvest veggies, but check out some online inspiration and start planning for next year!

2nd Annual Local Food Summit

Many people are familiar with the term “food desert” and the fact that large portions of Muncie comprise food deserts, a challenge recently exacerbated by the closure of many Marsh grocery stores. Food deserts can indicate a community’s overall food security, which is the ability of people to access enough food for a healthy, active life. Food deserts are especially formidable for low income populations. In areas with low food security, residents including children may go to bed hungry multiple times per week.

Concerns over food security and health issues related to food access have attracted allies like Congressman Andre Carson, Representative Sue Errington, and the Ball State academic community. The  Muncie Food Hub Partnership (MFHP), a project of Ball State’s Natural Resources and Environmental Management department, was created to explore community solutions to alleviating food access barriers while bolstering the economic vitality of local farmers. On October 25, MFHP with Edible Muncie, Purdue Extension of Delaware County, and Ball State’s Office of Community Engagement will host the second annual Food Summit, a gathering for producers, consumers, policy makers, and advocates to discuss the food economy and community food security.

Regional food security, concerns both the well-being of individuals and the ability of our community to support itself through a robust agricultural industry. Currently, about 90% of all food consumed in Indiana is imported, though Hoosiers could produce enough food to feed residents seasonally.  

With support for the local food movement growing among consumers,  now is an ideal time to implement infrastructure that will bolster the local food system and the vitality of food producers. Food systems comprise the farmers and producers who provide food, retail outlets that sell it, consumers, logistical operations that bring food to the point of consumption, and the policies which direct all those players’ activities.

This year’s Food Summit on Wednesday, October 25 will discuss ongoing initiatives in the Muncie community and new opportunities for shaping the future of our food system and policies.  One notable goal is to develop a Local Food Council which will cultivate policies and social networks that support a healthy, just food system.

Similar examples can be found throughout the state. Bloomington Food Policy Council has affected steps to  “champion the right of all residents to adequate amounts of safe, nutritious, accessible, and affordable food,” and to “promote farmers’ markets, farm stands, and the utilization of local and regional foods by groceries, restaurants, and institutions,” among others.  

Residents across the region who have an interest in local food production, distribution, security, nutrition, and policy are encouraged to register for the October 25 Food Summit, held at the Ball State Alumni Center from 8:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Registration is open through October 16th. Attendees can choose a half day registration ($20) or a full day ($30) that includes a locally catered lunch and post-conference networking session. All attendees will be receive information from local vendors and the invaluable opportunity to help shape our community’s food future.

For more information or to register, visit www.muncieneighborhoods.org/foodsummit/.  Questions? Please contact Elaine Vidal at Emdeichmeist@bsu.edu or call (703) 615-7452.

Why a Mobile Market?

Vast areas of Muncie are considered a food desert, which means that residents can’t easily access basic healthy foods within 1 mile of their home. With many Marsh stores closing, food access issues will only increase.

One objective of the Muncie Food Hub is to help residents obtain healthy, local food. But barriers to food access are mired in complexity – one could have difficulty obtaining reliable transportation, low income, or general lack of knowledge about retail outlets.

Enter the local food Mobile Market. Andrew Imboden, Ball State University graduate student and Hoosier Roots food hub staff member, is researching how the Mobile Market can best serve residents of Delaware county.

He says targeting customers in food deserts will not only help those individuals be more food secure, but it will also help create financial sustainability for the mobile market. Service-oriented businesses that build strong relationships with under-served areas benefit from increased consumer loyalty and support.

Though food insecure areas can be easily seen on a map, Andrew explains that finding a place to locate the Mobile Market will be more complicated. “It’s a nebulous web of considerations, so we can’t tell you black and white what’s important and what’s not. I’m not going to make any assumptions about what’s important to people.”

Food buying choices are affected by many factors from obvious constraints like price and time to less intuitive ones like cultural perception and mood.

To clear up these ambiguities, Andrew is using GIS maps and conversations with residents to find out how they really feel about food access in their neighborhoods.

“Even with databases and databases about census data and property values, all you have is a skeleton, it doesn’t tell the story of their experience with the food system.”

The food hub hopes that soon the Mobile Market can make more healthy options part of that story for Delaware County.