INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In a world of super center grocery stores, it’s easy to forget that right here in Indiana, there are many ways to buy fresh foods.
A big reminder came on Friday in the first-ever Monumental Marketplace on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis.
Indiana is one of the largest farm states in the country. But, it’s estimated that less than 10 percent of the food Hoosiers buy comes from fellow Hoosiers. More than 100 vendors set up, in hopes of changing that.
At the corner of Fresh and Local streets sits Edwards Drive-In, where pork burgers sizzle on the grill. But if you’re not in the mood for pork, across the way in a covered wagon is beef. Hundreds of people crowded the circle to give the food a taste.
After all that food, it was time for the Ambrewlance — “thirst aid” in the form of beer and “thirst responders” who serve the beer. Great Crescent Brewery turned an old ambulance into a mobile beer truck.
“We’re really more preventative than we are emergency. But we will take over emergency problems,” laughed Great Crescent Brewery owner Dan Valas.
Valas is a supporter of local businesses and tries to shop local for his own business.
“We really like the aspect of being connected back to things grown and created and crafted in Indiana,” he said.
Indiana Grown organized the event. The group works to educate Hoosiers on what products are grown or raised in the state.
“We want people to realize that Indiana has a diverse pallet of foods provided. Also, just a diverse landscape agriculturally. This is the way that we kind of bring it all home and show them what we offer,” said Heather Tallman with Indiana Grown.
Indiana Grown estimates that Hoosiers spend $16 billion a year buying food. But, more than 90 percent of that is spent outside the state.
“So much more of your dollar stays local if you buy local,” Valas said. He continued, “You can support big stores and large chains, but honestly, the money isn’t staying in your own neighborhood.”
Indiana Grown has more than 800 members. For more information on what they do and how to become a member click here.