Virtual farmers markets fill much-needed niche

Posted by: Jordan Wallace  | Friday, June 5, 2020

Indiana is home to thousands of Hoosiers who make a living by selling homegrown, locally produced goods. From honey to meat and homemade bread, when we buy these items, we are supporting our neighbors and local economies.

Unfortunately, many traditional farmers markets have been put on hold because of COVID-19 and these hard-working Hoosiers are taking a financial hit. The great news is that there are still ways to support local farmers and artisans, and vendors can still connect to their customers as more and more virtual farmers markets are popping up online.

Local producers rely on summer markets to sell meats, vegetables, fruits, home-baked goods and handmade products. Hoosier producers and customers can connect through an online food distribution service called Market Wagon. To check out Indiana products on Market Wagon or become a vendor on their site, visit marketwagon.com.

According to Indiana's Department of Agriculture, the demand for locally made products is at an all-time high. To help consumers know which items truly come from Indiana, a branding initiative called Indiana Grown was launched by the state for members to designate their products as Hoosier-made so that shoppers can easily identify and purchase their goods.

Across the state, there are more than 1,000 members of Indiana Grown who benefit from the free marketing, expansion and education resources offered by the initiative. Any kind of operation – farms, market vendors, wineries, breweries, artisans, retailers, grocery stores, restaurants and much more – can be a member if the products sold are 100% from and prepared in Indiana. To connect directly to farmers, artisans and others, or to join the Indiana Grown network, visit indianagrown.org.

As we wait in anticipation for the Historic Newburgh Farmers Market or the Warrick County market in Boonville, producers have made their contact information available for consumers. To buy from Newburgh market vendors, search for "Historic Newburgh Farmers Market" on Facebook for a full list of vendors and their contact information or visit newburghfarmersmarket.org. Participants of the Warrick County market are encouraged to join Market Wagon and can reach out to Amber Kelly at amber.kelly@marketwagon.com for more information, questions or to sign up.

We must all join together and support our neighbors, especially those who help put food our tables and on grocery store shelves. Buying local is one of the best ways to stimulate the economy, and many would enjoy the quality goods made and produced right here in Indiana. Consumers, check out Indiana Grown at indianagrown.org and Market Wagon at marketwagon.com to connect with local producers offering a variety of fresh, Hoosier-made items.

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State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75, 
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

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