Elkhart County featured in film about food systems

PHOTO CONTRIBUTEDUndergraduates living at Merry Lea’s biological field station for a semester celebrate their achievements canning produce from the Merry Lea Sustainable Farm. Practical skills related to local food are included in their curriculum. From left are Goshen College students Amber Mosely, Kokomo, Ind.; Naomi Gross, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; David Pauls, Dallas, Oregon; Kayla Gray, Bridgton, Maine; Cecilia Lapp-Stoltzfus, Washington, D.C.; and Laura Mason, Goshen.

Thanks to rich soil and relatively flat topography, Indiana has the ability to feed itself. Yet an estimated 90 percent of the food Hoosiers eat is imported from elsewhere.

Why are Midwestern communities rebuilding their local food systems and working to change this? Fencerows to Foodsheds, a recent film by Janet Katz, explores this question with a look at two communities — the town of Batesville, Ind., southeast of Indianapolis and Elkhart County.

Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College will host a potluck and showing of this film on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Goshen College, Newcomer Center, Room 17.

Attendees should take a potluck dish to share.

Advance registration is appreciated but not required. Those who can bring food should email mlevents@goshen.edu.

One of the initiatives featured in the film is the Merry Lea Sustainable Farm and its Agroecology Summer Intensive, begun by the late Dale Hess. The nine-week summer program teaches undergraduates to grow food in ways that are healthy for local ecosystems. Others can earn a certificate instead of college credit.

Seed to Feed, a program of Church Community Services, is also featured. Seed to Feed manages a network of gardens that provide fresh food to Elkhart County food pantries.

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