Indiana State Fair inspires possibilities

Fun, food, music and innovation
Fun, food, music and innovation

Last week, I went with my children to the Indiana State Fair. We dashed to our dinner spots – soft pretzels, curly fries, strawberry/pineapple whip, etc. It was fun walking around with them and seeing different exhibits and innovative products.

One time at the fair was not enough for me so I went again with my wife last night. This time, we took our time to read some facts and to appreciate the crafts and countless innovations.

Hoosiers are at a crossroads in alleviating hunger
Hoosiers are at a crossroads in alleviating hunger

Did you know that Indiana ranks #5 in producing corn and #4 in soy beans? Indianapolis ranks #11 in overall tech jobs gains in the past 10 years. Indiana was home of some famous people such as Pres. Benjamin Harrison, C.J. Walker and of course John Mellencamp from the Small Town of Seymour. And we all know that Indianapolis is the home of the greatest spectacle racing in the world.

Central Indiana has enough resources to feed the hungry and yet 80,000 kids go to bed hungry and elderly are starving. We can continue to take a look at other negative statistics but I would like for us to focus on the possibilities. So let’s dream together for a few minutes. Based on the information above, what are four immediate possibilities?

An Acre of blessing: Ask local farmers to dedicate the harvest of an acre of their farm to food pantries. Last year FHL asked one of its volunteers if she would dedicate an acre of her farm to plant corn for the food pantries. One of FHL’s partners owns a seed company. They provided corn seed that was planted at the Smith Farm. The result was hundreds of corn were distributed to the food pantries and families in need.

Hunters for the hungry: A few weeks ago, I had a lunch meeting with a new friend. We discussed about urban farming and providing meat for the food pantries through the hunters. I am not a hunter but I heard that the hunters are not able to store and eat all the game that they collect. I received a call from my new friend last night and he shared the possibility of receiving corn and tomatoes in the next week or so and, deer meat in the fall.

Solving hunger with the Techy: ExactTarget (ET) sponsored one of the food pantries that FHL incubated last year. ET also provided email marketing software that FHL is now using. They also sent a group of young innovative employees to FHL office to talk about the hunger issue. One of ET executives is also a board member of FHL. We are now in the process of compiling data that I gathered through dozens of interviews and visits with the food pantries in central Indiana. We will use this to help educate the residents of the possibilities of attacking the hunger problem.

Speed up Indy: Indy 500 is known as the Racing Capital of the World. Why not make Indy as the Speed Capital of the World in alleviating hunger? Indianapolis 500 can be used not only for testing speed but also for providing assistance to achieve innovative methods and technologies in addressing hunger. Do a citywide food drive and fill Indy 500 oval track with food and groceries. Why not?

As I stated earlier, my wife and I took our time to walk around the fair with keen eyes. We observed the vendors, smell all kinds of food (and some animals), watched the children and adult having fun at the rides and read some history and facts about Indiana. The rich past of Indiana and its abundant potential for the future cannot be overlooked. We can alleviate the hunger challenges of the Hoosier state if we become aware of what’s available and what we are missing. Central Indiana has enough resources to tackle the ever growing hunger problem in our neighborhoods. Wont you join us in this quest. As the Executive Director for Youth at YMCA of Greater Indianapolis said, “Let’s start here and show everybody how to do it.” Who knows this state may be known as the “Hoosiers for the Hungry.”

God bless you,


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