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Legacy Foundation’s Freida Graves, left, and Lake County Purdue Extension Services’ Terri Saltzman

Lake County Eats Local launched in Gary

Contributed By:The 411 News

Year round farmers markets will increase community's healthy food options

From the farm to the table won’t just be a slogan for residents of Gary and East Chicago this summer.

Thursday’s kick off of Lake County Eats Local was a demonstration of a new farmer’s market strategy, created for food growers and producers to meet consumers where they live.

Small farmers and backyard growers, with help and encouragement from the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program, will be in East Chicago and Gary year round, in neighborhoods that have little or no access to fresh vegetables and fruits. It’s a strategy that stimulates new economic opportunities benefitting both food producers and consumers.

At Thursday’s market at the Art House: A Social Kitchen in Gary, visitors sampled fried green tomato sliders, bruschetta with a tomato relish, and a strawberry salad prepared by Big Daddy’s Barbeque. All the vegetables and fruits were grown by Gary’s FAITH Farms.

FAITH Farms, a ministry of Progressive Community Church offered eggs, fresh greens, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and herbs.

Jeannine Harmon’s Granny J’s Southern Fried Pies were going like hot cakes. “I came here with 60 pies and I only have 15 left. I hope not to take any home,” Harmon said.

East Chicago will kick off its farmers markets on June 26.

Lake County Eats Local is a collaboration of three years of planning between the City of Gary, the Legacy Foundation, Northwest Indiana Food Council, and Lake County Purdue Extension Services. They are supported by a 3-year, $226,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to address food deserts in Gary and East Chicago.

Lake County Eats Local has an “On the Go” van that will visit sites year round and is equipped with a refrigeration unit.

The van is going to be the work horse for the farmers markets. Instead of food growers having to haul their own tents, tables, and chairs, they will be transported to the sites by LCEL. The growers will only have to bring their foods.

Gary farmers market locations include the Art House, Miller Farmers Market, J’s Breakfast Club, YWCA, Thea Bowman, Hudson-Campbell Fitness Center, Stewart House, Sojourner Truth House, and Indiana University Northwest.

The LCEL farmers market will accept a variety of payment options such as SNAP, WIC, senior voucher, and cash payment methods.

To see the farmers market sites’ summer schedule and more information, visit

Big Daddy’s Barbeque owner Gordon Biffle, left, and manager Jamela Davis show their fried green tomato slider and bruschetta with tomato relish

Story Posted:06/14/2019

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