Hoosiers interested in and working with food systems across Indiana attended the second annual Indiana Food Summit in Indianapolis this week, where healthy food access continues to be a popular topic.
When trying to incentivize smaller retail stores to sell healthy food and produce you first have to make sure that’s what people want says Kara Lubischer, with University of Missouri Extension.
“We focus on the demand side first,” says Lubischer. “So we build up community support for the local retailer before we do anything inside the store.”
Lubischer led a session called Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy at the summit. She says the way to increase demand is through nutrition education and detailed how to do this through youth cooking competitions or wellness fairs.
Around 70 people attended the two-day event organized by Purdue Extension says coordinator Jodee Ellett. She says the event covers how Indiana’s food system can address bigger issues.
“A lot of communities in Indiana are experiencing poor access to healthy food,” says Ellett. “Some of the other issues we’re looking at is economic development, health … improving the health of our citizens in Indiana.”
Ellett says building community networks and relationships is needed for local food systems to thrive.
“So things from healthy food access, to shared use kitchens, to how to talk to your elected officials, so lots of tools and information and network building,” says Ellett.