A partnership between food banks and Ivy Tech is providing healthy produce to people around the state. The sweet corn project began two years ago when Ivy Tech’s Terre Haute campus launched a hands-on field experiment for students.
The Terre Haute agriculture program teaches modern farming technology. Its corn yield kept growing so the campus donated to local food banks.
Becky Miller with the Ivy Tech Foundation says, this summer, students planted three different fields.
“The folks that receive the food get the freshest food possible and it also helps support the demand versus all of it coming at once,” says Miller.
Part of the final harvest will go to Gleaners Food Bank, which will distribute it to food banks across the state. CEO John Elliot says three Indiana food banks collaborated in the effort.
“It’s enough for us to have an impact on a small number of hungry people,” Elliot says. “When you have that scale of corn or any other commodity it makes a big difference.”
The sweet corn project is part of a larger trend to provide more nutritious food at pantries. Elliot says being able to leverage all the banks that serve Indiana helps create opportunities that might otherwise be lost.
“So if a farmer near Bloomington had an opportunity for that food bank, they are awfully small they just don’t have room, so there would be opportunities Bloomington would turn away,” Elliot says.
Gleaners recently started processing an additional 25 million pounds of fresh food regionally a year.
Ivy Tech students harvested 150,000 ears of corn this week.