As evidence of the Hoosier Harvest Market's viability, says market manager Michael Morrow, growers from Batesville to Lafayette are expressing interest in joining the central Indiana hub. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)
Rita Miller, a coordinator for Hoosier Harvest Market, fills an order at the market's hub at the Purdue Extension office in Greenfield. Growers responding to Internet orders drop off their products at the hub, from where it is distributed. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)
HANCOCK COUNTY — Jill Williams became a Hoosier Harvest Market fan as soon as it went live on the Internet last year, but Indiana’s only farmer-owned virtual market is currently sowing hard to find continued funding.
“I’ve been a customer ever since it started; I love it,” Williams said Friday.
But Williams and the other 400 or so customers of the farm-to-table marketplace might be on borrowed time. As the so-called “food hub” goes through the last seed money of a grant that got the marketplace going a year ago, organizers admit the fledgling enterprise is approaching a crossroads.
Organizers have twice been turned down for public funding; elected officials have said they are reluctant to underwrite what amounts to a private enterprise.
But supporters say the food hub is more than that, and a spirited debate is brewing over whether taxpayers should play a role in supporting a movement that sits at the heart of the county’s agricultural heritage.
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