Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good Things Happen When Food & Place Meet

As a part-time fundraiser for some clients, one of my favorite mantras is: "Money follows good ideas."

The same could be said for food: "People (and money) follow good food."

(Photo: Matthew Jose, owner of Big City Farms, greeted shoppers at the Indy Winter Farmers' Market.)

It's no coincidence that the once salvage yard at 24th St. and Central Ave. is now home to City Yoga. Yes, a developer did a good job revitalizing that site. However, it was the Indy Winter Farmers' Market that opened there last November that brought hundreds of people every Saturday to this urban neighborhood, many of whom had only driven through it previously on their way downtown. It didn't hurt that Goose the Market, another huge food success, is located just around the corner, suddenly making the area of 24th St. and Central Ave./Delaware St. a one-stop shop for weekend foodies. Housing the winter market even temporarily convinced tenants like City Yoga that its clientele will come to that location while also making it more profitable for the developer and landlord.

This year, that same developer, Larry Jones, is housing the Indy Winter Farmers' Market in his latest investment at 9th and East St. I have no doubt that this will draw the increasing number of downtown or near downtown residents who have only one grocery store in the mile square.

There are several other great examples of how quality food influences place, builds community and boosts economic development. The key is to learn from these great examples and multiply them across our community.

With this in mind, I invite you to join me for a 2009 Spirit & Place Festival dinner and discussion:

Local Food Trends: Growing Community, Economy and Mutual Delight
Sunday, Nov. 15, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
2442 N. Central Ave. (former location of Indy Winter Farmers' Market)

Bring your favorite dish to share for a potluck dinner and learn about how food influences places, builds community and boosts economic development. Neal Brown, former chef owner of L’Explorateur, will prepare a main course.

Speakers & Presentations

David Wu, policy director, City of Indianapolis – “The Power of Place and Food”

Panel discussion: Neal Brown, Laura Henderson, founder/market manager, Indy Winter Farmers’ Market; Matthew Jose, founder/owner, Big City Farms CSA; Chris Eley, owner, Goose the Market; and Janine Betsey, executive director, King Park Area Development Corporation. Facilitated by Gail Payne, owner, The Goods: Thoughtful Marketing, Authentic Living and Marc McAleavey, Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center.

Round-table discussions: Participate in small group conversations about various local food initiatives such as “Dig In” (the new Taste of Indiana event), a food vision for east 10th Street, urban farming, Indy farmers’ markets, community kitchens, and “Food for Thought,” theme for 2010 Spirit & Place and Indiana Humanities Council initiative.

The event is free. Donations accepted to benefit the Indy Winter Farmers' Market
Space is limited. RSVP by Nov. 12 to Gail Payne: 317.985.5523 or