Ag Program Addresses Food Insecurity

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The final harvest took place Tuesday. (photo courtesy Ivy Tech Community College) The final harvest took place Tuesday. (photo courtesy Ivy Tech Community College)

Ivy Tech Community College in Terre Haute is touting the success of a project launched through its agriculture program. The effort, which originally aimed to provide a small, hands-on planting and growing experience for students, has resulted in the distribution of 150,000 ears of sweet corn throughout the state to Hoosiers in need.

The project began in 2015 when Ivy Tech students began planting in a small portion of a six-acre plot near the Westminster Village senior living complex in Terre Haute. It expanded last summer to include the entire six acres with Ivy Tech students, staff, community partners and agriculture businesses planting the corn.

Ivy Tech would use its new Precision Agriculture Technology program, which includes state-of-the-art equipment for tractors, to assist students during the planting, growing and harvesting periods.

"These additions to Ivy Tech’s tractor allow precise and accurate planting, the ability to track planting of hybrid seed and software to manage yield calculations at the time of harvest, giving our students great field experiences," said David Will, dean of the School of Technology at Ivy Tech. "They also are learning first-hand about giving back to the community and how important that ripple effect is in widening the reach to help others."

Ivy Tech and Westminster Village are working in collaboration with Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, the Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana in Fort Wayne, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, First Southern Baptist Church in Terre Haute and other food pantries to distribute the 150,000 ears of corn across Indiana.

The final harvest took place Tuesday, which you can view in the video above. John Etling, agency director of Catholic Charities says they have already distributed more than 70,000 pounds of sweet corn through Community Harvest in Fort Wayne and Gleaners in Indianapolis alone.

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