Indiana Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney says a partnership between the state and Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets Inc. is just "phase one" of the potential scope of the Indiana Grown Initiative. The program is designed to boost promotion of Indiana companies and food producers and their products. Marsh has signed on to be an in-store retail partner, and will set up Indiana Grown kiosks in 50 stores throughout the state.
McKinney tells Inside INdiana Business other large retailers such as the Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and others have expressed interest in Indiana Grown. He says the "next wave" of major program involvement will be restaurants. Additionally, the program, which is being supported by public and private partners in the food and ag sector is continuing to seek participation from farmers, producers, processors and artisans throughout the state.
More than 100 Indiana Grown products will be highlighted at Marsh stores, which is less than half the full scope of the program. McKinney says it is currently growing by two-to-three participants per day and includes 240 partners. He says it spans the spectrum from "farm gate to consumer plate" and connects Hoosiers in a diverse number of communities. McKinney believes the program has staying power because of its diversity. He says Indiana Grown involves "small farms, large farms, startup farms, longtime farms, low-tech, high-tech" and the prospect of participants having their goods displayed around the state is also playing a part in bringing families back to small communities they may have otherwise left.
You can connect to more information on the initiative by clicking here.
McKinney says there is room for additional partners in retail and beyond.