Indiana’s commitment to ensuring Hoosiers have access to locally sourced and nutritious food has been driven by many questions and community feedback over the last decade. One consistent question has been, how can farmers be better connected to you? That’s where we’d like to introduce you to Anthony Tarullo, one of three Value Chain Coordinators for the state of Indiana.
The food grown in our community is available to you directly through community supported agriculture farm shares, farmer’s markets and online ordering hubs, but Anthony is not only focused in these areas. He’s also connecting farmers to local chain and personally-owned restaurants, schools and colleges. For example, a chef at a restaurant or food procurement person at a school is getting together a food order. Let us say, lettuce, is needed for the weekly salad bar. Current processes within the operations model for a school or business is to order through a commercial distributor, which is likely to sell food outside of the local area or even from another country.
While the current method is convenient, it has actually caused a negative economic impact within state of Indiana. By purchasing goods from local farmers and producers, you are keeping your money within your community and supporting small businesses. This can have a ripple effect throughout the local economy, as those businesses are then able to reinvest their profits back into the community.
We were able to sit down with Anthony to learn about his role.
Why were you interested in working as the Director of Local Food Coordination?
I love helping and connecting with people. It touches back on the roots of how I grew up in Shelbyville, Kentucky. I’m comfortable with connecting with farmers and growers. I love being outside. The position looked unique and was glad to see there were three or four other roles in the state of Indiana working on a common goal. We are in it together to make a difference for all Hoosiers.
Who do you work for?
Anyone and everyone that share the same goals in promoting the local food source. Local school systems, restaurants in hospitals and universities.
What are some accomplishments you hope to achieve in a year from now?
When I first began this role, I was overwhelmed with all the potential work that could be done. I will continue to elevate farmers, organization and food hubs to attract and retain a customer base. Bedford Collab and local CSAs will also be a focus.
What makes the Evansville, Indiana area a good candidate for local food systems?
This area is good at growing and creating their own products. The typical household members do not realize this opportunity to exists. You can choose to purchase food at big-box chains such as Walmart, Target, Costco or Sam’s however, wouldn’t it be great if we could fill our bellies with local food that is rich in nutrients with a fantastic taste, all the while funneling more dollars back into our own community?
If you’d like to connect with Anthony, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call Anthony at 812-827-8450. To learn more about buying local, please visit urbanseeds.org/spend10local.