Lieutenant Governor Crouch highlights agritourism in Indiana
Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch is highlighting how agritourism in the state can help people understand where their food comes from.
She recalls participating in agritourism activities as a child.
“We would pick strawberries at strawberry patches and cut down our own Christmas trees and it’s those same experiences that people were participating in without even realizing it was agritourism because agriculture is huge here in Indiana,” she says. “We’re the tenth largest farming state, agriculture contributes $31 billion to our state’s economy, and agritourism is attracting people, whether they’re Hoosiers or outside the state, to come and enjoy everything that agriculture has to offer.”
The state secretary of agriculture and rural development describes agritourism as the marriage between agriculture and tourism.
“The thing that’s so important about tourism is that it’s about economic development. About 70 cents of every dollar spent in a community from tourism stays in that community,” she says. “When people come and experience the pumpkin patches, apple orchards, wineries, breweries, or whatever it is we have to offer, they’re supporting the local economy and experiencing that special part of Indiana that you can’t get in every state and that is the celebration and experience of rural Indiana.”
Brownfield interviewed Crouch during Visit Indiana Day, sponsored by the Indiana Destination Development Corporation, at the Indiana State Fair. She says the state fair, including an agritourism display at the Normandy Barn, is another opportunity to see everything the state has to offer.
Fairgoers can also shop local at the Indiana Grown Marketplace in the Ag/Hort Building.
“We have some eighty vendors with 500 products that are Indiana Grown products. Every time I’m at the state fair I come to the Indiana Grown Marketplace, and I don’t leave without buying something,” she says. “Most recently, I purchased the Groomsville popcorn. It’s two ears of corn that come with a pouch and you can microwave one ear at a time and then voilà, you have popcorn. In addition to that, I got Mama Ray’s Special Seasoning which is low-sodium and Candy Corner peanut butter fudge that is the perfect size if you want a little bit of a sugar rush but not too much. There are so many products. I’m standing looking around and there is root beer, soaps, salsa, bloody mary mix, and many more products that have been grown, processed, or produced in Indiana.”
Indiana Grow launched in 2015 and has more than 1800 members and 50+ business partners which include farmers, farmers markets, distributors, producers, processors, wineries, breweries, artisans, retailers, grocers, hospitals, and restaurants.
Interested in finding an agritourism destination in the state? Click here for more than 70 options.
Audio: Suzanne Crouch