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March 2022


Enclosed Amish buggies and horses hitched to  a rail in the snow with bright blue skyIndiana AgrAbility consultant Steve Etheridge and Chuck Baldwin, project manager, staffed a booth February 4-5 at the Northern Indiana Grazing Conference in Shipshewana. In spite of the harsh winter weather, a new attendance record was set for the event with 2,267 visitors, who were primarily Amish or Plain farmers, along with exhibitors and program speakers.

3 woolly sheep in a small blue wire pen on a polished floor A brown & white mottled ewe with her mottled lamb in a black wire pen on a shiny floorA great lunch was served both days and there was an abundance of new horse-drawn agricultural equipment and booths touting health aids from vitamins to acupuncture. This year's event also included a new exhibit of various kinds of sheep to spur on the rising interest among the Amish in raising sheep or goats in addition to their cows and horses.

The IN AgrAbility booth displayed a variety of AgrAbility literature, including the Plain Facts about Arthritis: A Guide to Understanding and Living with Arthritis in Plain Communities pamphlet and the Weeds in Our Garden coloring and activity book that targets safety for children on Amish/Plain farms. It was often the children being drawn to the literature that would encourage their parents to learn about AgrAbility from Steve and Chuck.

Black man John Jamerson in fedora hat behind podium that reads PURDUE UNIVERSITY FORT WAYNE & banner in background saying BLACK LOAM CONFERENCEEd Sheldon and Chuck Baldwin have been presenting AgrAbility to groups of urban BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color) farmers thanks to one of AgrAbility's partners. John Jamerson, director of the LIFE Project (USDA 2501 grant) that has the National AgrAbility Project as a partner, has been working with NRCS and other USDA agencies to produce a series of one-day conferences in Indiana for these urban farmers. The goal of the conferences is to help urban farmers see how they can benefit from USDA agencies and services.

Black woman Denise Jamers with red face mask sitting behind black tablecloth-draped table that reads INDIANA BLACK LOAM CONFERENCECalled the "Black Loam Conferences", four of them have been scheduled: Evansville, February 19; Fort Wayne, February 26; Gary, March 12; and Bloomington, March 19. Indiana AgrAbility staff Ed Sheldon spoke and staffed a booth at the Evansville event where about 35 people attended, and will also work the upcoming one in Bloomington. Chuck Baldwin exhibited and spoke at the Fort Wayne conference with 50 attendees and will 3 Burmese people in coats & face masks sitting at a table with headsets on listening to a 4th Burmese translatordo the same in Gary the day before heading to the NTW.

An interesting highlight of the Fort Wayne conference was having seven Burmese urban farmers in attendance with a translator.

Submitted by Chuck Baldwin