Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Farm To School Producer Project"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Summer 2015 - DURI
Research area(s):
farm to school, fruits, vegetables, growers,
Project Description:
Indiana's farm to school program is in its infancy stage and no one has examined the logistics, challenges and opportunities needed on how to forge ahead. Specifically, we need to know the following:  What specialty crop fruits and vegetables could be used and in what volume, form and price?  How do we get producers to grow more to meet an increased market need? (Our ultimate goal for this project and beyond)  How can we increase demand, increase markets and increase production through actions like sharing equipment? Ultimately, we want Indiana’s specialty crop producers to think bigger than direct to consumer sales and address the question of what farmers see as a limitation to growing for institutional sales. Specialty crops like carrots, sweet corn, potatoes, apples, and cabbage are all possibilities for K-12 institution sales but more work is needed to determine what is feasible for Indiana.
Expected Student Contributions:
We would like the intern to work on examining producer demands for local procurement to farm to school programs. We would like to increase the number of specialty crop producers in Indiana interested in supplying fruits and vegetables to their local school corporation. o Benchmark: We have only anecdotal evidence suggesting how many specialty crop producers are currently supplying directly to their local school corporation. Our survey (Work Plan, Goal 2) will give us a representative sample of those currently participating, allow us to enumerate them, and identify their unique needs, concerns and interests o Performance Measure: number of specialty crop producers surveyed o Target: We will survey approximately 10% (180) of the estimated 1800 fruit and vegetable producers in Indiana. The intern would work on producer surveys (orchestrating and analyzing results and work on incorporating prior DURI student reports into publications. They can also work on a future steps plan to incorporating producer-school partnerships.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?

Professor in Charge

Dennis, Jennifer
horticulture and landscape architecture

Student Supervisor

Jennifer Dennis
Associate Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Lisa Kirkham