The FarmLab project
began with Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder’s vision for transitioning Crystal Valley Dairy Farms
into a farm-based educational center dedicated to preserving local agricultural land and capacity. Goals for the FarmLab include:
- Sustaining and expands local agricultural knowledge
- Promoting agricultural career pathways
- Preserving agricultural land and productivity
- Improving access to local, healthy food
- Opening new markets for local food production
As a potential project in Elkhart County’s first Agricultural TIF district, the Elkhart County Redevelopment Commission
contracted Phil Metzler and Mark Seeley to perform a feasibility study, starting with a needs assessment. Through extensive research and interviews with key stakeholders, the FarmLab Feasibility Study
provides an extensive overall local food assessment and highlights the potential for Farm to School programming to be a catalyst for building a more robust and resilient community-based food system.
The main report
documents the needs and opportunities associated with the above goals. Detailed appendices explore specific issues and potential focus areas in greater detail to inform potential FarmLab activities and opportunities for the County as a whole.
The full report and its appendices can also be found at thefarmlab.net