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Bridging the gap from local farms to neighbors’ tables

Purdue Ag alumni partner to support small producers and provide fresh, locally-grown food to their communities

Stepping into the Four Seasons Local Market takes you back in time as the vibrant array of locally sourced produce and hand-crafted items greets you as you enter. The hum of freezers filled with fresh meats and dairy from nearby farms emits an inviting tone, making it clear that this is not your typical supermarket. Instead, it's a place created for those seeking locally grown food and a connection to those who have raised and produced it.

The heart and soul of this market lie in the hands of two Indiana couples: Paige and Jordan Gillenwater and Rachael and Kyle Harvey. These two families are committed to supporting local farmers and providing their community access to fresh, locally produced food.

Local food, local faces

Paige, Jordan, Kyle and Rachael, the driving forces behind Four Seasons Local Market, took ownership of the Crawfordsville market in 2021. Kyle and Jordan were raised on multi-generational farms and graduated with degrees in agribusiness from Purdue in 2016. Rachael, also a 2016 Purdue alumna, majored in animal sciences with a concentration on production. From the outset, their mission was clear: to bring together local food and local faces.

“What we have found is that the COVID-19 pandemic really began to get people thinking about where their food is from and their food systems. Not only is the work at the market educating people, but it is supporting small, local producers and the work they are doing,” said Rachael Harvey.

United to make a difference

After graduating from Purdue, Jordan returned to his family farm in Montgomery County, nurturing and expanding it over the years. "I understand what it’s like to be a small, local producer. I value partnering with like-minded producers at Four Seasons who are also focused on delivering high-quality items to our community," he said.

Kyle Harvey, faced the challenge of not being able to return to his family farm due to its small size and became driven to help other small producers thrive.

"You look around our shop and there are over a dozen Montgomery County small businesses that this store directly supports, and then there are countless other Indiana producers. It's important to us to provide that outlet to support young farmers and other small businesses," said Harvey. Not only does he focus on this work at the market, but also in his full-time position at Farm Credit. Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services., agribusinesses and rural infrastructure providers.

With her background in animal sciences and processing, Rachael Harvey brings a wealth of knowledge to market operations. Her expertise in the pork industry and her deep understanding of animal handling complemented the team's efforts to provide high-quality, responsibly raised meats to their community. She frequently works in the store and doesn't skip a beat when asked about her favorite part of her work there.

"I've enjoyed the education aspect of what we do here. Being the people raising the food our customers are purchasing, knowing how it is processed and how it all works from the small farmer's point of view, and sharing that with our customers is something I really enjoy.”

"We each have a certain background from agriculture including our education in both agribusiness and animal sciences that benefits this work. Our time at Purdue prepared us for more. I recall working in a lab at Purdue and being taught what a good work ethic means and how to treat people. What we learned as Boilermakers has driven us in this work and helped to make us successful. We use all those skills we learned at Purdue every day here,” said Rachael Harvey.

Growing a community that matters

“This community we have worked to develop here at Four Seasons is the sort of thing that most farmers would struggle to do on their own," Jordan Gillenwater said.

They have fostered community through events like a meal they host each winter for the producers. They all agree this has become a special time to gather and talk over trends in the industry, issues they are all facing, and new ideas they have for the market.

While the market continues to grow, they look forward to not only educating the community on agriculture but also their own children. Paige Gillenwater, an integral part of the business, enjoys the lessons her children learn weekly in the market.

"It is fun raising our kids here and watching them learn what we are doing. We have a tiny shopping cart, and they'll come in and price with me, and it's so fun. They are only two and three years old, but they love interacting with our customers and they are learning,” said Paige Gillenwater.

Both families are focused on raising the next generation to be entrepreneurial in agriculture and look for ways to serve and give back to their community.

Preparing for a changing agricultural landscape

"If you look at the average age of a farmer and you look at the land that is going to transition over the next decade or two, it's clear that it is going to become more challenging for small producers to continue to exist,” said Kyle Harvey. “This store and others like it are allowing these small producers to find avenues to continue to thrive.”

This work, after all, remains about the farmer and the community. The community aspect here is what drives us every day and will always be our focus. This is the sort of thing that most farmers would struggle to do on their own. The power of us coming together as a community is what it's all about.

- Jordan Gillenwater

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Meet the Gillenwaters

Gillenwater family

 

 

 

 



Gillenwater Farms supplies Four Seasons with local pasture raised beef and pork, as well as produce during the summers.

Jordan Gillenwater

 

 

 

 

 

 




(Gillenwater family photo by: Victoria Hunt Photography
)

Meet the Harveys

 

The Harvey Family

 

 

 

 

The Harveys own Farmstead Bakery and keep Four Seasons stocked with baked goods, sweet treats and the customer favorite ravioli.

Harvey family

Notable Statistics

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) estimates 6% growth for agricultural and food science workers between 2018 and 2028.
  • According to the Pew Research Center (www.pewresearch.org), organic food consumption has been growing at a 10% rate for the past several years.

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