Bloomington, Indiana, is a small Midwestern town about an hour south of Indianapolis and two hours north of Louisville, Kentucky. Its primary industry is the support of Indiana University, a large, Big Ten research university. There are also manufacturing sectors, though the town has lost many blue collar jobs over the last couple of decades and is increasingly engaged in the service economy.
Bloomington’s population is about 70,000. There are 39,000 students attending the University. The student body and faculty are a diverse population, drawn from all over the world.
Bloomington is surrounded by farm land on all sides. There are a number of small family-run farms in the area struggling to make it, selling to local restaurants, our local food co-op, and to the public at a summer Farmers Market and at onsite farm sales. Farmers come to the Market from all over the southern half of Indiana, which also incorporates territory covered by two other Slow Food groups – Slow Food Kentuckiana, and Slow Food Indy.
Bloomington needs its own group for several reasons. It is a little bit too far for members to travel to Indy or to the Louisville area for regular meetings, there is a serious core of people interested in eating seasonally, regionally, and slowly right here in town that wants to be involved, and the diverse nature of the city population gives Bloomington has a vibrant restaurant scene and other culinary resources that most towns of its size are unlikely to have. I have been in touch with representatives from the groups to our north and south and they are very supportive of our efforts, and we have talked about joint projects that can make the most of our proximity, as well as of the distinctive character of our locales