Experts to share tips on how to find, consume locally grown food March 5

0224_blogpic“Food Within Reach: How to Eat local” on March 5 at Conner Prairie will feature chef and noted 100-mile dieter Thom England, Ton Jameson of Balenced Harvest Farms, Chris Baggot of Tyner Bond Farm and Husk Foods and Maria Smietana of Farm to Fork Market and Valentine Hill Farm.

By Katie Arnold
Communications Specialist

We’re gearing up for a pretty cool special event coming up in early March that will help us find out where locally grown foods are available and how we can integrate more local food into our daily diets.

From 6:30-9 p.m. March 5, Conner Prairie will host a panel discussion called “Food Within Reach: How to Eat Local.” Chef and noted 100-mile dieter Thom England will share his story about how he found the bounty of foods grown around central Indiana and how he is able to use them throughout the year.

After training and working as a professional chef in central Indiana and New York City, England is now a program coordinator for Ivy Tech Community College’s hospitality and culinary arts program. He authored “Idiots’ Guide: Grilling and Indiana Harvest,” is an avid traveler and has studied food and culture in 46 U.S. states and six countries. Continue reading

Event engages girls to learn more about STEM-related careers

0223_blog1More than 1,200 girls ages 7-12 are expected at Passport to Hi-Tech on March 7 at Conner Prairie, a day-long event that inspires girls to pursue STEM-related skills and careers.

Staff Report

In today’s workforce, women hold 57 percent of the nation’s bachelor’s degrees and more than 60 percent of master’s degrees but remain greatly under-represented in the science and engineering fields. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women are working less than a quarter of the nation’s science and engineering jobs.

To help change those numbers, Conner Prairie is partnering with Women & Hi Tech to again host Passport to Hi-Tech, a Roche-sponsored program that encourages girls ages 7-12 to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

More than 1,200 girls are expected at the 10 a.m.-4 p.m. event March 7. Free for museum members, admission is $6 for non-member Girl Scouts in uniform and their family members. General admission for non-members is $8. Continue reading

Couple makes Hearthside Suppers an annual tradition for 30 years

0220_blogNancy Jones volunteers in Conner Prairie’s textiles department. She and husband Jerry (inset) have made Hearthside Suppers a date night for 30 years.

By Melanie Hayes
Communications Specialist

Nancy and Jerry Jones missed the first year that Hearthside Suppers at Conner Prairie debuted back in 1983. But once they attended the second year, they haven’t skipped one yet. One year, they even went twice, which makes up for missing the first one.

And they still recall the delicious meal that was served during their first experience, which invites participants to prepare 1800s-style recipes and eat by candlelight in the 1823 Conner House.

Their first dessert, a fresh lemon pie, is also Jerry’s favorite dish during their 30-year attendance. “Oh, it was good,” Nancy said. “You had to slice the lemons paper thin and they would marinate them for the next night.”

The Joneses have been Conner Prairie members since 1983, volunteers since the mid-1990s and have supported Conner Prairie financially through the years. They’ve worked in the gardens, the Mother’s Day Heirloom Plant Sale and Symphony on the Prairie. Jerry has been a first-person interpreter and Nancy currently volunteers in the textiles department. Continue reading

History-loving couple working to restore Randolph County schoolhouse

0219_blog_1Carol Meeks, her husband Jon and several volunteers are working to restore this century-old, one-room schoolhouse in Randolph County.

By Melanie Hayes
Communications Specialist

0219_blog_3When Carol Meeks walks into a century-old schoolhouse in Randolph County, she can picture the students and teachers who once filled the small red brick building.

And she, her husband Jon (both at left) and other volunteers are hoping to bring the schoolhouse back to life to preserve its past and give it a future with a new generation of children coming through its doors.

Carol has worked at Conner Prairie for 30 years in the textiles department and as a first-person interpreter in 1836 Prairietown. Jon has volunteered at many Conner Prairie events over the last 12 years. Both have an intense interest in history and in preserving historically-relevant structures, he said.

The Meeks and other volunteers plan to restore and re-open the schoolhouse for field trips and community events. If possible, they could have a costumed interpreter play the role of a schoolmarm – and Carol wouldn’t be opposed to doing it herself since she has interpretive experience at Conner Prairie.

“It’s preserving a little bit of Indiana because we’re losing a lot of it,” Carol said about the schoolhouse project. “We love history. It will be a resource center for children to come experience what school was like back then, similar to what we do at Conner Prairie.” Continue reading

Keeping chickens: An urban perspective

0218_blogHens kept by Conner Prairie employee Jill Whelan at her Indianapolis home provide her with fresh eggs and are a source of “pure enjoyment,” she says.

By Jill Whelan
Guest Blogger

JillWhelan_blogMy adventures in keeping chickens began in the late summer of 2012 with the addition of three white Plymouth Rock hens I keep in the yard of my Indianapolis home. They were just about ready to begin laying eggs when I got them and they fulfilled my lifelong dream of raising chickens.

My fascination with chickens goes back to my childhood in Missouri when my family would occasionally visit some cousins in the country who kept a large flock on their farm. I loved watching the chickens run around the yard, scratching for food and catching bugs. Discovering newly laid eggs in the hen house was a thrill for me and I used to tell myself that someday I would have a farm and have lots of chickens so that I could gather eggs every day.

After all these years, I don’t own a farm. But I do have a sizeable yard with organic gardens in south Broad Ripple and chickens seemed like a good addition to my urban homestead. I did the research and was excited to find that Indianapolis does not have any ordinances prohibiting chickens. So the next thing was to convince my family that it was a good idea and get their help in building a coop and run area the way I wanted it. Continue reading