The new Glass Barn offers Indiana State Fair guests a chance to learn about Hoosier farms in a modern, technologically friendly environment. Visitors can meet Indiana farmers through webcams, play educational games and get their pictures taken during the fair.
The new Glass Barn offers Indiana State Fair guests a chance to learn about Hoosier farms in a modern, technologically friendly environment. Visitors can meet Indiana farmers through webcams, play educational games and get their pictures taken during the fair.

INDIANAPOLIS — After months of planning and construction, the Glass Barn at the Indiana State Fair is finished and ready for visitors to stop by and learn about agriculture.

The barn is the newest educational building to join the fair’s long line of exhibits. It will feature a variety of technologically friendly platforms that show how modern farm families live and do business.

“The Glass Barn is a project that the Indiana Soybean Alliance and checkoff board decided to fund a couple years ago,” said Megan Kuhn, communications director of Indiana Soybean Alliance. “We really wanted a project that tied to the state fair because the state fair does a great job educating about agriculture.”

The glass walls and sleek roof resembling solar panels show that agriculture is a modern, transparent industry.

Even the carpet in one area of the barn resembles an aerial view of Indiana fields, with patches of green and yellow pieced together.

“We kind of split it up into four zones,” Kuhn explained. “Our weGROW theatre is the focal point. The big screen is where we show videos of our farmers, Joe, Amy and Heather. You’ll see them throughout the exhibit because we really wanted to put a face to farming.

“Three times a day, we’ll actually go live through iPad, through FaceTime. We’ll have a conversation with them on their farm. We’ll talk a little bit, and then we’ll open it up for conversation. We wanted to introduce them and show their family, show that they are modern farms.”

The other three zones are:

* pictureU — A walk-in photo booth with a green screen allows guests to say “cheese” and impose themselves on one of four background options. Afterward they can send the image via email to share with friends and family;

* uFARM — This touch-screen game allows visitors to learn about farm management practices such as planting, pesticide application and more. Guests can compete with their friends to see who has the most successful farm; and

* uEAT — While visiting this portion of the barn, fairgoers can walk through an interactive grocery store, learn about the variety of products that come from ag commodities and play games on touch-screen devices.

The barn is free for fairgoers and will be air-conditioned, offering an escape from the summer heat.

The exhibits will be available every day of the fair, but the fun won’t end with summertime. The Glass Barn will serve as the welcome center for the State’s Largest Classroom, an educational program that provides onsite field trips for students year-round.

“We want visitors to get a chance to learn what it takes to be a farmer today and how farmers grow their food,” said Jane Ade Stevens, chief executive officer of the ISA. “We want them to know that it’s good food that is safe and nutritious and that it is made by farm families.”