Monday, November 1, 2010

Greening the Statehouse Policy Forum

You Are Invited
To attend Hoosier Environmental Council's
3rd Annual Greening the Statehouse Policy Forum
When: Saturday November 6, 2010, 9 A.M. – 3:30 P.M.
Where: IU School of Law: 530 W. New York Str, Indianapolis

Register to attend at

Thursday, October 21, 2010

[Pecha Kucha Indy] Have a great idea about food? We have $5k.

Friday November 12, 2010 8PM
@ the Athenaeum Buy Tickets

You like food.
You have an idea.
We have $5,000. Let's talk.

Email your idea to in the form of 500 words that are a description of your project highlighting your vision to benefit your community in Indiana using food, how the project will be executed, and the impact it will have. You have until Sunday October 24th 11:59pm.

Or instead you can watch on Friday November 12th. And decide. $10 gets you entry and a vote as to who wins. Maybe you should buy some tickets

(Thanks: Indiana Humanities Council, Central Indiana Community Foundation, Asthmatic Kitty Records, Big Car and Method Architecture.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Food For Thought Farm Tour

In partnership with Spirit & Place 2010 - Food For Thought, you are invited to join Big City Farms farmers, Matthew Jose and Tyler Henderson, and Growing Places Indy partner Laura Henderson for a farm tour and picnic on Friday, Oct. 1 @ 5:30 p.m - 7 p.m. (Early enough to enjoy First Friday galleries & events as well!)

Meet at the Cottage Home Community Green Space on the south-west corner of St. Clair St. and Highland Ave. (~700 block of N. Highland Ave.) We'll take a walking tour of Big City Farms, and then return to the CH Community Green Space for a picnic* and conversation. Learn about the Big City Farms and Growing Places Indy partnership, our vision for urban farming in Indy, and our upcoming trip to Turin, Italy as Slow Food USA delegates to the Slow Food International Terra Madre conference. We'll share why we are excited to be delegates, and we'd love to hear what you hope we'll bring home from our experience!

Big City Farms and Growing Places Indy will provide iced tea, water and beer. Please bring your favorite picnic, including blanket/chair, food, dining ware, etc. Also, be prepared to walk about 1 mile!

This event is free but will be limited to the first 30 people to sign-up. Email to make a reservation. Families are welcome. Be prepared for walking and remember your picnic essentials and accessories!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Terra Madre 2010

Growing Places Indy's founding directors, Laura Henderson and Matthew Jose, have the great honor of being selected as official delegates to the Slow Food International 2010 Terra Madre Conference in Turino, Italy. Along with Todd and Kathleen Jameson of Balanced Harvest Farm and Slow Food Indy, and Tyler Henderson of Big City Farms and Slow Food Indy, Laura and Matthew will represent Indianapolis as part of the Slow Food USA delegation.

Terra Madre is an international conference, held every two years, that gathers sustainable food producers, farmers, cooks, educators and activists from around the world to connect and share their stories and traditions, as well as their innovative solutions for keeping small-scale agriculture and sustainable food production alive and well. Delegates come from over 150 countries. You can watch a video from Terra Madre 2008 and view the 2010 pamphlet here.

We take our role as delegates seriously, and we are honored for the opportunity to represent the many efforts around sustainable farming and food production growing in the Indianapolis area. We look forward to bringing back our experiences from Terra Madre to share with you and further nurture our collective sustainable food movement.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reminder - 1st of 3 Yoga Classes to Benefit Kelly Funk

Yoga to Benefit Kelly Funk Recovery Fund
Friday, Sept. 17th @ 5:45-7 p.m. – All Levels Vinyasa Yoga for Awakening with Laura Henderson

Invoke Studio – 970 Fort Wayne Ave. Suite C – - 317.631.9642

Read original post about the three class benefit series here.

Saturday, Sept. 18th @ 11:00 a.m. – The Yoga Center – 6245 N. College Ave – - 255-9642

Sunday, Sept. 19th @ 1 p.m. - CITYOGA– 2442 Central Ave. – - 317.920.9642

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Going Local Week Today Sept. 5 - Sept. 11, 2010

Starts Today!

GOING LOCAL Week 2010 will be celebrated in the Hoosier state starting this Sunday, September 5 through Saturday, September 11, 2010. It is a one week “challenge” to Indiana citizens to eat at least one Indiana locally grown or produced food at each meal during the seven day event.

“I encourage everyone to take part in GOING LOCAL WEEK,” said Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. “If you don’t already, visit a local farmers’ market this week and buy local grown produce and meats – or try Indiana Artisan special creations such as hot sauces, delicious baked goods or Indiana wines. I have traveled and enjoyed these different local foods all across our state. I am so proud of our Hoosier producers and the high-quality, delicious foods they offer each community.”

The objectives of GOING LOCAL Week are to:

· Create an appreciation for the abundance and diversity of the Indiana food shed.

· Make Indiana citizens more aware of the availability of local foods in their own communities.

· Provide support and recognition for Indiana local food producers.

· Increase Indiana residents’ consumption of locally grown/produced foods in a long-term effort to encourage them to regularly purchase more locally produced items for their weekly meals so that the consumption of Indiana locally grown and produced foods will become the norm, not a novelty at Hoosier dinner tables across the state.

“Here at the Department we are going to celebrate with field trip to the Original Farmers’ Market in Indianapolis on Wednesday and then enjoy an in-office potluck of locally grown foods on Friday,” said Indiana Agriculture Director Joe Kelsay. “I encourage everyone to join us in celebrating Indiana’s incredible local foods and destinations.”

GOING LOCAL Week was created in 2008 by Indiana local food blogger, Victoria Wesseler, who authors the GOING LOCAL site ( She notes, “If half the families in Indiana shifted $6.25 of their current weekly food budget to the purchase of Indiana grown or produced local food this effort would provide an annual contribution of $300 million into the local Indiana economy. Is this impressive? Yes, but that's not the final number. Studies consistently show that a dollar spent locally will multiply itself by 3 to 5 times making the actual economic impact of that one dollar in the local community where it was spent far greater than a buck. Initially it may be impossible to believe but, with a subtle shift in our food spending habits, we can make a $900 million to $1.5 billion economic impact on Indiana in one year.”

Ideas to celebrate GOING LOCAL Week:

· Do some of your weekly shopping at local farmers’ markets, farm stands, and farm markets.

· Bring in fresh Indiana fruit for the staff instead of pastries during the week.

· Have an in-office potluck lunch where everyone brings in something they’ve made with a local ingredient.

· Go out to an after-work “happy hour” at a local winery or brewery.

· Dine out at a restaurant featuring locally produced food items.

· Visit an orchard or U-Pick and harvest your own produce.

· Ask your local market if they sell locally grown food. Find restaurants that do the same. Support these establishments.

· Participate in a CSA.

· Take a farm tour in your area.

· Research special foods that may be local to your area and seek them out.

· Take a cooking or food preservation class which features local foods.

· Encourage others to join you in this effort during GOING LOCAL Week. Host a pitch-in picnic or covered dish party and ask everyone to bring something made with local ingredients. Spend the evening talking about the food’s origins and learning about what’s available in your area.

· For more ideas about how to celebrate GOING LOCAL WEEK or information about Indiana local food and producers, visit the GOING LOCAL site at

Information about Indiana food and producers, listings of local food events and farm tours, as well as recipes featuring Indiana’s fresh, local, and in-season foods can be found on the GOING LOCAL site (

GOING LOCAL Week 2010 contact:

Victoria Wesseler


Phone: 765-325-1000

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sept. 17-19 - Yoga to Benefit Kelly Funk of Seldom Seen Farm

A weekend of Yoga to Benefit Kelly Funk – September 17, 18 & 19, 2010

Three Indianapolis Yoga Studios are teaming up to support Kelly Funk of Seldom Seen Farm.

Kelly was struck by lightening on July 8th while working on the farm. She is making gradual progress toward recovery, and Kelly’s extended “farm family” has launched a number of efforts to ease the family’s financial burden during this difficult time. You can read more about Kelly’s recovery process at All donations will go to the Kelly Funk Recovery Fund (

Everyone who knows Kelly knows her warm smile, strong will, and endless positive energy. We invite Indy’s yoga community to join a class - or all three - and send strength, grace and love back to Kelly and her family. If you are part of another studio that would like to participate, please contact Laura Henderson,

Friday, Sept. 17th @ 5:45 p.m. – Invoke Studio – 970 Fort Wayne Ave. Suite C – - 317.631.9642

This benefit Vinyasa class will be lead by Laura Henderson. Laura has been lucky enough to know Kelly and her husband John for a few years. Not only have they critical supporters of and participants in the Indy Winter Farmers Market, but they have been mentors and co-inspirers to Laura and her husband Tyler as they have begun their farming path.

All are welcome with a donation of any amount. Additional donations made out to The Kelly Funk Recovery Fund may be left in an envelope c/o Laura Henderson at any time.

Saturday, Sept. 18th @ 11:00 a.m. – The Yoga Center – 6245 N. College Ave – - 255-9642

This benefit Slow Flow class will be lead by Karen Fox. Kelly grew up in the Broad Ripple area. Seldom Seen Farm has now been an emblematic grower-vendor at the Broad Ripple Farmers Market for several years. Kelly’s parents and brother frequently help work the market. Since Kelly’s accident, friends and farm patrons have stepped in to help the family work the market.

All are welcome with a donation of any amount. Donations will be received at the studio all day on Saturday Sept. 18th.

Sunday, Sept. 19th @ 1 p.m. - CITYOGA– 2442 Central Ave. – - 317.920.9642

This benefit Vinyasa class will be lead by Jocelin Romero. Jocelin has gotten to know and enjoy John and Kelly through the Trader’s Point Creamery Summer Farmers Market, where she works with her own family selling Raw Gourmet Delights. Her parents are loyal Seldom Seen CSA members.

All are welcome with a donation of any amount. Additional donations made out to The Kelly Funk Recovery Fund will be received at CITYOGA through Sept. 19th.

Friday, August 27, 2010

JOIN ME at “Dig-IN: A Taste of Indiana"

Another great event at White River State Park -- THIS SUNDAY

WHAT: You’re invited to join Indiana growers, producers and chefs as they make their way to White River State Park THIS SUNDAY to showcase locally produced products at Dig-IN: A Taste of Indiana. Chefs from R-Bistro, Oceanaire, St. Elmo, Recess, Goose and many other great restaurants will prepare their finest samples along with beer and wine tastings from some of the best Indiana wineries and breweries throughout the state. Dig-IN will also feature educational discussion panels, cooking demonstrations, urban gardening exhibits, Q&A sessions with chefs, food pairing classes, and much more. Celebration Amphitheater will also stage three, local Indianapolis bands performing throughout the afternoon. For a list of chefs, producers, wineries and breweries, as well as other event information, go to

WHEN: Sunday, August 29 from noon - 6 p.m.

WHERE: White River State Park’s Celebration Plaza and Amphitheater

801 West Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

TICKETS: Only 6,000 tickets are available for this event. Advanced-sale tickets are available online and at participating Marsh Supermarkets: $15 for adults, $7 for children under 12, and children under 3 are free. (Ticket processing fees may apply.) On-site tickets on the day of the event will be $20 for adults, $15 for children, and children under 3 will still be free.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Slow Food Garden is the Headlining Photo on Win In Indy this week!

Check out this article from Breen Fain for Win In Indy - The Indianapolis eNewsletter. To see the photos from the garden, link here.

Dig IN Promises to be a Feast for the Senses

by Breena Fain


In Indiana, we know the word well. From a historical sense, we're a leader in the field (pun intended). From an economical sense, our state depends on it to prosper. From a sociological sense, the bounty brings people together! But from my sense, it's what makes Indiana so unique. When repeating the word in my head, I couldn't help but concentrate more on the suffix - "culture." Indeed, the prefix "agri" is clearly important, but hear me out.

The (agri)culture of Indiana is more than just farm fresh foods in our markets and restaurants. It's about embracing what our great state has provided us. It's about appreciating what local farmers have provided us. And most importantly, it's about taking the time to just enjoy it all. In my opinion, Indiana natives know how to do this extremely well.

One way to show our gratitude is through engaging in the Slow Food Movement. From seeding to eating, this movement is all about taking the time to appreciate the growth of our harvests, cooking it with care and savoring every bite with others who vow to do the same. The folks from Growing Places Indy - a non-profit organization committed to the cultivating "culture" of food and urban agriculture in Indianapolis - are leaders in such a movement. They have a Slow Food Garden in the White River State Park filled with delicious vegetables that go straight to local markets and restaurants.

Getting hungry yet?

Well, to satisfy both your intellectual and literal appetite, the White River State Park will be hosting "Dig In: A Taste of Indiana" this Sunday, August 29, from 12-6 p.m. The event will feature educational discussion panels, cooking demonstrations, urban gardening exhibits and local chef Q&A sessions.

And, of course, it couldn't be a "Taste of Indiana" without delicious wine tastings, beer and food pairing classes and much more! And this is all included in the ticket price! In advance, tickets are only $15 for adults, $7 for children and those under 3 years old are free. This is a truly tasty event that is perfect for all ages - "A feast for the senses" indeed.

So celebrate all that Indiana agriculture has to offer and remember to take the time to enjoy it, bite by bite.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Factory Farming Webinar this Thursday with the Hoosier Environmental Council

We would like to share today's Green Piece Indy tip with you. This is an important issue in Indiana, and one we believe we all should all be aware of, whether you eat meat or not.

Where's the Beef?

You sit down to lunch at a local restaurant, scan the menu, and notice a hamburger made with Indiana beef. Seems like the greenest choice, right? Maybe not. Before you say bring it on to that burger, keep in mind that "Made in Indiana" doesn't necessarily mean sustainable. Sure, it may have traveled a short distance from farm to fork, but did the farming process take a greater toll on our local environment?

Around Indiana, hundreds of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (a.k.a. CAFOs) and factory farms exist. These overcrowded feedlots, where animals gorge themselves on a grain-based diet before meeting their eventual end, often host more than 1,000 cattle, 2,500 hogs or sheep, or 100,000 fowl. Simply put, CAFOs and factory farms create significant air and water pollution. All that animal waste has to end up somewhere, right? And, if you've seen movies like Food Inc., you know that factory farms also pose serious health threats, including E.coli food poisoning.

In response, the Hoosier Environmental Council is hosting a factory farming webinar this Thursday, August 5 at noon or 6 p.m. If you're concerned about where your food comes from, this one's for you. If you can't participate, remember that purchasing meat and poultry raised by local, small-scale farms (like those you would find at your local farmers market) is always the greener way to go.

Of course, all of this begs the question, just how safe is our water? If you're a Marion County resident, round up a group friends, neighbors, or co-workers and contact Marilyn Hughes of the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), at 786-1776 or The SWCD offers a free presentation that discusses water quality and conservation issues in the county and offers educational resources for those wishing to start their own projects.

Piece out,
Renee & Meghan

Monday, July 26, 2010

Our Thanks to Jack & Kim Johnson and their dedicated crew

Growing Places Indy is extremely grateful to Jack Johnson and his All At Once program and crew. It was really an amazing experience to be selected to participate, and to be challenged to raise $2500 before October 1st. They strongly encourage engaging the community in raising the funds, and we have work to be creative in our approach. We organized a film screening and a yoga class, and our Farm Stand in the Slow Food Garden at White River State Park has made produce available by-donation. We have also received generous contributions from others who could not make a specific event. Thank you all!

On Friday, July 23rd, we had the opportunity to have a booth space in the All At Once Village Green at Jack Johnson's concert at Verizon. We'd gotten our first t-shirt order the day before, so we took those, along with some brochures, a little info board, and some produce to attract folks to our table. The All At Once program uses a wonderful "passport" idea to get concert goers to explore the organizations in the Village Green, as well as encouraging them to consider other actions they can take for a more sustainable lifestyle on their own. From the time the doors opened (actually even before from All At Once workers & volunteers) we had a constant stream of people interested in our husk cherries, our t-shirts, and/or the work of Growing Places Indy. We received $609.59 in donations (including $15 donations for all 30 t-shirts we had)! We remain energized and truly amazed by this experience.

Jack Johnson took the time to come out and introduce himself, chat, and take a picture with each organization. Growing Places Indy and Big City Farms had sold his catering folks food for their Friday night meal earlier that morning. He also told us he and his wife celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary on July 22nd with dinner at R-Bistro. They had enjoyed husk cherries from the Slow Food Garden there as well. While we may not have another opportunity to be an All At Once partner again, we certainly hope we can continue to provide Jack Johnson and others with "good, clean, fair" food whenever they visit Indianapolis.

Not every "big name" musician chooses to engage in the purchase of local food or eat at local restaurants. Fewer still donate 100% of tour profits to charity, as does Jack Johnson. Probably even fewer invest in the work of connecting their fans to local non-profit organizations doing work to support environmental, art and music education. Jack Johnson and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation do all of the above, and probably more than that as well. It is also impressive that through the All At Once program fans of Jack Johnson and the local non-profits are encouraged to show their support directly by donating to those organizations, and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation then matches the funds donated up to $2500.

For all the conversations, opportunities to share and receive, and the wonderful example of leadership, we offer our sincere gratitude to Jack Johnson, All At Once and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Many thanks this weekend

Many thanks to everyone who came out to our events this weekend to support Growing Places Indy, while stretching your bodies and minds to new lengths!

We had an intimate showing of FRESH the documentary at Perk-Up Cafe on Friday, followed by thoughtful conversation and some great questions. Congrats to Diane & Peter who won the Jack Johnson concert tickets that evening, and special thanks to our gracious hosts - Alice & Jeanette. We raised $85 in donations!

Sunday afternoon we had a small, but hard working group of volunteers show up in
the rain for our Slow Food Garden @WRSP work day. With Kelly Funk on our hearts and in our minds, we took the KIB truck, tools and materials into the shelther of the parking garage and made great strides in the construction of our 2nd compost bin! Sara, Audrey and Samantha also gave a stellar presentation on composting to those in attendance.

Sunday evening 30 yogis came out for the benefit class at Invoke Studio.
We shared a lovely evening of yoga, and raised $385 in donations!
Congrats to Dawn, Cary and Andrea who won the evening's Jack Johnson concert
ticket raffle.

All in all that's $470 that will be matched by the Johnson Ohana
Charitable Foundation
, which means a total of $940 to continue our
"growing" efforts.

You can make a donation to Growing Places Indy and have it matched by Jack Johnson until we reach our $2500 goal by emailing Laura Henderson at

Thanks again to everyone for the tremendous support and encouragement!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


By Growing Places Indy Intern, Audrey Brinkers:
I used to hate soil. I didn't like the way it crowded my cuticles, making my boyish hands look more masculine. I didn't like the way it morphed into a slimy residue, shimmering on my arms, forehead, and even the skin behind my ears. I didn't like its unknown contents, consisting of everything from bugs to twigs to the remains of my deceased labrador. And I didn't like its plainess in comparison to the beautiful vegetables and flowers that burst forth from its boring brown expanse. But from a challenging Enivronmenal Science class, my time spent with the Herron High School Garden Club, and, finally, my internship at Growing Places, I've learned the wonders of soil, allowing me to appreciate every grain of silt, sand, or loam.
I admire now my dirty hands, rough from a day of pulling thistle. I've gotten used to sweat and mud combinations, and am finally (after eighteen years) able see the reason in showering. I find it fascinating that soil holds so much, each horizon offering a different composition. And I've realized that soil isn't quite so plain. If I've gained anything from the garden, it's the knowledge that those simple things are more complex than I've ever antipated, and I'm eager to learn it all.

Audrey graduated in 2010 from Herron High School, and she will be attending Reed College in the Fall.

Monday, July 12, 2010

More words from our interns....

We want you to hear from our interns what they are learning, what they are thinking about, and how their Growing Places Indy internship is influencing the way they think about food and farming.

From Stuart Harvey:

7/4/2010 - As an intern at Growing Places Indy, I have begun to see society in a way that is far less like a spectator and more like an active participant. Being a consumer in America makes you feel as if you have so many choices and so much control over the things you buy. Yet, there still fails to be healthy, organic, sustainable food options in the cities we live in while we continue to have the resources to cultivate. Working at the garden at White River State Park allows me to participate in a garden that promotes all of these attributes that our food systems lack as well as help spread awareness of better ways to get the food we eat everyday. Taking part in such a project allows me to practice and support a food system that I believe in by trying to make a difference in a society filled with industrial agriculture, even if it is in the smallest way. Carrying out what I believe in makes me feel empowered. This sense of empowerment gives me a sense of hope and belief for our future not only in Indianapolis, but in America for what our food systems could look like. Growing Places Indy has allowed me to envision it.

Stuart Harvey is a junior at Butler University studying Education. Stuart hopes to bring his experience in urban farming to his future teaching career, both in the classroom, and from schoolyard gardens to school cafeterias.

From Sara Swan:

7/4/2010 - I, first, am a food person. I prefer grocery stores to malls, and have been known to spend an inordinate amount of time reading cookbooks. However, it wasn’t until this summer that I really understood the world behind what I was eating. Formerly, farming in my mind was the iconic farmer on a tractor in a field of corn, and that was it. Then one day my English teacher announced the opportunity to intern with Growing Places, and I found myself in this network of urban farmers (who, for obvious reasons tend to not use tractors), city gardens (with no corn anywhere in sight), and local chefs with a desire for the freshest, healthiest vegetables. I learned how much weeding goes into maintaining an organic garden, that there are beets that are actually not red, and just how passionate people are for what truly is becoming a movement. The only problem with this new-found awareness is that now I am aware of how much I have to learn, from the politics of using a college farm’s produce in the cafeteria, to when to plant certain crops, to soil chemistry. The exciting part of this internship, though, is that everywhere there are people who are willing to share their knowledge, always with a genuine excitement for helping others feel that same enthusiasm for growing produce. Besides gaining some knowledge of farming, I have also developed a sense of connection with the everyday food I eat. I now wonder how the vegetables and fruit I eat are grown, and feel more conscious of the many implications of what I eat and of the food system that brought that food to those grocery stores I so adore.

Sara Swan graduated in June from Herron High School. She’ll be starting college at Beloit College this fall where she plans to study Sociology.

From Samantha Atkins' lastest blog post for the Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University:

When the Most Interesting Thing is Interest...

7/11/2010 When asked to think about what has been the most interesting or surprising thing about working with Growing Places Indy this summer, as I was recently asked by one of the founders of the non-profit, Laura Henderson, my first thought was about how many people are interested in growing food, especially myself. Raised in a rural area but “in town” nonetheless, I was always around farms (big, mechanized ones mainly) and was also simultaneously led away from that lifestyle and encouraged to pursue education in literature, science, music, what have you. By many of the kids who lived in town, farming was considered a “poor people” thing. My goal, whether I could tell you about it or not, was to have a job where I could stay out of the sun and out of the dangers of farming.
Read the rest of Samantha's blog post here.

Samantha graduated from Butler University with a degree in Creative Writing and Spanish. She will be moving to Spain for graduate school in August.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Upcoming July Events & Fundraising matched by Jack Johnson!

Friday, July 16th @ 6-7:30 p.m. - Join us at Perk-Up Cafe 6536 Cornell Ave in Broad Ripple for a screening of the film FRESH, a feel-good movie about the local food movement nationwide. Admission is by any donation amount of your choosing.* Every $5 donation enters you in a raffle for TWO FREE tickets to the July 23rd Jack Johnson concert at Verizon.

Sunday, July 18 @ 1-4 p.m. - Community Workday in the Slow Food Garden (1-3 p.m.) + Backyard Composting Workshop (3-4 p.m.) FREE plus we provide water, tea and garden fresh snacks. At White River State Park in the Slow Food Garden. Address and directions here.

Sunday, July 18 @ 6:15-7:30 p.m. - Yoga Class to benefit Growing Places Indy. GPI co-director and certified yoga instructor, Laura Henderson, will lead an open level yoga class in her uniquely contemplative and provoking way that invites us to consider our actions, our voices, our choices. Participation is by any donation amount of your choosing.* Every $5 donation enters you in a raffle for TWO FREE tickets to the July 23rd Jack Johnson concert at Verizon. Invoke Studio, 970 Fort Wayne Ave. Suite C, Indianapolis 46202,

* As an All At Once partner, your donation to Growing Places Indy will be matched up to $2500 by the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation through October 2010. 100% of Jack Johnson's 2008 tour profits were used to establish the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, an endowment founded by Jack and Kim Johnson to support environmental, art and music education now and into the future. As part of the 2010 world tour, the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation will offer direct and matching donations to All At Once partner non-profits. Jack Johnson will once again donate 100% of his 2010 tour profits to charity.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Words from our Interns

Two of the Growing Places Indy interns, Sara & Audrey, are also working at the Herron High School Garden located in the back yard of the Indiana Humanities Council. Tyler and I helped the IHC set up the garden last year, and have been delighted to work with the IHC and the newly established Herron High School gardening club to turn the management of the garden over to them. Sara and Audrey are helping to establish a plan for how the HHS gardening club will maintain the garden for the future, and writing about their experiences for the IHC Food for Thought blog.

The following post is what they wrote last week. After reading this, I am ready to declare our first intern season a success. This is one example of why we do what we do.

Posted July 2, 2010 From the Soil to the Table, Eating Food without a Label

Beyond the Indiana Humanities Council-Herron High School garden, we also work in the Growing Places Slow Food Garden at White River State Park. The garden, 6,000-square-feet of pesticide-free produce, is used to train future urban farmers (including yours truly—well, maybe), to grow crops for sale to businesses and passerby, and to promote local food culture. Along with the necessary weeding and harvesting, we get to visit various food-related businesses, non-profits, and local legends in an effort to learn about the far-reaching effects of our food choices. In doing so, we have noticed our habits and ways of thinking changing steadily.

Once upon a time, we used to nap after our meals (yes, even those at school—Herron has a wonderful lawn for sleeping). This summer however, marks a new era. Now, following delicious local lunches, we bike. Take today for example, in which vegetarian chef Becky Hostetter prepared a scrumptious composition consisting of beet salad, greens and zucchini cheese sandwiches (with crusty, airy homemade bread) for Growing Places. Following such a delicious, decidedly local spread, she revealed her ice cream made from berries found throughout the neighborhood, nestled next to her pillowy lemon cake. Then, we mournfully left such a pleasant dining experience to hop on our bikes to come blog.

Despite being unbelievably delicious, the food carries even deeper significance for us, since Growing Places planted, weeded and harvested much of the vegetables we have been enjoying lately. To watch that journey from the soil to the table creates an enriching connection with the everyday act of eating, and with the earth itself. Because of this new-found sentiment, we have made our own attempts at cooking with local food. Last Friday brought about an unexpected appreciation for turnips, which we mashed with potatoes, carrots, oregano, rosemary, basil and parsley. We’ve also been munching on flavorful broccoli from the White River Garden (especially when it’s dipped in homemade hummus) and raspberries from Sara’s garden. Hopefully, this delectable trend will continue.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Long Overdue Update

We have been busy in the Slow Food Garden at White River State Park. Sadly for you, that has meant a lack of updates on all the fun we've been having in our work. So, over the next week, we'll be doing our best to fill you in on our progress this summer, including:
  • The first month of our inaugural intern group! They are the fantastic five & Matthew and I have been really impressed. They ride their bikes everyday without a complaint, wearing their helmets and following traffic safety rules like pros. They've also helped to design our vegetable bike trailers for hauling our produce from the garden to market/restaurant, and they are enthusiastically helping in the hauling. They now proudly and confidently engage visitors to the garden in conversation about what's growing, why, how and their own perspectives on urban farming and local food. They've learned to harvest, seed and have become expert weeders. They've visited R-Bistro, Trader's Point Creamery, and Big City Farms, with seven more field trips on the schedule. You'll be reading their impressions from these field trips soon, as well as their weekly reflections on work done, conversations had, and more.
  • Our produce is growing like crazy! Our soil tests showed that the land we're gardening at White River State Park is safe, but it also indicated our soil lacked any nutrient richness. So, our expectations were low of how things would grow this first year, as we worked to improve the soil with compost, soil amending plantings, and other chemical & synthetic fertilizer-free methods. Much to our delight our cabbages are huge, our celery is stellar, our artichokes are producing fruit, our beets and turnips have been large, lovely and tender, .... I could go on, but you should just come see for yourself!
  • Produce sales are keeping us busy! Restaurant demand has been so great, we are having to plan to keep enough for our on-site farm stand (Wednesdays 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) and our monthly trip to the Wednesday City Market Farmers Market. You can find our produce on the menus at: City Cafe, R-Bistro, Goose the Market, Natural Born Juicers, Pizzology & other events of the Neal Brown Hospitality Group, Meridian, Recess, and more.
  • We've made some exciting partnerships! Growing Places Indy will be the Whole Foods One Dime at a Time organization for both Indianapolis area Whole Foods locations in July, August & September. Whole Foods Market offers 10¢ per bag to customers who reuse their own bags. Customers can accept their refund, or direct the cashier to donate the cash to the store's chosen non-profit - through the One Dime at a Time program. Please remember to bring your own shopping bags and give us your dime each time you shop at Whole Foods this summer (of course you'll be there for the items that are not available from our wonderful area farmers markets and farm stand!)
Growing Places Indy is also being featured in the Jack Johnson All At Once program, including a table at the July 23rd concert at Verizon. As part of the 2010 world tour, the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, an endowment founded by Jack and Kim Johnson to support environmental, art and music education now and into the future, offers direct and matching donations to All At Once partner non-profits. Growing Places Indy will be matched up to $2500 in fundraising this summer. Your participation in our workshops, the Whole Foods Dime at a Time fundraiser, and other summer fundraisers to be announced soon all contribute to this match.
  • This Sunday, June 27th Community Workday (1-4 p.m.) and Rain Barrel Making Workshop (3-4 p.m.) Read more at our June 21st post.

This is just some of what we've been up to in the garden and in the office! We'll be working hard to update you further, provide photos for your viewing pleasure, and keep you posted of our upcoming events, workshops, fundraisers, as well as other great opportunities around Indianapolis for engaging in our truly amazing local food community. Stay tuned and spread the word!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Community Workday and Rain Barrel Workshop

What: Growing Places Indy - Community Workday and Rain Barrel Making Workshop

Where: The Slow Food Garden at White River State Park

When: Sunday - June 27, 2010, 1-4 p.m.

The Slow Food Garden is located next to the Segway rental (just south of the main entrance to the State Museum) within White River State Park along Washington Street. (#17 on the map:

Details of the day are as follows:

Community Workday – 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Growing Places Indy is committed to cultivating the culture of food and urban agriculture, and this is your opportunity to help cultivate our Slow Food Garden.

· Co-Directors Laura Henderson and Matthew Jose will provide volunteers with a tour of the farm and lead volunteers in the work of the day, be it weeding, seeding, transplanting or more.

· Snacks and water will be provided so please bring a cup/bottle for filling your own water.

· You can continue with work day tasks until 4 p.m., or join the rain barrel workshop at 3 p.m.

Please contact Laura Henderson ( by Friday, June 25 at 5:00pm to let us know you will be attending. More information about Growing Places Indy can be found at

Rain Barrel Making Workshop – 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
If you have been thinking about getting a rain barrel, but haven’t got around to buying or building one as yet, here is your chance!

· You can watch and learn how to construct and use your own rain barrel for FREE.

· Or, you can make one of your own to take home to start collecting rainwater for your own gardens for $70 (Cash or check only, collected the day of the workshop). Cost includes a 55 gallon food grade barrel, all hardware and materials and barrel conversion demonstration AND helps to raise money to keep the work of Growing Places Indy growing.

· Either way, you’ll gain the experience to make as many future rain barrels as your heart desires!

Space is limited in the rain barrel workshop, so please reserve a place with Tyler Henderson ( by Friday, June 25 at 5:00pm.

Indy Urban Farming Forum

Laura Henderson, co-director of Growing Places Indy, will be presenting as part of the Urban Farming Forum tonight about 8 p.m.

When: June 21, 2010 - 7 p.m. to 9 p.m

Where: Garfield Park Arts Center, Indianapolis IN

Who: Anyone interested in learning more about urban farming, gardening and farmers markets in Indianapolis

A public forum to discuss urban gardening and farming in Indianapolis. The event is organized by the City of Indianapolis’ Office of Sustainablity and the Brownfields program. Mayor Greg Ballard will kick off the 2nd annual forum with opening remarks. Topics covered include an update on Indianapolis area farmers markets, safe soil issues, urban gardening programs and more.
For more information, email

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We've planted!

A lot has happened at the Growing Places Indy Slow Food Garden at White River State Park in the last month! On March 14th our first group of volunteers, courtesy Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, came out and worked in fairly chilly and overcast conditions to dig and turn under the grass, weeds, and wild flowers begin to sprout in the garden beds. They also built a lovely compost bin that has already been receiving matter from the garden. Later that same week Matthew, Matt Hostetler and Tyler Henderson came back out to complete the work of tilling the soil.

On March 21st our second group of volunteers, again just under 20 folks, came out on another chilly day with heavy rain clouds threatening to dump on us at any moment. This hard working bunch was either undeterred, or motivated to work faster by the uncertain weather, and managed to spread 20 cubic yards of aged manure to top dress the soil (soil tests came back at safe levels for growing edibles but the pH needs some adjusting) and 6 tons of crushed limestone for walking paths to enable visitors to walk through the garden beds, not just around them. We really did not expect all of this work would get done in one work day! Please enjoy photos of the day's work, courtesy of Angie Hermann.

We must also offer hearty thanks to some friends who joined us on a Tuesday evening to rake out secondary paths in the garden beds and spread clover seed in these pathways. Our hope is to have a combination of limestone paths and "living" pathways that are planted in clover.

All of this work was exciting, and certainly made the project finally feel genuinely real. Of course, it's getting seeds and starts in the ground that makes it all start to come together.

This past Sunday, April 11th, another fantastic group of about 15 volunteers gathered for another successful day of work. They helped us with what threatens to be relentless weeding and planted the first starts and tubers. Tuber planting included seven varieties of potatoes and jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes). We have been starting seeds under grow lights and in a green house over the past couple of months. Our volunteer group transplanted three varieties of cabbage, several varieties of onions, leeks and scallions, parsley and tarragon this week. Thanks to Elizabeth Basile, you can view photos from our first planting day as well!

You can join us on Sunday, April 18th from 1-4 p.m. as we continue planting!

Information about more upcoming events will be posted soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

Join us as we transform 6,000 sq ft of land in the White River State Park into a demonstration urban vegetable farm. Keep Indianapolis Beautiful is providing design assistance, materials and with the help of volunteers, will plant vegetables and build garden structures.

Visit to sign-up for schedule workdays. If you are interesting in volunteering in other ways, please email Laura Henderson,

Please bring a reusable water bottle with you! All tools and materials are provided, along with water and snacks. If you would like to contribute a snack, please email Laura Henderson at

March 14, 2010: Sunday 1-4 p.m. at the garden in White River State Park.

Goal: Turn and weed perimeters of each of 5 garden beds. Construct compost bin.

Result: 15 fabulous hard-working volunteers turned out, despite gray-skies and cool weather. We completed our goals, plus turned and weeded an even greater section of the beds. Great work!

March 21, 2010: Sunday 1-4 p.m. at the garden in White River State Park.

Goal: Spread aged manure/compost across all five beds to prepare for planting. Lay recycled crushed cement walking paths.

April 11, 2010: Sunday 1-4 p.m. at the garden in White River State Park.

Goal: Begin planting and construction of garden trellises.

April 18, 2010: Sunday 1-4 p.m. at the garden in White River State Park.

Goal: Continue planting and construction of garden trellises.

May 9, 2010: Sunday 1-4 p.m. at the garden in White River State Park.

Mother’s Day in the Garden!

Goal: Continue planting and construction of garden trellises. Make your own starting pot from newspaper and plant your favorite vegetable to take home!

More to come soon – workdays, workshops and events!

Introducing Growing Places Indy

Growing Places Indy is committed to developing the “Culture” of agriculture and food in the urban setting of Indianapolis. We are working to cultivate models for urban gardening, to engage community in our local food systems, to nurture the growth of neighborhood farmers markets, to seed entrepreneurship related to local food systems, and to grow leaders in the local food community.

Our vision is for healthier communities, a sustainable future for urban and farm land ecology, a burgeoning local food economy, and a vibrant and diverse food culture in Indianapolis.

Our Initial Project:
The Growing Places Indy Slow Food Garden at White River State Park

To introduce Growing Places Indy and the concept of developing the Culture of food and urban agriculture in the city of Indianapolis, our initial project is the Growing Places Indy Slow Food Garden at White River State Park. This 6,000 sq. ft. garden, located at the intersection of Washington St. and Old National Road at the foot of the State Museum Lawn, offers the visiting public the opportunity to see, read about and get hands-on experience in a working urban vegetable farm.

What’s growing in the garden?

This initial garden location will be planted with: 1) heirloom , rare and endangered crop varieties that preserve agricultural and socio-cultural heritage, as well as crop biodiversity 2) specialty crops that are underrepresented in the marketplace to stimulate consumer demand and subsequently grower supply.

How will the food be used?

The produce grown this year will be sold at City Market Farmers Market and to downtown area restaurants. Additional produce will be donated to feed homeless children in Indianapolis through School on Wheels.

Who will work the garden?

In the first year, this vegetable farm will be managed by Laura Henderson and Matthew Jose, interns from Butler University, IUPUI and Herron High School. YOU can join as a volunteer on workdays or by appointment.

Visit to sign-up for scheduled workdays, or email for other volunteer possibilities.

Why a working vegetable farm rather than an allotment based community garden?

Urban AgriCULTURAL development requires more urban gardens/farms, more consumer access to farmers markets and farm stands, more product to supply cafes, restaurants, grocers, hospitals, schools, and other food service operations. Our goal is to enable individuals to engage in Urban AgriCultural development as a consumer, a grower raising food in the city, a producer creating products and meals from the produce we grow, as well as a teacher or leader helping to do more of the above. The sale of produce enables us to develop a self-sustaining organization operating in service to the community in the development of Urban AgriCulture.

Our sincere gratitude:

We’d like to thank those who are providing the funding necessary to make the Growing Places Indy Slow Food Garden at White River State Park possible:

Indiana State Department of Agriculture
Efroymson Family Fund
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful
Central Indiana Community Foundation
Butler University, Center for Urban Ecology
IUPUI – the Solution Center
Indiana Humanities Council
Slow Food Indy

If you are interested in making a financial contribution, in-kind donation, or other contribution through official partnership to this project, please email Laura Henderson at