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!

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