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: http://www.in.gov/whiteriver/about/map.html)

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 (urbanearthindy@gmail.com) 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 www.growingplacesindy.org.

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 (tylerhenders@yahoo.com) 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 sustainindy@indy.gov