Tucked into the crook of I-70 and I-465 on the far east side of Indianapolis is a plot of land that, until recently, was just an empty dirt lot, used for little more than illegal dumping. It was the kind of scene you’d expect to see a stray dog run through, followed by a lone plastic bag, adrift on a city breeze. Now, it’s home to an 8-acre organic farm that’s changing the future of food insecurity in Indianapolis.
Since its first planting in 2011, Indy Urban Acres has been helping lead the conversation about how gardening and farming can make a difference in the lives of the 150,000 people in Indianapolis who lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Tyler Gough, Farm Manager at Indy Urban Acres, estimates that the once-empty dirt lot is producing about 35,000 pounds of food each year—the equivalent of 200,000 servings and vegetables—which is distributed through Gleaners Food Bank or delivered directly to Old Bethel Food Pantry.
This year, to raise support for Indy Urban Acre’s programs, the Indianapolis Parks Foundation is hosting its First Annual Farmraiser on Saturday, September 27th. In the midst of harvest season, Gough’s team has been busy readying the farm for the event, which invites guests to dine in the hoop house. “We want people to experience the farm, hear our story, and see what we do,” says Gough. Pivot had the pleasure of partnering with IPF to create the new event’s brand, which drew on ideas of bounty and transformation for inspiration.
The night will also feature farm-to-table fare by Noah Grant’s Grill House and Oyster Bar as well as a sweet corn pilsner Flat12 created from Indy Urban Acres’ very own corn. There will be hay rides, live music from the Flatland Harmony Experiment, and hopefully, says Gough, there will be more conversations about the issue of food insecurity, as a result.
“It’s a solvable issue if we as a community are talking about it and putting our minds and actions behind it.”