Tyler Gough (Farm Manager) and Laura Johns (Development Director), representing Indy Urban Acres (IUA), were our guests for the 5th in our series of First Thursday Lunches. IUA, a project of the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, is a collection of four organic farms used to empower and educate people by providing equitable access to free, high quality produce since 2011. Click this link to access a video about IUA.
Indy Parks and IUA were Change Maker finalists in 2010, 2011, and 2014. Then in 2015, they were our Change Maker, receiving our $100,000 grant. Tyler recounted how the Impact 100 Change Maker grant allowed them to start their flower farm, which is now in an integral part of their operations. The largest fundraiser for IUA is their plant sale from the flower farm. The proceeds of the plant sale support the IUA goal of addressing food insecurity in our community. Impact 100 members can be rightfully proud of the impact they made to move IUA forward.
To respond to COVID-19, IUA has had to close its volunteer and tour programs. But they have maintained the production on their farms and have continued and expanded their Veggie Box program (begun in 2018). In 2020, IUA is sending out 250 Veggie Boxes per week! The goal is an audacious one – change people’s lives! IU Health has surveyed the recipients of the Veggie Boxes and found a consistent theme – the boxes made the recipients happier. IUA adds a bouquet of flowers to each box to provide additional joy.
IUA’s wish list includes seeking support for the Veggie Box program through donations at https://www.indyparksfoundation.org/indy-urban-acres/. We can also support IUA by going to their plant sales (Go Early! They sell out!). Tyler stressed that we can all have a role if we educate ourselves and our friends and family about food insecurity and the need for families in our community to have access to quality food.