Urban Grower Resource Website and Roving Youth Gardeners/Scientists

Our idea is to make it easy for individuals and families to start their own small farms/gardens in their own neighborhood. To do this we will create a website which will allow people to:

  • See what lots near their home are owned by the city
  • Apply to lease the lot for free from the Indianapolis Office of Sustainability to start a garden/farm
  • Get information on the soil testing data for these lots
  • Sign up to get the soil tested in their yard and request gardening assistance
  • Get information on how to become GAPS certified to be able to sell their produce

In addition to building the website we would like to provide a stipend for youth interns to be roving gardeners/scientists. These youth would test the available lots and upload the data to the website. We currently partner with IUPUI’s Earth Science Department, which currently does all of our soil testing.

They would also go out to people’s yards upon request to take soil samples for testing and help with labor intensive gardening tasks (help tilling the ground, building raised beds, etc.). This would be an invaluable resource for seniors and those with disabilities who want to garden.

Where are you at with the solution? Idea stage

Why might this be a valuable solution for Indy? This would create a great resource for people who want to grow their own food and those looking to start their own urban farm or garden. It could help create opportunity for those left out of the traditional economy, teach skills of entrepreneurship and provide opportunity for youth employment and STEM education.

What resources, advice or support would be helpful for you in moving forward? Funds to build the platform, funds for youth stipends, support from the office of sustainability to connect the lot leasing program to the website.

Lead contact: Paulette Fair

Email: pfair@kheprw.org

Comments 1

  1. Great concept, is there any data available on how many lots the city currently owns and projections of the typical soil quality in these parcels? To me the city should get a head start and identify what lots are viable ahead of time and develop a process to fast track the lease application process. Gardening assistance could be automatic as long as you have more than a certain number of local residents join the lease. Its got to be as frictionless as possible. Is any of the other city owned land viable for crop production (embankments, medians etc)?

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