Growing Places Indy

We are a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to empower people to cultivate personal, family and community wellness through urban agriculture, food access and mind-body education.

Grow Well, Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well. It’s our mantra, it’s who we are, it’s why we exist, and it guides our mission to cultivate personal, family, and community wellness through urban agriculture, food access and mind-body education.  It is also the progression of how this organization has grown, and the four pillars of our educational experiences.

Starting with a single garden in White River State Park in the summer of 2010, GPI now manages four urban farm sites totaling 1.5 acres, and has helped numerous other gardens and urban farms take root in Indianapolis. Since 2010, we have grown our farm production and sales from serving a handful of restaurants, to serving more than 40 Indianapolis restaurants and grocers and an annual Vegetable Subscription Program (CSA) for 20-30 households.

In 2012, GPI began offering a farm stand at the Boner Fitness and Learning Center and incorporated the Indy Winter Farmers Market (IWFM), making fresh, local foods available year round. Two years later we built out Indy’s first urban U-Pick veggies site, which is open with the Summer Farm Stand. GPI also offers two SNAP matching programs at the IWFM to ensure the quality foods offered are accessible regardless of income level.

We have incorporated yoga practices and philosophy into our educational offerings since 2011, and in 2013 we began offering regular by-donation yoga and meditation classes in the community. In the same year, we piloted our first Live Well classes, incorporating gardening, cooking and nutrition, and mind-body education.

Each year, we witness with delight as our daily work, integrating the cultivation of gardens and local food systems with the cultivation of human well-being, comes together in the form of people who feel empowered to Be Well. We witness with awe how seeds planted in gardens, hearts and minds, change lives, families and communities. We witness our mantra – Grow Well, Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well  – come full circle and cycle forward again and again.

Staff

Linda Cook
Linda CookExecutive Director
For ten years, Linda served as the Advancement and International Program Director at a high school in Indy and is passionate about working to make the connection of eating well in order to grow well in the lives of young people. She is a member of The Clapham Group, a nonprofit collaborative consulting group and serves on the board of directors for Fireside International, a nonprofit media company focusing on the empowering individuals to understand the importance of their story. Linda attended Indiana Business College, earning an Associates Degree in Business Administration and ran her own business for nearly sixteen years before entering the world of education and philanthropy. She has earned a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from the Lily Family School of Philanthropy – IUPUI. Linda has three children, one grandchild and many sons and daughters from all over the world that have lived in her home and become a part of her family. She is an aspiring gardener and has dreams of one day speaking Spanish, playing guitar and building her own furniture.
Sarah Adams
Sarah AdamsIndy Winter Farmers Market Manager, Program Coordinator
Wearing many hats, Sarah Adams manages the Indy Winter Farmers Market, directs programming for the Summer Apprenticeship Program and the Family Cooking and Nutrition Classes, and is also lead farmer at the Slow Food Garden at White River State Park.  A native Hoosier, Sarah owned her own custom framing business for 10 years, recently closing the shop to pursue her passion for local sustainable food systems.  “I have had the pleasure of visiting, living in and gardening in many places around the United States and world and still always come home to Indianapolis.”  She lives with her partner, Brian Ventresca, three cats and eight chickens at their east side bungalow, replete with raised beds all over the yard, where the grass is constantly being annexed for growing food.  Sarah attended Taylor University and graduated from Ball State University with a BA in Theatre (Directing) and minor in Communications.
Tyler Henderson
Tyler HendersonDirector of Farm Operations
Tyler oversees all aspects of our farming operation, as well as educational components of our Summer Apprenticeship Program related to agricultural systems and food entrepreneurship. Tyler began farming in 2009 by creating micro-garden sites at R-Bistro, Goose the Market and Indiana Humanities and worked as a farmer for Big City Farms for two seasons. Like many farmers, Tyler has an off-farm job and is the Director of North American Operations for the Bocconi University School of Management in Milan, Italy. In late fall and early spring, he travels extensively in North America, Asia and Europe to interview candidates for a Global MBA Program. Tyler has a master’s degree in Education Policy from Universitetet i Oslo (Norway), and his bachelor’s degree is from Baldwin-Wallace College (Cleveland).
Hannah Coots
Hannah CootsLead Farmer
Raised in Central Indiana with an appreciation for the natural world, Hannah enjoys hiking, catching snakes and climbing trees. She attended Indiana University where she studied Biology and French, but left longing for something that was more meaningful and aligned with her values. When Hannah found her first farm in 2012, she was hooked. Growing Places Indy is the seventh farm she’s had the pleasure of working with. Hannah loves to continually learn about sustainable agriculture.
Phil Kranyak
Phil KranyakFarmer, Financial & Technical Coordinator

Phil is a transplant to Indiana from the east coast, and more recently, Chicago. His time gardening on city balconies gave him an appreciation for larger expanses of growing space but also taught him how to be meticulous and frugal with planning. He loves neat, tight rows of veggies and herbs, and he checks on seedlings a little too quickly after planting to see if they’ve germinated yet. Growing Places Indy is his first farm since leaving the world of corporate data analytics and he hopes to bring some information automation and efficiency to growing.

Liz Wertz
Liz WertzEat Well Coordinator & Social Media Strategist
Liz is the voice of Growing Places Indy and the Indy Winters Farmers Market on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She is also the Eat Well Initiative Coordinator, managing SNAP outreach for IWFM and leading GPI’s after school Eat Well Club for IPS students. She is a 2010 graduate of Indiana University with a degree in communication and culture. In 2014, Liz left a career in the banking industry to become a Growing Places Indy summer apprentice. Her experience as an apprentice solidified her love for the Indianapolis community, local food and sustainability, making it an easy decision to join the Growing Places Indy staff in fall of 2014. She lives near downtown Indianapolis with her husband, Will, and black lab, Franny. In her free time, Liz enjoys gardening in her backyard, tinkering with her sewing machine and watching endless hours of Netflix documentaries.

Board of Directors

Cris Pyle
Cris PylePresident
Danielle Dove
Danielle DoveVice President
Melanie Priest
Melanie PriestSecretary
Andrew Vahrenkamp
Andrew VahrenkampTreasurer
Laura Henderson
Laura HendersonThe Kitchen Community
Tonya Sisco
Tonya SiscoCummins Inc.
Carol Johnston
Carol JohnstonChristian Theological Seminary
Angela Smith Jones
Angela Smith JonesIndy Chamber
Laurel Judkins
Laurel JudkinsCummins Inc.
Ronak Shah
Ronak ShahKIPP Indy Schools
Germaine Willett
Germaine WillettIce Miller LLP

Sponsors

We thank our loyal sponsors who help us achieve our mission to empower people to cultivate individual, family and community wellness through urban agriculture, food access and mind-body education.

We have a diverse range of sponsorships available for companies, families and individuals. If you are interested in sponsoring Growing Places Indy, please contact Director of Development and Operations, Linda Cook at linda@growingplacesindy.org.

Partners

We could not do the work we do without the generous support of our partners. We thank them for their continuous support and attempt to recognize them as often as possible. Please take some time to visit the website of our partners to learn more about the work they are doing in our community.

If you are interested in partnering with Growing Places Indy, please contact Director of Development and Operations, Linda Cook at linda@growingplacesindy.org.