The Summer Apprenticeship Program is our flagship educational initiative designed for any individual who can fully commit to the 10-week summer program (late May - early August) at approximately 25 hours per week. The program is intended to immerse participants in “real-life” training and activities related to the Growing Places Indy mission to empower individuals and communities to Grow well, Eat well, Live well and Be well. Participants learn the principles of operating a small urban farm, explore the challenges and opportunities to improve access to fresh, healthy foods in the Indianapolis area, lead educational experiences for youth and other community members and investigate whether/how community-based food systems support community development.
The application is available starting in February and the deadline is March 15. After an initial application review, candidates will be contacted for an interview by April 1 and all applicants will be alerted of a final decision by April 15. Typically, eight apprentices participate in the program each year.
For detailed information about the Apprenticeship Program, please open the following document to view the 2012 Summer Apprenticeship Program Daily Schedule.
See this diagram of the 2012 Apprenticeship Program At-A-Glance.
Apprentice Alumni Testimonials
Sara Swan (2010)
"I can, in all honesty and in all cheesiness, say that Growing Places Indy and the people behind it changed my life. I came out of high school with a vague desire to do something with social and environmental justice and a love of cooking and food, and GPI sparked my consciousness of how farming beautifully ties together all of these things. The vision of a mutually-supportive, self-sufficient, and socially-conscious community that GPI burned into my soul, has since led me to create a major in Sustainable Food Security at Indiana University, to work on farms in Bloomington and Quebec, to lead the campus garden at IU, to volunteer with the Bloomington Food Policy Council and with the IU Food Working Group, and to intern with Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard’s garden program. In all of these experiences, I feel so thankful to Laura and Tyler and the other apprentices for introducing me to a nourishing community, where, thank goodness, you can always find a good meal."
Jenn Burns (2010 and 2011)
“I chose to be a part of Growing Places Indy because it was an opportunity to pursue my passion of food in a purposeful way. I had always loved food, but didn’t think I could have a meaningful career in food. But, thanks to Growing Places Indy, I was exposed to a world of possibilities. I realized I could work in public policy, hunger relief, community building, youth empowerment, the restaurant world, and specialty product sales. Even more importantly, I was given the support to take the road less traveled and make my dreams a reality. In addition to helping me realize my future career and personal aspiration, I appreciated my time with GPI for its diversity of experience, introduction and assimilation into the local food scene, and the indispensable network. Laura and Tyler Henderson have been mentors and wonderful friends to this day. I will forever be indebted to Growing Places Indy for narrowing my passion and perpetual support.”
Jayne Glick (2011)
"Majoring in Visual Communication Design at Herron School of Art (IUPUI), I decided I needed a break from the computer screen for a summer. I had been doing a school project with a new community garden (Growing Near West), and was starting to become more interested in where my food was coming from, so this seemed like a perfect summer opportunity. My experience at Growing Places Indy didn’t just teach me about urban farming or yoga (although I have definitely become more educated and passionate in both areas). This experience taught me that you can combine your passions, and when you do, life is more fulfilling! After that summer I’ve had the privilege to be an IUPUI Community Partner Scholar for Growing Near West, design an urban gardening guide for IUPUI’s Center for Urban Health, and got to help GPI with a few small design jobs. Also, I loved the people and my fellow interns at GPI. It is not only an internship–it's a support system!"
Andy Cochran (2011)
“I was miserable at my job and wanted something more from my life, and to follow my passions. Laura and Tyler were generous enough to offer me an apprentice position. I instantly took that opportunity and quit my job the following week. Through that process, I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people, and do some amazing things with the help of others. I am now fortunate enough to make my living as a sales rep to restaurants and catering at The Smoking Goose; and I am also now the owner of Circle City Rain Barrels. Tyler and Laura were kind enough to show me how to build my very own, and then passed down the business to me. These are some of the amazing things that have filled my life after my time with GPI. During my apprenticeship, I enjoyed getting back to the earth and learning as much as I could about sustainable agriculture. Another positive aspect of working with GPI, is the dedication not only to food and body, but to the mind and spirit. I so enjoyed our daily yoga and meditation exercises and miss them to this day. It was a very special time of hard work and dedication brought about by following my passions in life. GPI created a place where I could go after what I loved about life, and also gave the support needed to make a what was a very scary jump in my life, end in a very life changing and 'soft' landing. That journey and progression continues to this day.”
Audrey Brinkers (2010 and 2011)
“I’ve always had an interest in plants, and I’ve always had an interest in people. However, prior to my apprenticeship at Growing Places Indy, there existed a disconnect between the two. It wasn’t until my work with Tyler and Laura that I learned that the cultivation of soil and community can, and should, be simultaneous and collaborative. Through the planting, tending, and harvesting of our beloved produce, apprentices learned the beauty in growth. And through lunches, conversations, and even yoga with others, apprentices could see the expression of this beauty in the development of communities and cultures. This knowledge and inspiration has led me to the passions I now find most deeply rooted within myself, and I attribute my time spent at GPI, without hyperbole, to my long-term goals and hopes for the future. I have not simply learned about growing plants and involving community; I have gained the confidence to teach others about the significance of growing well, eating well, living well, and being well.”
Tracy Cork (2012)
"My apprenticeship with Growing Places Indy was awesome. I enjoyed so many aspects of the program but the two that stick out the most were tending to the veggies and practicing yoga. Our workdays were Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The work mornings were harvesting veggies for restaurants, CSA, and veggie stand. What made harvesting fun was we always played some type of game so it really did not feel like working. In the afternoons, we tended the beds by weeding, clearing and planting new veggies or cover crops. I learned so about tending veggies that I have applied what I learned to Ms. Mary’s Community Garden (Center of Wellness for Urban Women) and plan to grow some veggies this year on my patio. Yoga was an extra bonus. I have always wanted to practice yoga in a classroom setting and what a better classroom than outside. The Earth beneath and the Sky above really made me feel connected to God and creation. Mondays were Yoga and Self Exploration. These sessions were so profound and intense but I always left feeling renewed and recharged. I now practice yoga as often as times permits. What a great experience!!!"
Sarah Robinson (2012)
“I applied to participate in the Growing Places Indy summer apprenticeship because I wanted to really understand how my food was grown. I also wanted to be a part of the complete life cycle of my food—from seed to fruit to waste to soil and back again. I hoped that this program would allow me to become a bigger part of the Indianapolis food community and learn how to share my passion for food with others in my city. This program gave me the opportunity to do all of these things and so much more. I learned the basics of how to run an urban farm and was able to connect with inspiring people who are working to make our local food community stronger. Most importantly, I learned how my actions affect my environment and community and realized the power I have to contribute to the creation of a sustainable community. It all starts with me. Working to create a sustainable self is the first step in building a sustainable community and environment. The Growing Places Indy summer apprenticeship is a transformative and holistic experience that will truly strengthen the body, mind, and soul of each participant.”
Muriel Cross (2012)
“As soon as I finished interviewing for the 2012 summer apprentice position with Laura and Tyler, I called my dad. I told him I really wanted to do this program not only because the program aligned with my interests, but because I had no other options for the summer. Kind of scary as a recent college grad looking for a job. However, Tyler reassured my choice to take a break after graduation and turns out it was a great one. This past summer was one filled with hard work, fresh / local food, biking, meeting Indianapolis community influencers, yoga, direction and motivation. My favorite moments were getting to know my fellow summer apprentices while biking to and from GPI, including that one time we got caught in the rain... the yoga sessions with Laura where we would set our intentions for the day... the busy harvest times when Tyler would always freak out about getting it done in time, even though we always did... and the silly times where we somersaulted in the grass or "shook it out" in the garden. I could not have asked for a group of people more inspiring and welcoming. Wellness and sustainability are important to me and my food and lifestyle choices will always be influenced by my time in the dirt with Growing Places Indy.”
Megan Mirro (2012)
“Having moved to Indianapolis to pursue a graduate degree, I believed the Growing Places Indy apprenticeship would be a great introduction to the grassroots activity occurring in the city. The positive connections formed between apprentices and the community were beyond what I had imagined, but the most surprising was the improvement in the relationship with myself that occurred over the summer. It was incredible to realize how independent and free I could feel when I had direct control over my food, transportation and wellness. Laura and Tyler daily demonstrated to us how simple it can be to make our world more fulfilling and sustainable when we begin with ourselves. Since the summer, I have worked to maintain this feeling of empowerment by continuing to ride my bike, shop local, participate in community events and stay informed about food policy decisions as much as possible. Before the apprenticeship I was rather blind to the vital role that yoga and the yamas played in my wellbeing. Now that I am aware of this relationship, I hope to partake in a yoga teacher training program in 2013. Thanks for showing me the way Growing Places Indy! I believe that any individual is capable of gaining extraordinary insights from this apprenticeship and wish that everyone could have this type of experience at some point in their lives.”
Kate Langdon (2012)
“Looking for a summer apprenticeship, nothing sounds so sweet as working outside, doing yoga, and eating fresh veggies. It is very easy to see why participants are interested in pursuing the Growing Places Indy Apprenticeship. However, the beauty of this experience is how long-lasting the benefits are. Since spending summer 2012 in the program, I have started practicing yoga daily and volunteering at the Butler University Farm. My cooking has been revolutionized with ingredients I don't know how I ever lived without most notably kale, arugula, and pattypan squash. I met fellow participants that grew very dear to my heart and I still correspond with months later. I learned a lot about gardening but also a lot about myself in the process. The program was such a joy. I'd recommend it to anyone interested on working on their overall wellness and who's ready to have fun doing it!”
Ellen Mail (2011 Apprentice and 2012 Program Coordinator)
“The Growing Places Indy summer apprenticeship program was a catalytic experience for me. Its integrated design – combining vegetable farming education, self inquiry & exploration, and engagement with the Indianapolis community – cultivated many layers of awareness. I discovered myself. I acquired knowledge about sustainable agriculture and community-based food systems. I developed an altogether new and more meaningful relationship with the Indianapolis community, a city that has always been home to me. Having the opportunity to learn and grow (vegetables and personally) alongside the other participating individuals was what made the entire Growing Places Indy experience so special. This apprenticeship program inspired my career path. I am currently serving on a food policy council representing New London County, Connecticut through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. I can say with confidence that my long-term career will contain pieces that I have identified as centrally and crucially important because of my Growing Places Indy experience, including sustainability, community and holistic well-being.”