INDIANAPOLIS — On the campus of Arsenal Technical High School sits the main urban farm of Growing Places Indy.
It is an organization dedicated to empowering people through hands-on experiences and agricultural education, while also giving them access to fresh, local produce.
In 2022, Growing Places Indy launched its first-ever Indy Summer Farmers Market.
"We implemented a summer market because we saw the need in the community, first of all," said Shalise Lee, community impact director for Growing Places Indy. "Also, with our partnership with SNAP and offering that triple match, it just made sense to offer produce through our farm all summer long."
The Indy Summer Farmers Market is the only market in the state to offer a Triple-SNAP program, also known as food stamps or EBT. This program allows SNAP recipients to triple their dollars at the market.
"There are a lot of families that don't have access to that fresh, local produce," Lee said. "We are in a food desert in this area, and so we want to make produce accessible to all families."
The main urban farm on the city's east side grows all kinds of produce and herbs. Some of the items include peppers, tomatoes, corn, squash, green beans, okra, cucumbers and basil.
Within the one-acre farm, organizers utilize every inch to maximize the space.
"Back here, we've got our Three Sisters area, which is a traditional method of planting corn, squash and green beans," Lee said. "The green beans will wrap around the corn as it grows up. That's an old, traditional way of growing food and getting the most for your square footage."
Growing Places Indy also has chickens on its main farm.
"Our chickens, they are actually in the coop until 8 a.m.," Lee said. "We've got an automatic release."
Lee said Growing Places Indy also has a second farm at White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis.
Of all the produce grown at Growing Places Indy, Lee said 50% of it is donated back to the community. The other 50% is used for its educational programs, teaching people how to farm from seed to harvest.
Then, the produce is sold at the Indy Summer Farmers Market every Wednesday of the summer.
The market is at 727 N. Oriental St., on the campus of Arsenal Tech High School.
The event runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., with hopes of operating through October, according to Lee.
"Obviously, you are going to get that fresh, local produce," Lee said, "but then, you may also find a candle vendor. You could also find a bread vendor, meats, eggs. We try to have an all-encompassing market, so it's like a one-stop shop."