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Food Justice | 1828 Leadership Project Class X Session No. 4

Posted by: IndyHub
Posted: December 20, 2020
Categories: IndyHub

On November 12, The 1828 Leadership Project presented by Citizens Energy Group gathered at Indy Urban Acres for the 4th session of their leadership program. This session featured a walking tour led by 1828 alumnus David O’Rourke from Parks Alliance of Indy Urban Acres, a collection of four organic farms used to empower and educate people by providing equitable access to free, high quality produce. The class also stopped by Old Bethel Food Pantry to hear from Tyler Gough, Farm Manager of Indy Urban Acres, and learn about the farm’s partnership with the pantry. Old Bethel Food Pantry provides emergency food assistance for residents of Warren township. Many of the 1828 leaders had never been onsite or knew about the work of these community resources that inspire transformational change within Indy’s food system by providing food justness for low-income families.

After visiting the food pantry, several of the class leaders returned to Old Bethel Food Pantry to volunteer and help feed friends and neighbors on the Eastside. Over the course of the morning, the leaders assisted in serving over 120+ families. If you are interested in volunteering with Indy Urban Acres or Old Bethel Food Pantry, please contact Tyler Gough.

I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about The Parks Alliance and visit the Old Bethel Food Pantry. It was a poignant session given the economic impact of the developments over the last year.

I really enjoyed being outdoors and getting a tour of Indy Urban Acres and learning more about the important work that they do to fight food insecurity on the eastside of the city, especially during a pandemic. I also appreciated learning more about The Parks Alliance from David O’Rouke who is also a 1828 Alum. 

This pandemic has made me miss networking and meeting new people and the 1828 Leadership Project has allowed me to do just that during this time. The monthly sessions have definitely been keeping me sane. They constantly bring me positive energy and so much joy.

Given my past experiences in agriculture I have been familiar with urban farms.  The Indy Urban Acres tour connected a lot of dots for me. It showed me how urban farms can be incorporated into an existing food distribution system to get it to those in need quickly.

First and foremost, I had no idea Indy Urban Acres even existed, let alone that they an entire farm and food pantry just off 21st and Shadeland! As a product and resident of the Eastside of Indy, I was happily surprised a resource like this existed.

I also had a very insightful conversation with Sara after the meeting. We discussed many things, including the power of true public servanthood being rooted in purpose. Sara’s servanthood is rooted in PURPOSE, and watching her organize resources for immigrants and refugees (truly humbling and thankless work) forces me to ask myself whether or not my servanthood is rooted in purpose or the desire to be popular? Because when servanthood is more “sexy” than it is substantive, it gets problematic.

The point is the meeting was awesome because I learned about a dope resource from folks I never met, but also was reminded of something from a person I’ve known for 10 years. IndyHub is creating timeless memories every month and I’m loving it!

I was deeply connected with the food insecurity conversations last Thursday. I am not a stranger to the routine and dependency of food pantries and other food initiatives; having grown up frequenting the local food pantries, scheduling out weekly visits to make it day-to-day, and deciphering out recipes for the mod-podge ingredients received was my childhood and much of early adulthood experience with nutrition. I know Indy/Central Indiana has not done the best with feeding out community members – between food desserts and swamps, insecurity, and lack of resources, there is still a great need. I am glad we didn’t visit Gleaners. Because you font really see the direct service/impact at Gleaners. I was more impressed with Old Bethel and the Urban Acres.

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