Saturday, September 24 is the The IndyGrown Harvest Ride presented by Purdue Extension – Marion County and Flatland Kitchen. This is a great way to spend your Saturday cycling through Indianapolis and sampling local eats while touring urban farms. And when you’re all cycled out, enjoy an on-farm dinner prepared by a local chef with farm fresh ingredients.

We spoke with Emily Toner, the Marion County – Purdue University Urban Agriculture Educator, to learn more about this event.

Edible Indy: How did you choose the farms for the ride? Are they farms you have used in the past? Are any of the farms new?

Emily: All farms are members of IndyGrown, a collaborative group of urban farms who believe in agriculture that:

•results in food that you can trust

•is organic and regenerative for the earth

•makes local products widely accessible

•is incorporated into the city’s landscape

•provides a viable living for small scale farmers

•improves the health of people and their environment

See the group’s website for more about the group and for farm profiles: Two of the farms are new members since last year’s tour, Fitness Farm and Pleasant Street Produce.

EI: At the end of the ride there will be an on-farm dinner prepared by a local chef with farm fresh ingredients. What type of ingredients do you expect him to use and who is the chef?

Emily: Our chef for the event is Rob Gaston, owner of Fond4Food, and he is sourcing as many ingredients as possible from the urban farms we will visit. He will provide a meat and vegetarian entree served with roasted vegetables and a salad.

EI: What will you do with proceeds from the event? Do any of those go back to the farms that participate?

Emily: The ticket price is representative of the cost of the event, so there is a lot of “extra.” Each farm receives a stipend for participating and other local businesses supported by the ticket price are local catering business Fond4Food, a local artist design group Flatland Kitchen who helped with marketing and created a market tote bag and farm passport for participants, and entrepreneur and event co-organizer Sarah Mullin.

EI:How many years has the event been taking place?

Emily: This is the second annual urban farm bike tour that IndyGrown has offered. First one was last year in 2015. A bus tour took place in 2013, but last year was the first time getting out on our bikes together.

EI: What type of growth do you expect (or do you hope for) with this event in the future?

Emily: Last year we only had 20 tickets for the bike tour (as well as 50 tickets for a bus option) and they sold out in a snap. This year we went bike-only and bumped up tickets available to 125. So far, including volunteers, we expect 97 people on the ride next Saturday. My fingers are crossed to sell a few more tickets this week, sales are open until Friday and two of the three routes available still have tickets. Our long route sold out pretty quickly, people were excited for the 27-mile challenge!

EI: Will the event sell out?

Emily: Still some tickets available for our Northside route and Downtown route. Ticket sales end on Friday and we are nottaking walk-ups on the day of the event. Tickets must be purchased in advance by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23.

EI: What is the overarching message of this event?

Emily: Urban farms provide beautiful, productive, and interesting spaces in our city. This bike tour is a fun and active way to support urban agriculture and connect to your local food system. Each urban farm on the route is improving the urban environment, selling top quality produce into our local food system, and supporting a healthy food and lifestyle culture in Indianapolis. By holding this event, we are raising up urban farms as examples of positive investment in Indianapolis and encouraging people to support our small-scale but mighty urban farming enterprises in Indianapolis.

EI: What can you tell me about Flatland Kitchen and Fond? What other local businesses will be involved at the event?

Emily: Flatland Kitchen is an artist couple who started their own design group. They have helped shaped the aesthetic of some other local food enterprises like Milktooth and the Garfield Park Farmers’ Market. We are excited to be working with them to market this event and design our event materials including a market tote bag and the urban farm passport that participants will stamp along the ride. Fond4Food is a newer local catering business owned by Rob Gaston. Rob is a top quality chef who uses unique local ingredients to make fantastic food. Wildwood Market is helping Rob to provide dinner and Craig Sanders, owner of Wildwood Market, is one of the bike tour’s biggest supporters. He is sponsoring a snack for riders and helping out with dinner. He also sponsored a ticket giveaway. Our other big sponsor is Slow Food Indy, who sponsored the farm passports that participants will get on the ride and they also helped us promote tickets sales and will be doing a giveaway at dinner. Other businesses involved: The Garden Table is providing a juice to some riders and Bicycle Garage Indy Downtown has been hugely helpful with volunteer support and they are doing a bicycle safety check the day before the ride.

Interested in touring and learning more about Indianapolis’ urban farms? You can still snag tickets to the Downtown route and the Northside routes by going here for tickets and more info: .

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