INDIANAPOLIS — It's one of the oldest trades in the country, and an Indianapolis organization is looking to train and teach the next generation.
Growing Places Indy is relaunching its summer youth apprenticeship program called Young Grow Getters. The paid program is for high school students who will get hands-on farming experience while learning all aspects of farming.
Between 2015-2019, Marion County gained 12 low-income neighborhoods with limited food access, and the county is still recovering. Growing Places Indy hopes to decrease that percentage and strengthen the local food system by providing resources.
"The near east side is one of the largest food deserts in the city ... on average, we have over 200,000 folks in Indianapolis that are food insecure — meaning they don't have a stable place where they are going to have access to food on a regular basis," Victoria Beaty, Growing Places Indy Executive Director, said. "With COVID and inflation currently, there is a lot of people still struggling."
In addition to learning how to farm, there will be field trips and lessons about all aspects of urban farming. Beaty says she realizes having a high school program won't solve the issue of food access but believes having young people understand the role everyone plays in food access can supplement some of the barriers.
"We are really looking for young kids who are eager to learn about the food system, who want to get their hands dirty, who want to be a leader and learn something new," Beaty said. "The best part is they get paid for their labor on the farm."
Growing Places Indy is looking for ten students. Applications are open now and will close on April 30. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided.