Over the course of the pandemic, Newfields supported a number of partner organizations in their efforts to fortify their communities against the impact widespread layoffs and panic-driven scarcity would have on the neighborhoods surrounding the museum and their experiences with access to fresh, nutritious food. Faced with the reality that hosting another large meal in public space would be impossible, Newfields redirected funds to directly support programs initiated by organizations whose missions center the health and wellbeing of the communities of central Indiana.
With Newfields’ support, our partners took the initiative to increase the percentage of their harvest that would be donated to the community; increase the buying power of families and individuals purchasing produce with SNAP; distribute meals, snacks, and groceries through youth and senior programming; implement measures to ensure the health of their crops; and to create opportunity for intergenerational skill- and knowledge-sharing through the use of at-home gardening kits.
“Through 2019’s At the Crossroads: A Community Meal, artist Seitu Jones – in collaboration with the incredible cultural leaders we had the opportunity to work with - taught us the importance of de-centering our institutional perspective and honoring the experiences of those in our community by practicing deep listening and being responsive to what we are learning,” said Bryn Jackson, Assistant Curator of Audience Engagement and Performance at Newfields. “If we intend to be an empathetic, multi-cultural, and anti-racist institution, it is imperative that we acknowledge the history of racist housing and environmental policy that has stifled positive, equitable community development and contributed to the formation of food deserts in our city and that we aid our partners in their efforts to combat these conditions. Increasing representation through exhibitions and programming is not sufficient. We must also be prepared to contribute to the economies of communities that have been alienated by the physical, social, financial, and spiritual barriers museums have historically upheld.”
Newfields is proud to partner with all of the following organizations to continue to mitigate food insecurity as we see COVID-19 cases rise in our area and looks forward to hosting each during this year’s Harvest Days on weekends in October for a Movers, Shakers, and Growers market. Guests will be able to purchase locally grown produce and learn more about these organizations’ missions directly from our partners.
The five organizations and the projects they are pursuing to fortify our community are:
Groundwork Indy’s mission is to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment by developing community-based partnerships which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being. Groundwork Indy engages in community-based strategies for revitalizing neighborhoods with initiatives in Youth Development, Greenways and Parks, Brownfields and Vacant Land, and Community Health.
Project: Groundwork’s youth employees have been growing food at home with their families and have been provided a garden kit including a raised bed or container, garden soil, tools and plants of their choice. Newfields support offsets the costs of 40 comprehensive garden kits.
GROWING PLACES INDY
Growing Places Indy is a nonprofit in Indianapolis, Indiana, on the Near Eastside with a mission to cultivate wellness through urban agriculture, access to fresh local food, and mind-body education. Growing Places Indy operates four urban farm sites and is the co-founder and host of the Indy Winter Farmers Market, one of the largest winter markets in the state of Indiana.
Project: Growing Places Indy is continuing the Double Up Program, which doubles program participants’ spending power by giving SNAP recipients an extra $20 to spend on fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season. Newfields is also supporting the farm’s efforts to impart the skills necessary to prepare the produce they sell through family cooking and nutrition classes.
LAWRENCE COMMUNITY GARDENS
Lawrence Community Gardens is committed to improving access to fresh food and advocating for food equality for low income residents living in food deserts through direct donations to neighbors, donations to area pantries, and through their "you pick for free" area at the garden. LCG's participation in farmers markets, its roadside stand, and its mobile farm stand provide affordable access to neighbors on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis. They educate the community on organic agriculture practices and work to increase vegetable and fruit consumption while raising food and health awareness. Lawrence Community Gardens is engaging people with hands on experience through programming, volunteerism, and educational workshops.
Project: Newfields support will help Lawrence Community Gardens to extend their youth program through the harvest season. Additionally, Newfields will be hosting youth leaders within the garden’s program for 2 introductory beekeeping workshops and guided access our hives.
MOTHER LOVE’S GARDEN
Mother Love’s Garden has been serving the King Commons community since 2013. The garden’s Future Farmers program prepares youths ages 9-12 to be effective leaders in the community with the knowledge and hands-on experience required to grown fresh, healthy food.
Project: Newfields’ support will be used to update the plumbing in the garden’s new Harvest House. Ensuring consistent access to clean water will prevent farm managers from having to move large amounts of water from one site to another, saving them the time and energy they need to ensure the health of their crops and increase their yield.
RIVERSIDE REGIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
Riverside Regional Park Foundation centers on providing assistance to the Riverside Regional Park with programming and fund development initiatives as it relates to both the park and family center. The foundation’s mission is to offer volunteer and supplemental financial support to enhance and endorse quality recreational services and programs.
Project: Newfields support will be used to provide healthy snacks for Riverside Park’s youth and senior programming. Newfields will also be providing staff support and lawn games for recreational activities, hosting a youth field trip to the museum, and donating materials for the park’s quilting classes.