A community-focused farm on the Flanner House campus
Food Justice Program at Flanner House
When the last of the Double 8 grocery stores closed in 2015, the Northwest side of Indianapolis went from being mere “food insecure” to full-blown "food Apartheid". Feeling the severity of the situation, Flanner House, under the direction of Brandon Cosby and Sibeko Jywanza, tapped into its long-standing legacy of food access and laid out plans to start a community-focused farm on the Flanner campus. In 2016, Flanner Farms opened as a 2-acre farm in the heart of the Northwest food desert. Flanner Farms is able to provide an abundance of healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate produce for the community through Cleo’s Bodega. As a moving part of the greater Food Justice Program at Flanner House, the farm operation is also working towards empowering the local community to become more self-sufficient and providing employment opportunities. Flanner Farms is proud to be a part of a growing network of resurgent urban farms in the community that is all working to combat food insecurity through education, empowerment, and accessibility.
Thank you for reaching out for information on volunteer opportunities at Flanner House Farms. We appreciate the opportunity to share our work in creating a more just and equitable world through our commitment to expanding food accessibility in our community. To ensure that participants have the best experience during their time on our farm, we have a few FAQs.
What do I bring?
It is very important for volunteers to come prepared! Wear comfortable clothing (be ready to get sweaty and dirty). Please wear safe footwear and avoid open-toe shoes. Bring and wear sun protection - hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. - bringing everything you might need is highly-recommended. Gardening or work gloves are a must for any kind of farm work to protect your hands. Bring your own water vessel- we provide a cooler of ice water for refills, but please make sure everyone brings a water bottle of their own.
How many volunteers can we bring?
We prefer volunteer groups of 20 people or fewer. Our farm is small, and large groups can pose a danger & damage to crops and beds with too many unsupervised people. It is much easier for farm staff to offer clear instructions and have a meaningful connection with a smaller group.
It is very important for volunteers to be mindful and respectful of our land, our resources, and our staff. We have mulched around the growing beds to provide an easy and harmless way for staff and visitors to move around the farm. If you have any doubts or questions about a plant, do not hesitate to ask clarifying questions to the staff. If you use any Flanner Farms tools, please make sure that they are cleaned and returned to a staff member. All volunteers are encouraged to bring snacks or grab food from Cleo's Bodega & Cafe- but please make sure not to leave any trash or food behind.
What kind of activities will we do while on the farm?
Our work on the farm varies seasonally as well as day-to-day. We greatly appreciate having volunteers any time of the year. Please don’t be disappointed if you are not able to do any planting or harvesting. Those are not activities we do every day and are assigned to trained farm team members. Weeding, mulching, digging, and watering are just as much a part of the farm experience and our daily work to keep our farm happy and healthy.
When is the farm open to volunteers?
Flanner Farms is open Monday - Friday from 10 am-2 pm March-November
2023 Community Volunteers Days open to the public 10 am-2 pm (weather permitting)
Food Justice Director