The Indianapolis-based Patachou Foundation today launched its new Neighborhood Farm Stand program. The farm stand, part of the foundation’s Food Fellowship, is a student-run effort designed to teach high school students about entrepreneurship, food marketing and photography, and customer service, among other skills. Food Fellowship Program Director Lade Akande says the farm stand features fresh produce from the foundation’s urban farm on the city’s north side.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Akande said the farm stand is a natural evolution of the urban farm, which began in 2020.
“Now that [the farm] has matured, there’s opportunity to further the mission of the Patachou Foundation, which is to create access, equity and opportunity through food and to provide really accessible and cheap, fresh produce, especially to the immediate local community,” said Akande.
The Neighborhood Farm Stand will run on the first three Thursdays of this month from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the urban farm, located at 4565 Marcy Lane in Indianapolis.
Akande says entrepreneurship is a key component to the farm stand, and the foundation has intentionally partnered with specific IPS schools to draw its participants.
“We’ll recruit students from both George Washington High School, which has entrepreneurship and business tracks for students, as well as students from Arsenal Tech High School that has tracks for culinary arts and agriculture,” she said. “[The program] also fits in really well with the curriculum that [the students] already invested in in high school and that they already have an interest as far as what their postsecondary options can look like.”
Akande says the short-term goal of the farm stand is to increase the visibility of the urban farm in the immediate community. Long-term she wants to make the urban farm and the farm stand sustainable to create a dependable source for affordable fresh produce.
She adds the program could be a model “for other urban farms or people who might be interested in developing out urban farms to also mentor other organizations and initiatives with similar focus.”
The Food Fellowship, first announced in 2019, is a paid, six-week workforce development program for high school students designed to give hands-on experience with careers in the food system.
Participants receive training from industry professionals in sustainable farming, culinary arts, barista skills, and customer service, as well as college and career readiness and financial literacy.