Indy Urban Acres donates twice as much fresh produce in 2020

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INDIANAPOLIS — There are thousands of hungry people in Indianapolis with one in five residents experiencing hunger before the pandemic hit, according to Indy Urban Acres.

Indy Urban Acres harvests the food it grows and donates it back to the community for free. They gave away 60,000 pounds of food in 2020, the most since the organization began in 2011.

Tyler Gough, farm manager, said the average amount they harvest is 30,000 pounds. Gough will not forget the people his team served over the past year.

“People that have never been in this situation where they didn’t know how they were going to feed their family and have to rely on emergency food assistance,” Gough explained. “To see kind of the fear in their eyes was kind of shocking to us, and we’ve been doing this for a decade now.”

The Old Bethel & Partners Food Pantry on the east side receives much of the donations from the farm. Last year, the pantry received 36,000 pounds of fresh food.

“Which was more than they’d ever done before, nothing they could have even dreamed of doing,” said Arin Schellenberg, pantry program manager. “But in a year when we needed that fresh food for our shoppers and our neighbors so badly, they just arrived, and 36,000 pounds of local, I mean literally local produce.”

Gough and his team also stepped in to volunteer last spring.

“They just showed up, and then for several shifts, they staffed this pantry,” Schellenberg said. “I mean, this is in March and April. This is their busy season, and they gave of their time to come and help feed our neighbors.”

Along with the food pantries, the organization also distributes veggie boxes to families at various apartment complexes. They grew those deliveries from 125 to 250 in 2020.

“At the time, we had no clue how we were going to do that,” Gough said.

Indy Urban Acres relies on the annual plant sale to keep serving people throughout the year. The plant sale is going on now. You can find more information at www.iuaplantsale.com.

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