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Spotlight on KayLeo Urban Farm

Urban Ag Spotlight: KayLeo Urban Farm

2019 Urban Agriculture Certificate Graduates

Raised beds and Barn at KayLeo Farm

On the Northwest side of Indianapolis, KayLeo Urban Farm sits sandwiched between a condominium community and a church. Owners Marilyn Schulte and Scott Rice, who participated in the 2019/2020 Extension Urban Ag Certificate program, purchased the property in 2015 with the intention to focus on growing food for people. A visit and tour with Schulte and Rice show that the farm is well on its way to that purpose and more. In addition to farming produce, the farm is used as a teaching garden, community space, and demonstration site featuring the benefits of biodiversity.

KayLeo aims to improve food access by matching all purchases from their Westside farmstand with donations to local food pantries. This has facilitated relationships with other Westside organizations such as Pike High School and the Fay Biccard Glick Community Center. 

Rice and Schulte reflect on their experience with the Extension Urban Ag Certificate program sharing that their participation in the program coincided with the expansion of the uses of their property. They believe the work they did with a master plan and goals, as part of the program, was instrumental in helping set their path forward. Looking at the small grove of fruit trees, they recall that the access to experts in topics like pruning was an important part of the process and really served to speed up their learning. Ultimately, both say the connections they made with other growers through the class helped bolster their network and confidence in trying new things.  

The importance of nurturing these connections and promoting continued learning is reflected in the teaching garden at KayLeo. With the use of varied techniques, crops, and equipment, the teaching garden can demonstrate everything from irrigation, cover crops, sustainable materials, biodiversity, and more for audiences as young as scouts all the way to DePauw University sustainability interns and fellow growers. 
Beyond educational experiences, the farm is also a community hub. Having grown a community following from friends, family, farm stand customers, volunteers, other growers, and social media, the farm hosted three Open Farm Nights this summer which included movies, fun, and interaction with the resident goats and chickens for families. Scout troops meet regularly on the property which provides fresh air and open spaces perfect for exploring.  

In the next growing season, the farm will add flowers and herbs to its farm stand offerings and no doubt make an already beautiful farm even more lovely. You can follow KayLeo Farm on Facebook and Instagram. For more information on Urban Agriculture programming in Marion County, contact Brooke Alford


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