Urban agriculture provides so many benefits to our Indiana cities and towns. But it is hard work, and urban farmers and gardeners face challenges unique to urban areas such as soil contamination, along with limited access to land, capital, and trained workers. Most urban growers also juggle agricultural production with sustaining a social mission. Purdue Extension has many programs designed to support urban farmers and urban agriculture project leaders with these unique challenges.
Extension programs around the United States are beginning to serve urban farmers and community gardeners to meet these challenges, but efforts are developing city-by-city and widely used national urban agriculture extension programming does not exist.
The innovative Purdue Extension programs you'll find on this website seek to meet the needs of people growing food in an urban or peri-urban setting. These programs address the diverse audiences and interests for sustainable local food production and distribution by providing the technical expertise, networking and business and community development education. Since 2014, Purdue Extension has developed new programs to support urban farms and community agriculture projects and these programs are available in Marion County and other select counties around the state. Please browse the programs listed here for more information. If you cannot find information about a program in your county, please contact your local Purdue Extension county office for more information.
The Urban Agriculture Certificate is a new, fully online program that provides students the flexibility to earn their certificate from anywhere, anytime. Participants receive in-depth instruction for urban crop production from farm design through harvest techniques.
The Indiana Small Farm Conference serves as the annual educational and farmer-to-farmer networking event for the Indiana small and diversified farm community. The conference was developed in response to a gathering of Indiana small farmers and stakeholders and has had continued success thanks to the support of Indiana farmers and organizations.
The Indiana Horticulture Conference & Expo is an educational meeting designed to meet the needs of fruit, vegetable, wine, organics, and specialty crop growers and marketers in Indiana and surrounding states.
The Student Farm is a working small farm near Purdue’s campus that grows vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers using the principles that naturally govern balanced ecosystems, including emphasis on diversity, healthy soil, healthy plants, and healthy people. Educational work is all about food and understanding how it intersects with environment and economy and community.
Operation of the Johnnie Mae Farm is a partnership between the City of Fort Wayne’s Office of Housing & Neighborhood Services and the Purdue Extension - Allen County. In 2015, the City of Fort Wayne’s Office of Housing & Neighborhood Services completed the historic renovation of former fire station #9 and equipped it with a state-of-the-art commercial grade kitchen, which is available for rent or use by community groups. The City and the Purdue Extension – Allen County also began farming the vacant residential lots behind the fire station and have been working to distribute fresh produce to local residents ever since. The farm is named after long-time neighborhood advocate Johnnie Mae White.
COMMUNITY GARDEN SIGNATURE PROGRAM Available in Fall 2020.
This interdisciplinary and interactive program supports agricultural and community development efforts resulting in healthier communities with improved access to local food. It equips community members with the tools they need to make their garden projects community-driven, successful, and sustainable.