By Stan Maddux
FISHERS, Ind. – A new taxpayer-operated park and working farm raising things like sweet corn, cows and chickens is illustrating how food is produced and feeding the public.
A ribbon cutting was held Aug. 6 at the Fishers AgriPark, a 33-acre urban farm that might be the first of its kind in the nation.
A nature trail connects the animal and produce areas to a 5-acre, open play farmed themed area and event space to incorporate agriculture, recreation and fun with the experience. Users can engage in hands-on activities like harvesting as they mingle with the animals and learn about modern farming practices along with the innovations in agriculture needed to feed the world.
The business side of agriculture is also part of the teaching.
Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said the park was created primarily to bridge the gap between farming and residents whose family ties to agriculture generations ago are more distant now.
“Connecting future generations to the roots of Fishers’ past through hands-on farming experience will not only remind us of our city’s history but teach all residents the breadth of impact agriculture has on each of us,” he said. “We look forward to sharing this exciting new park with our residents.”
The food produced at the farm just north of Indianapolis will be available to the community at no cost.
The Agri-park includes 3,000-square-feet of high tunnels for growing produce like tomatoes and peppers on a more year round basis. Greens, onions, potatoes, sweet corn, broccoli, peas and other vegetables are raised seasonally in open fields.
There’s also a 3-acre produce garden for the public to take home what they pick free of charge, officials said. Among the other features is a 5-acre area home to cows, chickens and eventually horses, pigs, goats and sheep, and a programming barn that will provide educational space for public and school based educational offerings.
There’s also a nursery containing 200 trees planted in April for replenishing trees in the parks, facilities and along roadways in the upper income community of more than 95,000 citizens.
The farm will also feature a corn maze, pumpkin patch and sunflower field for programs and picture taking during the fall. The maze will be in what’s now 10 acres of field corn.
Presently, guests must register for a spot during 10 grand opening sessions from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday until the end of August. The Agri-park will then operate on a more open basis to the public.
“We can’t wait to invite the community to this new space and will have ample opportunities to volunteer, learn, discover and be part of something very special,” said Sarah Sandquist, director of the Fishers Park Department.
Face masks are required when guests are not able to socially distance themselves with people not from their households, she said.
The Agri-park is on land overgrown with weeds and littered with trash when donated to the city in 2018, officials said.