Westside Fitness Farm Expands
May 07, 2018 03:32PM
● By Jenn Willhite
Committed to the health and well-being of all area residents, Fitness Farm is about more than just farming. Launched in 2015 as a working farm, Fitness Farm’s 24-acre property is located just 10 minutes from downtown Indianapolis.
Sarah Adams, program and wellness coordinator, describes the facility as one that “can empower the health and well-being of a whole person.”
The farm’s mission and purpose is firmly rooted in its commitment to children’s health. Formerly known as the Forever Fit Camp, children from across the Indianapolis area have attended summer camp there for nearly 10 years.
“Children that attend have met a critical body mass index or a pre-diabetes diagnosis that has spurred them to take action and reexamine their health choices,” Adams says.The six-week camp, which is held from June through July, offers children ages 8 to 12 years old a variety of classes and activities designed to get them moving and engaged. During the week, the children are nearly always on the move, from swimming and hiking to taking field trips to learning about different opportunities to be healthy and fit.
Adams says the response from the kids has been amazing. “They hate it when they age out,” she says. “It really becomes like a second family. It’s such a nurturing community that the families come together once a month during the year throughout the year and do camp activities as a group.”
As the camp progressed, so did the farm’s mission. This year, the facility is offering a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with a veggie membership. Individuals interested in taking part in the CSA are encouraged to sign up for either a full 20-week season or a 10-week season. The CSA includes more than 100 varieties of fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, flowers and eggs and more, Adams says.
“In addition to feeding you on the inside, we are able to feed your body and soul,” Adams says. Fitness classes, including yoga, for all ages and experience levels, are regularly offered for $5 per session.
Adams’ passion for health is something she admits she’s always nurtured. “I’ve always been interested in the health journey and know it is individual to each person,” Adams says. “So I like to try to make whatever impact I can to meet someone where they are.”
This is just what Fitness Farm has set out to do. However, there is one challenge the farm, which has only three full-time employees, regularly encounters as it is located in a residential area on 44th Street behind the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
“Part of my job as program and wellness coordinator is to make the farm less of a ‘best-kept secret,’” Adams says. “There are people who live in the neighborhood who didn’t know they could come onto the property anytime they wish.”
The farm is loyally supported by the Saturday Evening Post Society, but Adams says volunteer help is always appreciated. “Since there’s so much property, there’s a lot to get done,” Adams says. “The three of us on full-time staff are stretched pretty thin during the growing season.”
It isn’t just produce and health that’s growing on the farm. The property is also home to the large two-story Scholarship Hall, which features a full kitchen and capacity to accommodate up to 125 guests.
Individuals and groups can book the property, including the hall, for special events, such as retreats, weddings, reunions and other special occasions. “When you book Fitness Farm, you get the whole 24 acres,” Adams relates. “We don’t double-book events.”
In addition to the gardens, the facility also offers fitness classes, including zumba and yoga, a one-half-mile fitness trail, a 200-meter walk/run track with four lanes, basketball and tennis courts and a kids’ playhouse—all of which are available to the public from sunrise to sunset year round.
Adams says they hope to launch additional lifestyle classes in the coming months, including photography and flower arranging. As the farm’s community continues to blossom, so does Adams’ hopes for the farm’s future.
“My hope is that Fitness Farm, not only the property here but the camp, becomes a community resource for anything you can think of that will help to enhance your personal health goals,” she says.