The Eskenazi Health Sky Farm :: CityMoms Report

//The Eskenazi Health Sky Farm :: CityMoms Report

We cannot take the credit for this find. Our friends at Yelp Indy were all ‘hey, DYK there’s a Sky Farm on the rooftop at Eskenazi Hospital?!’ And we were like whatdidyoujustsay? Phone calls were made = boom.

So first, this latest CityMoms Report confirms the presence of a stunning farm-in-the-sky at Eskenazi Health in downtown Indy. And second, it makes a wonderful stop for a field trip, Scout outing or group visit.

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Here’s a recap of our latest CityMoms visit to the Eskenazi Health Sky Farm:

The Background

The Sky Farm is a 5,000-sq ft. gardening space on the 7th floor rooftop of the downtown hospital campus. It is overseen by Rachel White, the only staff member with the title ‘Sky Farmer.’ The space is used to grow fresh produce to feed the patients, visitors and employees of Eskenazi Health, primarily in educational settings such as health classes or with nutritionists.

In its first year, more than 2,200 pounds of fresh veggies, fruits and herbs were harvested. In 2018, the Farm is on track to produce more than 3,300.

Visits to the Sky Farm are free and open to the public any day of the week. Tours require pre-arrangement through Rachel.

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Oh and you know what? The view of downtown Indianapolis from the edges of the Sky Farm is absolutely unmatched. Like WOW.

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Our Visit

theCityMoms arranged a group visit with Rachel for an early August morning. The weather was perfect – albeit a little windy! – for our tour and the CityKids were excited.

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Rachel {far right on the above photo} kicked off the tour by giving us some background on herself: She was a business management major in college and never imagined she’d one day run an urban farming program that has now gained national media attention.

At this point in the season, 1,200 pounds of food have been produced – primarily berries and and vegetables.

The wind creates the biggest hurdle for farming at this elevation, constantly drying soil and overturning crops. It even lead to the destruction of the Farm’s intended beehive. But Rachel has learned how to adjust to this windy challenge over the years and is constantly refining her work. Her next goal? Creating a healthy compost pile.


SEARCHING FOR MORE MUST-DO-FUN? We recommend the Museum of Miniature Houses in Carmel!


Rachel then explained the importance of bees and pollinators to farming, thanks to her partnership with Kate Franzman’s Bee Public. CityKids gathered around some mesh hive traps to learn about queen bees, pollen and honey production.

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

From there, Rachel turned our group loose with a wonderful Sky Farm scavenger hunt. CityKids were encouraged to discover produce, plants and flowers of all colors. This activity was a huge hit for our little visitors!

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

I was just grateful that Rachel shared her ‘cheat sheet’ with us moms so we knew how to best guide the kids.

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Then Rachel took our tour on a ‘smell test.’ She picked lemon basil leaves, lavender, dill and more – a challenge to see if we could smell-then-tell our way through the Farm.

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

Finally, one of our CityKids spotted a black swallowtail caterpillar, which brought everyone running. Rachel took a moment to teach us about this great mimic of the monarch butterfly {likely evolved to avoid predators} who love carrot leaves and parsley, and transforms into a beautiful black butterfly with blue and yellow markings.

Eskenazi Health Sky Farm - theCityMoms

In all, our tour lasted one hour and was the perfect way to kickoff a Friday. Rachel’s patience through the numerous questions by CityKids and CityMoms alike had us crowning her with goddess status!

MORE INFO: The Eskenazi Health Sky Farm is open to the public 7 days a week, and is located on the 7th floor of the main Eskenazi Health building. The Sydney + Lois Eskenazi Hospital is located at 720 Eskenazi Avenue in downtown Indianapolis. Upon arrival, take the green elevators to the 7th level, then follow signs for access. {Please note: The entrance to the Sky Farm shares a floor with patient rooms so noise levels are monitored inside the building! Once outside, CityKids can resume their normal level of chatter.} Tours may be arranged by emailing Amanda Byrd at Amanda.Byrd@eskenazihealth.edu. Special thanks to CityMoms Katie, Amy W., Abby and Lorene for allowing us use of their photography in this post!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jeanine Bobenmoyer headshot - theCityMomsJeanine Bobenmoyer – like many moms – wears numerous hats including wife, mother of 2, trail runner, yoga-addict, Michigan native, die-hard Wolverines fan, Thai food enthusiast and avid reader. After years spent in the world of advertising agencies, she now curbs her Mad Men tendencies as a freelance communications and marketing consultant.

Jeanine is also the Chief Mom Officer and Founder of theCityMoms. Find Jeanine on TwitterInstagram and in the sale section at Anthropologie.

2018-08-17T17:10:34+00:00August 17th, 2018|
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