En español | Farmer Jonathan Lawler was struggling on a nearly 90-degree day to plow a small plot of land in Indianapolis when a local World War II veteran struck up a conversation.
The older man, he learned, had to take three buses in his motorized wheelchair to reach a grocery store.
“He shouldn’t have to worry about anything, and here he has to take a journey for four hours just to get to a grocery store,” Lawler recalled thinking.
That chance meeting in 2017 is one of the inspirations behind Lawler’s mission to give away his farm’s vegetables to Hoosiers — many of them over 60 — in need of food.
Today, the nonprofit Brandywine Creek Farms provides more than 400 tons of locally grown produce annually to older adults on fixed incomes and others facing hunger.
The urban farming operation partners with AARP Indiana on a program that delivers produce to urban and rural areas with limited access to fresh food.
“We’re able to help those who are the hardest to help — the folks who make too much money to qualify for benefits but are always a paycheck away from being poor,” said Lawler, who runs Brandywine Creek Farms with his wife, Amanda.
AARP volunteers help tend one of the nonprofit’s gardens, where people can buy food at low or no cost.
The couple, devout Christians, say they’re guided by the Bible’s call to care for their neighbors and be good stewards of the earth.
They operate urban farms in Greenfield and Fishers, as well as three in Indianapolis, including a new location on East 25th Street. Learn more at brandywinecreekfarms.org.