Teter Organic Farm Fights Food Insecurity in Hamilton County
The farm’s vision has always been a place that serves the community, according to Katy Rogers, manager of Teter Organic Farm.
Ruth Teter, a member of First United Methodist Church of Noblesville, bequeathed the farmland to the church, which has owned the land since 1981. Contributors to the farm’s garden started growing vegetables there in 2018.
Rogers noted that the farm is a special place she is proud to be a part of. She has had an interest in agriculture for many years.
“I moved to Indiana when I was in elementary school, and (later) moved away to follow a job in my mid-20’s,” Rogers says. “I started at Purdue in the Agricultural AG program but transferred to Indiana University for a degree in political science.”
Farming is in Rogers’ blood.
“I grew up bailing hay, detasseling corn, hand weeding soybeans, riding horses and participating in 4-H and FFA,” she says. “Agriculture and food have always been a passion of mine, and it’s been the thread through everything I’ve done. I’ve worked in fields, restaurants and even a hospital, all jobs along the food spectrum if you take health seriously.”
Agriculture and farming also helped her put food on the table.
“I’ve been poor enough to worry about food and housing, and I’ve had enough to be comfortable,” Rogers says. “As I lived in different parts of the country, started a family and worked in politics and messaging, I saw the gaps in the food system. People around me were sick and food insecure, and they either didn’t have access to quality food or didn’t know what to do with it. We know the consequences of poor nutrition reverberate for a lifetime. I decided I had to do something.”
It was while living in Southeast Georgia that Rogers started a small farm based on a Community Supported Agriculture program where people joined as members to get a share of the harvest.
“That endeavor led me to incredible people who had the same concerns and passions I did to change the way our community related to food,” Rogers says. “We organized and got to work. Over the next years, we started a large farm market, ran education and information programs, coordinated with groups like the Society of Saint Andrew, hosted an annual conference, and helped farmers connect with the community. It was literally life-changing to see the impact a small group of determined people could have on a community.”
While Rogers was living in Georgia, she says she was lucky enough to host a television show called “Katy on the Farm” that aired on a local station and on network affiliates in Georgia and Atlanta.
“We used the platform to educate viewers about local food by touring farms and talking to chefs and experts,” Rogers says. “The second season aired this spring, and we are on hold during the pandemic. Both seasons will soon be available on YouTube.”
Rogers is thrilled to be the manager of Teter Organic Farm.
“This is not only a beautiful place, but it is run by an incredible group of people who put others first,” she says. “I’m amazed daily by what our team of volunteers are able to accomplish. We will donate more than 10,000 servings of fresh and local produce to area food pantries and feeding programs this year alone, and we plan to continue expanding.”
Rogers adds that, “Teter is a place of community and connection for our guests, our members and our volunteers. With every donation, every person who tries a new food or tells us their own food story, or every child who gets to pet a chicken or pick a tomato, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the people who care enough to make it happen.”
Teter Organic Farm’s popular annual fundraiser is taking place in September once again.
“Our annual Farm to Table fundraiser dinner is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11, at Purgatory Golf Club,” Rogers says. “Chef Samantha Lamberth is preparing a three-course meal for our guests. We are social distancing and following strict guidelines, so we only have 100 in-person tickets available this year, but we are able to offer carry-out meals for those who would like another way to contribute to the event and support the Teter mission.”
Tickets to eat at the dinner In-person are $75.
For more information on Teter Organic Farm, 10980 E. 221st Street, Noblesville, visit them online at teterorganicfarm.com.