Urban Farm: AgriPark opens for the season, offering rural experiences for Fishers, Geist residents


Sitting slightly east of the northern tip of Geist Reservoir is a unique opportunity for residents of the primarily urban Fishers and Geist areas. The Fishers AgriPark, 11171 Florida Rd., honors Indiana’s farming traditions with a mix of fresh produce and farm animals for all ages to experience up close and personal.

Trevor Wildey, operations manager for the Fishers AgriPark, was busy on the park’s opening day of the 2024 season as parents with young children arrived to visit animals and take a small selection from the earliest of the park’s spring produce.

Wildey said produce is a big draw throughout the season and park staff try to ensure a large variety. Staff members start more than 100,000 plants each spring, utilizing the park’s greenhouses to germinate the seeds and get the plants ready to go out into the fields.

“We’re going to lose some due to weather,” he said. “We had a bunch out a couple of weeks ago — it rained almost 4 inches, so we lost some. We’ll lose some to disease and pests and stuff like that. My guys definitely plant a lot of it, but it definitely wouldn’t be possible without the community.”

Volunteers — in groups or individually — help transplant those thousands of starts, he said, and then help tend them throughout the season.

“Last Friday, for example, we had Fishers High School — they sent out 40 students and they planted over 4,000 onions for us,” Wildley said.

The first produce of the season is mostly leafy greens.

“Then we’ll kind of transition to squash, peppers, green beans, sweet corn, tomato — the good stuff,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll run that through October and then we’ll end our season with a big fall festival at the end of the year — give away our pumpkins and all that stuff.”

Like with any farm, the success of the AgriPark’s growing season each year depends on weather and other factors. But, Wildey said, when produce is ripe, everything is free for visitors to pick — and they pick a lot.

Multiplying the average weight of filled produce boxes by the number of boxes handed out each season, he estimated the AgriPark gives away about 100,000 pounds of fresh produce each season.

“That’s not necessarily counting like squash and sweet corn and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “That’s just tomatoes, peppers, okra, green beans.”

On opening day, it was still too early for visitors to pick their own produce. Instead, they gathered at the park’s playground and at the animal pastures — home to goats and sheep, a pig named Otis and a very friendly horse named Spirit, who will happily nibble your shirt while you pat his nose.

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The Fishers AgriPark is home to sheep, goats, chickens, pigs and cows, in addition to large vegetable fields.

Otis and Spirit originally belonged to Wildey, who brought them to the AgriPark after he started working there. When Otis spotted Wildey from across the pasture, the pig fast-waddled toward his favorite person, grunting happily, and Wildey hopped over the fence to give the pig some belly rubs.

In another pasture, a small herd of cows and a donkey ate hay but approached the fence when Wildey brought over a bucket of feed. A young boy thought he wanted to feed the cows, but when their large heads got close, he changed his mind and let his mom do it for him.

“We live about five minutes away, so we come here a lot in the summertime,” Kaycee Port said of her and son, Owen. “We really like seeing all the animals. It’s not like anything else around. It’s a lot of free, independent play. He gets to kind of just explore and be in nature — kind of messy play. It’s really nice to be able to come to a working farm. You can see how it works. We like to pick crops, too, in the summertime.”

Owen said his favorite crop to pick is broccoli, which was news to his mother. She said that last year, they picked a lot of jalapeños and peppers.

The Fishers AgriPark is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s closed Sunday and Monday.

For more, visit playfishers.com/217/Fishers-AgriPark.

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Trevor Wildey, operations manager for the Fishers AgriPark, shows some of the plant starts that will be planted outside during the growing season for visitors to pick free of charge. (Photos by Leila Kheiry)

Activities at the AgriPark

Throughout the season, the Fishers AgriPark hosts activities and workshops and offers summer camps for children.

Operations Manager Trevor Wildey noted that even during the offseason, when the park is technically closed, it hosts school groups that come to learn about agriculture. The AgriPark also hosts pop-up classes, he said, such as quick pickling, flower arranging and salsa — the sauce, not the dance.

“Although, we have done some barn line dancing before,” he said.

Pop-up events take place once or twice a month, Wildey said, and are announced just a day or two in advance. The best way to stay notified is through the park’s social media pages.