Tyler and Laura Henderson

Tyler and Laura Henderson's first attempt at self sufficiency through growing their own food came while living as house parents in a Butler University fraternity house. The couple kept a small garden and worm-composting bin and encouraged residents to compost and eat from the garden. In 2004, they moved to Europe, and their interest in finding creative ways to do intensive growing in small urban spaces grew into a passion. Upon returning to Indianapolis in 2006, they bought a home with a small yard and transformed nearly every inch of land into raised-bed vegetable, herb and perennial gardens. In the process they decided rain barrels were a necessary addition to their gardening efforts, and finding commercial models out of their price range, they learned to make their own. Within a few months, neighbors and friends were putting in requests, and before they knew it, the couple had stumbled upon a new small business selling their homemade rain barrels and leading rain barrel making workshops.

Seeking a life as free from the confines of office jobs as possible, the couple soon recognized the garden proved a small business opportunity as well. In addition to giving small amounts of their excess produce to friends and neighbors, they began selling small amounts to nearby restaurants. Desiring to help connect city dwellers and farmers for the mutual benefit of making "good, clean, fair food" more readily available, and keep small-scale sustainably-minded family farms growing, the couple organized an egg-share pickup at their home with a farmer friend. By the end of summer the idea for the Indy Winter Farmers Market was born. The immediate and continued community support for the IWFM encouraged Laura and Tyler that Indianapolis was "hungry" for local food.

In an effort to make edible gardens more visible, the couple formed Urban Earth Indy and partnered with Slow Food Indy and a restaurant, a specialty foods shop, a yoga studio and the Indiana Humanities Council to build, plant and maintain on-site "tasting gardens." In 2010, Tyler officially joined Matthew Jose as a partner in Big City Farms, and Laura and Matthew Jose have launched a new non-profit organization called Growing Places Indy (GPI) with the intention of developing urban agriculture in Indianapolis. The initial GPI venture is the Growing Places Indy Slow Food Garden at White River State Park. This 6,000 square foot garden will serve as a demonstration, education and training garden for those interested in urban agriculture, be it a small back-yard plot or an income producing urban farm.