Kay Grimm

After a six-year stint in the United States Air Force as an intelligence officer during the Cold War, Kay came out proclaiming loudly, “I will never work for anyone ever again!” By happenstance part of her duty time was spent at Grissom AFB, Bunker Hill Indiana, where discovering and digging the big city of Indianapolis she decided to set roots in 1989. Having grown up on the Grimm family farm in Northern Illinois, and feeling she might be part of the last generation to come off a sustainable, working farm, at heart Kay felt that the best of both worlds was to be a farmer in the city.

An agri-preneur and self-taught agro-ecologist, Kay has made her life her art. Her first company, ECO-Renewal Specialty Gardens, designed human habitats to comingle with nature. Her next venture was Kids in Bloom®, Inc., connecting youth with earth to sow together community, culture and ecology through community gardens. In 1993 she founded Kids in Bloom® Living History Seed Company, dedicated to growing and preserving heirloom seeds and their stories. Kay is an expert on open-pollination & saving the seed of these treasures. The next step of this adventure will be to open up a seed bank to ensure food security for all of Indianapolis.

Colorful in character, small in stature and with a mighty big heart, Kay’s favorite way of seeing a green idea come to fruition is just by doing it. Her most recent ecologic endeavor is Basic Roots Community Foods, a monthly, year-round CSA that sustains a relationship with 100+ farmers to make good, local food accessible. Basic Roots also delivers through a mobile “farmer’s market to your door” service.

Kay vested herself in the near Eastside in 1995, and is currently living on her three-quarter-acre nature preserve spanning five contiguous city lots. She has cultivated her urban landscape into not only a certified wildlife habitat but a perennial, permaculturally orientated, biodynamic “urban wild” fruit farm named Fruit Loop Acres, about which she jokes, “’Fruits’ growing fruits!” This year, for the first time, U-pick fruits were offered to friends. The land is also an eco-village within itself, containing 30 different native fruits, a sweat lodge, tree house, bee hives, heritage breed ducks, and lots of installation art using items repurposed from alley salvage.