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2013 Forty Under 40: Laura E. Henderson

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“I hope to give back to the community by offering empowerment, inspiration and encouragement to the people who interact with Growing Places Indy—be they volunteers, summer program participants, customers, board members, donors or others—and with the Indy Winter Farmers Market—be they vendors, customers, sponsors or others—and with the people who come to my yoga classes.”

Age: 34

Executive Director, Growing Places Indy


As founder and executive director of Growing Places Indy, Laura Henderson sees the big picture. People making healthier food choices feel better, and when many people feel better, the result is a healthier community.

Her most visible achievement is the Slow Food Garden at White River State Park. The produce raised there is sold to people participating in a weekly community-supported agriculture program.

Indianapolis Winter Farmers’ Market was launched by Henderson in 2008. After moving from one location to another for several years, it settled in City Market.

“I had no idea what to expect,” recalled Henderson. In 2008, there were 19 vendors and 350 people showed up. The original seven-week season stretched into 24 weeks.

“Our food systems have shifted so dramatically in the last 50 years” that people want smaller-scale agricultural choices, said Henderson, who has a home garden, keeps chickens and raises bees. Growing up in Louisville, Ky., she was influenced by her parents, who usually had a vegetable garden and were excellent cooks.

Her healthy lifestyle includes teaching yoga, meditation and using her bicycle to get around town.

“I’ve never been able to focus on one thing,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in how all of the different disciplines connect.”

While attending Butler University, she studied abroad, researching nutrition intervention and government schools in Tasmania, Australia.

“That was one of the things that got me thinking of food and its impact on us, how we develop as people, the truth behind the cliché ‘we are what we eat,’” said Henderson.

She added that she’s fortunate her husband Tyler’s work in international education leaves him free in the summers to be her farm manager.

“Our mission is to cultivate human potential,” she said.•

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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