Operation My Indy: Greenbriar
I am delighted to serve as the new president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, an organization we both love. Since I am new to Indy, part of my journey to explore the city involves staying at Airbnbs in different neighborhoods. As I share my thoughts and experiences, I hope that you will provide your own suggestions!
This week, my fifth, was an important one as it was the week of Yom Kippur, the most important Jewish holiday of the year. Yom Kippur is a day for fasting and contemplation. I had the good fortune of staying as a guest of one of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful’s Board Directors, who lives in the St. Vincent/Greenbriar neighborhood, close by to several Jewish synagogues.
My host this week also has an amazing pollinator garden on her property. I thoroughly enjoyed walking among the various native plants, watching monarch butterflies dance from flower to flower. KIB creates pocket parks to bring beauty and enjoyment all across the city, to help people and nature thrive. You can be part of that solution by creating a pollinator garden in your own yard. I think you will be happier to replace the task of mowing a grass yard and replacing some of it with native flowers, grasses, and sedges.
I mention the Jewish holiday because Jewish faith creates an obligation to perform good deeds, charitable giving, and acts of kindness. Embedded in this thought is an alignment with protecting the environment as a way to repair the world.
Personally, I derive great satisfaction working the soil. I had 160 square feet of vegetable and herb gardens in my backyard in Connecticut (and our kale and tomato plants went gangbusters this year!). I also love learning about native plants from local master gardeners, and planting new flowers and grasses around my house. I can't wait to do the same once my family and I find a permanent place in Indy.
It is probably not surprising that many religious beliefs also share this concept of caring for the world around us. Buddhism emphasizes interconnection, and a cooperative relationship between humans and nature. The Tyndale Seminary has an entire website devoted to the concept of “Creation Care” in Christianity. In Islam, the Quran suggests that one can gain profound knowledge from nature, and human beings should therefore preserve and look after it.
What I *did* find surprising is that according to one survey, Indianapolis has the highest number of religious institutions per capita of any major city in the U.S. And this is an opportunity.
If your Priest/Pastor/Rabbi/Imam speaks about the importance of taking care of the world around us, think of the ways that can align with KIB’s goals of creating vibrant public spaces where people and nature can thrive. KIB is creating Green Spaces with Gethsamane Lutheran Church and the Capital City Church of Christ.
Why not Adopt A Block around your own house of worship? Imagine how much joy it will bring you, and all of your fellow congregants, to have a beautiful block around every church, mosque and synagogue. #BeautifulNeedsYou!
Jeremy’s Neighborhood Recommendations
WHAT TO EAT
I had the opportunity to meet with a local philanthropist at Hubbard and Cravens Coffee and Tea in the Broad Ripple neighborhood. It is a wonderful place to sit down for quiet conversation over giant ceramic mugs of dark coffee. I'll be back there when it's time to stay in Broad Ripple, for sure!
WHAT TO DO
Find a local pollinator garden, and go for a contemplative stroll. Watch the butterflies, and try to guess which flower they will visit next - it's never the one you think it will be! (And if you don't have a pollinator garden near you, plant your own! KIB can help you figure out how to get started.)