Giving Gardens Mission and Vision

Fostering healthy communities by empowering individuals with the tools and knowledge needed to produce sustainable organic gardens – starting from the ground up. Our vision is to involve local residents, schools and businesses in hopes of forming a more tight-knit, healthy community


Educational Urban Farm

Giving Gardens of Indiana is Whitley County’s first Urban Farm. Urban agriculture addresses an inherent issue throughout our current food culture – a disconnection to where our food comes from. By involving children and adults alike in education around sustainable, local agriculture, we can increase the health of our future food systems.

Our farm is here to inspire a love of growing your own food and help build a deep connection with the natural world, by offering an environment where we can educate and impact children who attend our programs, the adults in their lives and the rest of our community as a whole. 

As an organic farm we utilize practices that maintain and improve fertility, soil structure and biodiversity, and reduce erosion, producing nutrient dense fruits and vegetables.

Rachel Alexander

Executive Director


Jessica Burkett

Educational Director

Meet our team

Executive Director – Rachel Alexander

Rachel Alexander joined Giving Gardens of Indiana as Executive Director in 2014. She has been an avid gardener for 12 years and is passionate about organic horticulture and growing food in a sustainable manner. She spearheaded the campaign to install a community garden in Whitley County, Indiana, and she takes great joy in managing the garden and volunteers. She loves to visit markets and farms and supporting a local food network. Rachel has completed courses in 3 season gardening at IPFW in Fort Wayne, and courses from Growing Power in Wisconsin on microgreens and composting. Also, she has completed the Market Gardening Masterclass course from La Ferme des Quatre-Temps in Quebec, Canada. Before joining Giving Gardens, Rachel was the gardening committee leader for Whole Health Wellness Center. She is a member of the Three Rivers Fruit Growing Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 sons, listening to live music, and drinking a good cup of coffee.

Educational Director – Jessica Burkett

Jessica has an educational background as a Forest School Director and Forest School teacher, Kamana Naturalist, personal training, yoga teaching, and natural movement, certified in nutrition, and thai yoga practitioner. She is the Outdoor Educator for TROY Alternative School for at-risk youth and currently homeschools her two teenage sons. She joined with Giving Gardens of Indiana as the Educational Director in the summer of 2019. She serves on the Tree Board in Columbia City. She is currently in Naturalist training through Wilderness Awareness School.  Sharing her excitement for the world around us and nature with kids is what she loves to teach most. She is a teacher to the core! 

Jessica has been in love with gardening since her, and her husband were married and has grown something everywhere since (even when traveling in their schoolie!). Her passion for hiking has turned her into a forager and hobby herbalist. Taking care of the natural world and educating others in this area is one of her top priorities. She tries her best to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and share that example with others. Because of this personal mission, she is the “Green Team” co-founder for the Ignite Group for their ultra trail running series, with a mission to help “Green” up the races so that there is less waste generated by the sporting events. That has also led her to be a local food advocate and share the importance of seasonal, local consumption in a sustainable way, because not only is it healthy for you, but it also supports the earth and the local community and families.  Being a part of Giving Gardens as Educational Director is all of her dreams and experience rolled into one!

Her personal website is: