Indy Officinalis

Getting stuff done with

Indy getting stuff done
Indy Officinalis

Getting stuff done with Indy Officinalis

Leah Thomas Getting stuff done

Meet Indy Officinalis, a Los Angeles-based urban farmer empowering communities through access to land and food.

Tell us about your journey.

I started growing my own food at 17 when I realized that the fragmented local food system allowed big farmers in my area to provide fresh food to their families, while migrant workers struggled to eat, and the community as a whole was in a food apartheid. I wanted to find a way to feel better in my own skin, eat foods that gave me real energy, and help others on their wellness journey too. I started volunteering on farms around the US, learning how to care for animals, grow vegetables, and create marketable products.

Where do you get inspiration for your work?

I’m inspired by my ancestors’ resilience. I’m inspired by my black and brown communities that dare to dream of a future in farming.

What’s something you’re excited about?

I’m excited for my radishes! I planted radishes recently and I want to pickle them soon.

If there’s one thing you wish you would’ve known when you started out, what would that be?

I wish I had been more gentle to myself. I felt like I needed to know EVERYTHING about every farm I ever worked on. But so much of this knowledge comes from experience. After your first growing season, you’ll know more than you could ever learn in a book.

What cause or causes are important to you?

I do a lot of work in the unhoused community so I’m incredibly passionate about finding solutions for affordable housing and supporting individuals who don’t have access to consistent housing.

What does sustainability mean to you?

To me, sustainability is about doing the least amount of harm and striving to do the most good. Treating the land and people in a way that promotes dignity and authenticity. For me, it’s about resourcefulness, humility, and mindful consumption.

How can we make urban farming more accessible to everyone?

Education and access. In short, creating more community-led gardens with leaders who are a reflection of the community being served.

What do you hope to see in the future of sustainable fashion?

More clothes made out of plant materials. I’m really excited about mushroom leather!

Does farming and foraging influence your poetry, or vice versa?

I once heard you have to stand up to live before you sit down to write, and that really stuck with me. I’m influenced by the inherent poetry of working the land.

How do you sustain yourself as an environmentalist?

Lots of black tea! Haha. I always carve out time for self care, but I understand that this is a privilege, so sometimes it’s hard to put the shovel down and invest time back into myself. Baths help.

What advice would you give to young people interested in pursuing careers in sustainability?

Just go for it, but start small. Start local. Find out the needs of your immediate community and offer solutions. Create a composting station at your high school, plant a garden behind your dorm.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever foraged?

Lobster mushrooms! I found 50 lbs of them recently, and they taste JUST like lobster.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading a field guide to Missouri wildflowers in preparation for a trip.

Favorite kind of mushroom?


Best place to eat in Los Angeles?

I love Doomies! They have such good vegan comfort food.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever found vintage shopping?

Boots! I love vintage boots.