Sandra Rodriguez started the Miller Beach Farmers Market in Gary in 2008, just a year after moving here from Chicago. After working for almost two decades in advertising, Sandra has become one of Northwest Indiana’s biggest advocates for local, sustainable food.
As a master gardener, Sandra has a long-term vision of transforming local brownfields lands into green gardens and farmland that could produce fruits and vegetables. She is the project manager of Gary’s first urban farm, Stewart House Urban Farm and Gardens, located at 15th and Massachusetts.
Sandra, who has a B.A. in English and French Literature from University of Illinois at Chicago, earned an Environmental Affairs certificate from Indiana University-Northwest in Gary. She completed a one-year internship in Economic and Community Development with a local foods focus at Purdue Extension-Porter County in 2011. Her leadership has been recognized by her induction in the NWI Society of Innovators in Fall 2011. She is serving on the NIRPC Implementation Committee for the 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan.
She has also completed a Brownfields Job Training Program with the City of Gary and has attended several sustainability workshops, including, most notably, at Will Allen’s urban Growing Power greenhouse in Milwaukee.