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USDA as rural or urban census tracts with a substantial number of residents having little convenient access to grocery stores or other means of obtaining fresh, nutritious food. He also wanted five acres or more. “We probably could have gotten land faster if we would have gone to a rural setting,” he says. “We were really trying to get something that would be an urban teaching farm in the heart of the city and on the bus route.” The land acquired by Farmished was a foundry in its former life. According to Wolfe, the foundry was operational from the early 1900s up until 1985. Since it closed, he says the spot developed a bad reputation. It’s been used to store hazardous materials, it caught fire several times, and it was demol-

Farmished acquired, and he was also passionate about sustainability. Wolfe says the mayor wanted to help the citizens of Muncie get excited about local food and food security. “He is a practical guy who gets things done,” Wolfe says. “He empowered his team to also be that way.” The first training session will take place during the summer, and the lesson will be on composting. Wolfe says Muncie has a lot of urban soil that is not of great quality, but composting will provide nutrient-rich soil. He is working with the community to acquire the composting material needed. The county and city sanitation department are going to divert food waste to the site. For carbon, local landscapers

“We probably could have gotten land faster if we would have gone to a rural setting. We were really trying to get something that would be an urban teaching farm in the heart of the city and on the bus route.” —MICHAEL WOLFE

ished. “We got a standing ovation at the neighborhood association meeting when we announced we were taking over the property,” he says. “We hadn’t even said what we were doing with it yet, but people were happy about it.” Since the plot was a former industrial site with hazardous materials, Wolfe says work will need to be done to get it farm ready. He says about five of the 10 acres are covered in rubble that will need to be removed, and the Environmental Protection Agency is testing the soil and water. “The hazmat level is expected to be very low or not at all,” Wolfe says. “We want to get the testing done, confirmed and verified.” Wolfe says the city of Muncie was instrumental in helping him locate the land for his organization. He admits that he wasn’t expecting much from the local government because he had never worked with it before. The mayor, Dennis Tyler, grew up near the foundry

will provide chipped wood from job sites. “We’ve got the interest in our community to do a lot of community gardens,” Wolfe says. “Everybody wants one, and one of the things that’s lacking is the high quality soil.” The focus now is cleaning up the site. The project can’t move on until this task is completed. He says people always ask how they can help make Farmished a success. Before they got the land, he asked people to just spread the word. Now, he says they are soliciting donations to keep the ball rolling. Donations can be made on the website, and the next wave of help needed will be from volunteers. “Once we have the property vetted out environmentally, people can get involved with their hands if they want to,” Wolfe says. “There are a lot of folks that are waiting for that moment.” For more information, visit farmished.org. FARM INDIANA // FEBRUARY 2015 // 29

Farm Indiana / February 2015  
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