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St. Joseph's Orphanage Getting Transformation

Organizers want to turn a former orphanage into an organic farm, for the purposes of education, community outreach and hunger relief initiatives.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR -- A former orphanage in North Little Rock is getting a big transformation. A group of people were out at St. Joseph's Orphanage off Camp Robinson Road on Wednesday already making those changes.

Organizers want to turn it into an organic farm, for the purposes of education, community outreach and hunger relief initiatives.

Right now, the building is being used for retreats for other churches, but just recently, organizers are working on the plot of land and trying to create Arkansas' first food forest.

The goal is to grow all kinds of fruits and vegetables. They would also like to bring live stock to the 63-acre land. Indoors, they would like to utilize the empty rooms and kitchens as a place to educate the community on sustainable organic farming, cooking, small farming training and more.

"I believe what we're doing with the food forest, the gardens, the livestock, the community gardens will be a huge tourist attraction here. Especially with our fall festivals," said Jody Hardin, St. Joseph Farm Developer. "We're hoping to impact the local schools by having an outdoor classroom setting."

A farm developer proposed the plan in June and got it approved along with 50,000 dollars in grant money to get this all started. Organizers say this will be a great transformation, since some problems Arkansans face are childhood obesity and hunger, so it's a great way to reconnect the community and use this as an outlet.

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