In the past year, August 2011-August 2012 Global Peace Initiatives has managed over 1092 volunteers during 1062 program hours. When calculated, these figures accurately represent 18,643 volunteer hours invested in the community redevelopment project of Peaceful Grounds; including Peaceful Grounds Farm and the Center for Agriculture and Sustainable Living.

In the first year, the "Peacemaker" volunteers have reclaimed the abandoned property from ruin. The stories about how they have done it are remarkable. Our volunteers have removed a 20 foot perimeter layer of invasive honeysuckle that had overgrown and encased the fence line of the four and a half acre land. The wildlife stubbornly vacated the buildings on the property, encouraged on by groups like the US Naval Reserve. The USN Medical Corp Unit used one of their training weekends to safely removed the raccoon habitat from the main warehouse, creating a more habitable place for people. UIndy students over the course of the 2011 fall semester mixed enough mulch from Ponder's Tree Service and apple pumice from Adrian's Orchards to nurture the growth of a giant worm farm. That worm farm has proven large enough to propagate two feet deep layer of "black gold" across the property. The "black gold" vermi-composted growing medium is highly fertile and bids great promise for our 2013 growing season. As high tunnel hoop houses have been erected on the property, the landscape begins look more like a garden - instead of an industrial concrete facility. The volunteers this year have tirelessly worked to build Peaceful Grounds. They are creating a vibrant space where community meets to serve, learn and celebrate our potential when we work together.

Those volunteers have literally come to Peaceful Grounds from all over the world; including places like Zimbabwe, Kenya and China. In one day this summer we facilitated 20 youth from downtown Indianapolis, 20 youth from throughout the United States and 20 college students from Shanghai, China. One Chinese student remarked enthusiastically after his experience, "Agriculture is the backbone of a strong economy..!"   We think so too.

Local churches and universities play a strong role in our volunteer corp of peacemakers. Carmel Christian Church engaged their mission service team to literally rebuild the walls of the worn abandoned warehouses. Mechanicsburg Christian Church Youth Program members have brought their farm equipment in from western Boone County to help us manage the massive worm colony. This fall Peaceful Grounds is facilitating service learning experiences for four universities. Their participation is massive committed and awe inspiring. This year Marian University and Butler University join the list of university participants as University of Indianapolisbegins their fifth year helping Global Peace Initiatives and Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) their second. 

We look forward to the next year. We know what a difference this past year has made to the development of Peaceful Grounds. We are looking forward to the next year, as the more robust program aspects of the initiative move forward and the impact of Global Peace Initiatives continue to grow.

To view pictures of the Building of Peaceful Grounds click here.

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