Linda Proffitt, executive director of Global Peace Initiatives, stands with a handful of the worms used to help grow the soil at the group’s Peaceful Grounds location. In the background is one of the hoop houses that the group built from recycled material to grow produce year-round.
Linda Proffitt, executive director of Global Peace Initiatives, stands with a handful of the worms used to help grow the soil at the group’s Peaceful Grounds location. In the background is one of the hoop houses that the group built from recycled material to grow produce year-round.

SOUTHPORT, Ind. — The growth of the local food movement has gained momentum over the years, and leaving its own footprint is Global Peace Initiatives. The group promotes peace through helping feed the world’s hungry.

Linda Proffitt, the founder and executive director of the local GPI chapter, said that the organization had been growing power for more than 20 years through mature food systems, which produces millions of dollars in revenue in return nationwide.

She noted that GPI is leasing a piece of city property in Southport, which has been dubbed Peaceful Grounds, and this area will be used for promoting sustainable, urban agriculture.

“We are creating, in terms, a model for central Indiana for a surge of interest in people growing food,” she said.

Proffitt added that the goal of GPI is to have a mature year-round food system, along with showing people how to work with their food safely.

She mentioned that some people try to plant a garden in urban areas where houses have been demolished and at one time may have contained lead that now can contaminate the soil.

There is a different environment in ag land, and she hopes people come to the property as a destination to learn more about producing fruits and vegetables locally and the community.

Proffitt said that Peaceful Grounds, which used to be an old concrete factory, will be a community development project that will happen one volunteer at a time.

She noted that when GPI leased the property, there was no soil on the property, so they had to re-grow it, which is why they used the process of sericulture, which is raising earthworms for their castings.

All the soil at the location is a direct result of what the worms have produced, she said.

“It’s important because what goes in the worm comes out perfectly organic, and the worm casting creates fertility in the soil,” she noted.

Also on the property are two hoop houses that volunteers have built from recycled material.

They propagate seedlings, such as herbs, in the houses that will help generate a revenue stream for the grounds.

“We want to create a market, that is more affordable for people,” Proffitt said.

The organization also has 47 gardens throughout Indianapolis, and some even grow produce for local food pantries, she added.