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'We wanted to farm 10 of those 27 acres'; Louisville nonprofits want to transform closed Shively golf course

The community food park would produce an estimated 2,500 pounds of fresh food annually.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville urban farming and food supplier groups are working to take over an abandoned golf course in Shively.

They want to turn it into a community food park, where farmers grow and sell their fresh food for the community.

Nearly 30 acres of land is what would be available.

"We wanted to farm 10 of those 27 acres and then use the rest of it for the community," said Haileigh Arnold, the farm manager for Gate of Hope Ministries.

Gate of Hope Ministries provides assistance to families from six Eastern and Central African countries.

"In Shively, there are five of the council districts that are considered food insecure by the USDA. And there is one that is directly across from the golf course that is declared a food desert," Arnold said.

Credit: Ford Sanders/WHAS11

The Farnsley Golf Center off Crums Lane sits with gates closed.

It's something Leticia Marshall, the owner of Bear Fruit & Grow, said Gate of Hope Ministries and the Food Literacy Project could utilize to combat food insecurity.

"Right in the heart of Shively, a beautiful, beautiful piece of land. But it hasn't been purposed for much of anything," Marshall said.

Marshall and Arnold both said they've tried working with Shively City Council, but feel they haven't made much progress.

WHAS11 spoke with some Shively council members who said they've recommended other locations.

However, these urban farmers said the others have sinkholes and other issues, saying this golf course is the most viable option.

"Even if it is a no, we would just like a solid no," Arnold said.

However, Marshall said their plans for the golf course go beyond farming.

"A community center, an outdoor kitchen space, a covered pavilion so we can expand the farmers market and have other community events," Marshall said.

Marshall also estimated the community food park would produce around 2,500 pounds of fresh food annually.

Arnold said it all comes down to just wanting to help those who may be struggling and increase access to fresh foods.

Credit: Ford Sanders/WHAS11

"We're nonprofits, we're not in it to make money. We're there to just feed people and to at least support our farmers the best that we can," Arnold said.

Both agreed they'd like to serve the community one crop at a time.

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