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Making a Mark: Farm in the Dell empowers people with disabilities

Abbi Pahl hands Kevin Urlacher a kohlrabi plant while Glenn Urlacher and Evan Bailey dig a hole to plant it at Catalyst Medical Center Community Garden in south Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

Name: Glenn Urlacher

Position: President of the board of Farm in the Dell of the Red River Valley

What is Farm in the Dell? Farm in the Dell locations are community-based, self-supporting farms for the disabled. There are currently five operating in Montana, one in Canada and one in Russia.

His story: Urlacher and others like him who have family members with disabilities hope to build a Farm in the Dell location near Moorhead.

They began fundraising two years ago with the goal of finding 20 to 40 acres of land within 10 miles of Moorhead. While nothing is official, the organization did recently start talks with one area landowner.

Once the land is secured, they plan to build a home or a couple of homes on the property. Urlacher said they will then create large garden plots for the residents to tend. Another possibility they have discussed is building a dog kennel for them to operate.

Urlacher said he and other organizers are extremely passionate about the project.

“We went out and visited the farms in Montana. We have seen what the people do there. We also experienced it with our own garden. The individuals do extremely well with the plants, and they just prosper in that environment,” Urlacher said.

“The challenge for people with disabilities is to have purposeful work, and this provides them with that. They love seeing where their food comes from and being a part of that.”

Last year, future residents, family members and volunteers tended their own plot at the community garden at Catalyst Medical Center in south Fargo. They sold their produce at One Oak Place and Trollwood apartments in Fargo.

“It was very good for us because it gave us an opportunity to give back to the community. Those individuals often don’t have a lot of opportunity to get to a farmer’s market. And it was a win-win for people with disabilities to sell to people who also have challenges in their life. Then, of course, those people were also very kind to our people with disabilities and were patient with them,” Urlacher said.

This year, they have expanded their plot and plan to sell their produce from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays beginning the first week in July at Elmwood Park in West Fargo.

How to help: To donate to the cause or learn more about Farm in the Dell, visit www.farminthedellrrv

Quote: “This is a bit of an undertaking, but we’re praying God will provide. That’s part of our mission that this be a Christ-centered home where these kids have good relationships and meaningful work.”