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‘Farming with a social mission’: Ex-chemical engineer hopes to change lives through urban farm

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Karl Ebeling, who developed the Grow Ogden initiative, shows some of the produce grown by program participants on Tuesday. (Photo: Tim Vandenack,

“We can teach them job skills and life skills and help them identify what the next step in their career is and help build a bridge to that next step,” Ebeling said.

By Tim Vandenack
May 29, 2024


OGDEN — As he volunteered for an inner-city, after-school farm program in Philadelphia geared to kids, Karl Ebeling noticed the impact it seemed to have.

“Just half an hour in the garden, once a week, I noticed them transform in their disposition. They turned on like light bulbs,” he said.

Soon, he decided it was the sort of work he wanted to do full-time. He stepped down from his post in the Philadelphia area as a chemical engineer for DuPont and started assembling a plan to launch his own farm-based effort. It led him to uproot and move to Utah, where his five grown kids and other family live, and launch Grow Ogden, meant to help those in need of a lift or otherwise “disconnected” from the larger community through hands-on work farming.

“I call it farming with a social mission,” said Ebeling, who goes by “Farmer Karl.”

The first two participants, Marissa Prims and Isaiah Flax, will soon graduate from the 16-week Grow Ogden program, and Ebeling is in the process of raising funds to keep the initiative going. Indeed, he’s got big dreams — Grow Ogden is a subsidiary of Eden Streets, the parent nonprofit organization Ebeling created and runs with the hope of launching similar farm-based initiatives all around the country to assist those at potential risk of homelessness.

Read the complete article here.


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