Unique Fort Wayne farm growing

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Fort Wayne, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – One local farm is a little unique. It’s not in a rural area, but rather in downtown Fort Wayne. It’s called Windrose Urban Farm, and it’s expanding.

Windrose Urban Farm, located off Lafayette Street in Fort Wayne produces mushrooms for nearly ten local restaurants, employing workers with special needs. They use a greenhouse structure to grow their product. Thanks to a purchase on the east side of their building, they will soon be able to grow more.

Farm Manager of Windrose Urban Farm, Chris Knipstein says, “It’s just about exactly half an acre, and we’re going to put raised beds across it to grow other things than mushrooms now.”

The mushrooms actually grow on sawdust, and they will use that to help set up a growing area on their new land.

“So it’s a waste product that we’re growing mushrooms on, and then we’re going to take that sawdust waste product and bring it back here. It’s already pretty much composted from the mushrooms already. We’re going to compost it just a little bit more, probably not even a week or two, and then it will go out here to amend the beds,” Knipstein says.

As for what they will grow? Well, that’s still a secret. Lyss Hockema has worked at Windrose for a little over a year, picking thousands of mushrooms.

Windrose Urban Farm Mushroom Harvester, Lyss Hockema says, “It’s very laid back. Basically, all you do is pick mushrooms and listen to music while you do it. You also have to clean up after because it gets very messy afterwards.”

She says the additional land opens opportunity.

“What if we make another building and actually sell out of it, and actually have a market of our own,” Hockema says.

All in an effort to provide more jobs.

“We’re really happy just to be able to employ more people, so the more we can expand back here, the more things we can do, we’re just going to keep increasing the goal of the mission, which is just hire more people,” Knipstein says.

Windrose plans to announce what they will grow later this month and say the product will go to local restaurants. Workers with special needs can find more information about jobs on the Windrose Urban Farm Facebook page and their website.

Jon Wilson

Jon Wilson

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