Applaud Conversion of Wasteland into Farmland


Target: Danny Swan, Farm 18 owner

Goal: Applaud an individual’s initiative to grow a farm in a desolate area, providing healthier produce options to locals

Recently, West Virginian resident Danny Swan was recognized for making a positive impact in the small town of Wheeling in West Virginia. Swan converted an unused, littered plot of land into a fertile produce farm to provide residents with healthy food alternatives and to influence others to focus on sustainable farming as well.

Danny Swan’s farm, which is called “Farm 18,” is situated in a previously desolate area right next to a major four-lane highway, where debris from constant traffic has collected in the ground, along with the remnants of previous buildings. Around the time that Danny Swan first started working on cultivating the one-acre plot of land into fertile farm soil in 2008, he was volunteering at Laughlin Chapel, which is an after-school center for inner-city kids. Swan combined the need for a local farm with the provision of valuable education for inner-city kids by having the kids from the day center help out on the farm.

From humble beginnings with merely 20 tomato plants, which some of the local kids helped plant, Danny Swan has persevered in his vision for this unused, one-acre plot of land. Now the farm produces $20,000 worth of annual produce. Although the farm takes a considerable amount of time and effort to maintain, “Farm 18” is looked after by numerous helping hands from around the community.

Since 2008, dozens of other farms, modeled after Danny Swan’s “Farm 18,” have appeared around West Virginia. Residents believe that Swan’s farming initiative started a new agricultural movement in the area that will not only provide fresh and healthy produce for the residents, but will also aid the outlook of the worn-down town and its inhabitants. Many residents believe that there is already a growth in young people and local produce in the city. City officials have even talked about creating educational farms in the city to educate the public about growing produce and the benefits of farming.

Please sign the petition below to congratulate Danny Swan on his successful conversion of unused and littered land into fresh produce-bearing farmland. His work has not only provided city residents with healthy food options, but has also helped spur a positive economic and agricultural movement.


Dear Mr. Swan,

Making a large change in a community may prove to be a daunting or even impossible task for many individuals, but through your creation of “Farm 18,” you have proved that large positive changes are possible. The town of Wheeling was overdue for a fresh change and you have provided the residents of the town with a new revitalized spirit. Already the area has seen a growth in younger people and local produce, spurred on by the agriculture movement that your farm helped initiate.

I want to thank you for growing “Farm 18” into the prosperous, fresh-produce bearing and educational farm that it is currently. I look forward to hearing about more positive changes that ensue in Wheeling due to farms such as “Farm 18.” I wish you the best of luck in the continuance of this wonderful farm.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons

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