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Ohio City Farm

A 6-acre farm in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, which was created on open land next to a public housing project. The project has been an inspiring collaboration between different community groups, including several nonprofits and nearby restaurants.

Photo of Marika Shioiri-Clark
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This project is really inspirational, both in its place as a community builder, and for the speed with which it came together. The project is a collaboration between the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation, the Refugee Response, and the Cleveland Housing Authority, as well as several local restaurants who pre-bought produce, including the popular Great Lakes Brewery. Refugees active with The Refugee Response, a local nonprofit, were paid to do most of the farming, since most of them were farmers in their home countries, and Amish farmers and plowhorses from farms outside Cleveland were hired to till the land. The site was originally meant to be used for additional Housing Authority buildings, but was deemed unbuildable due to its unstable soil, which slopes into the river. The land then sat vacant for over 10 years, until the farm was proposed in 2010.
Plans are in place this year to add a community kitchen, where people can rent time and space to produce their own food products, and a farm stand to sell produce from the farm, in addition to an existing CSA program.
The project, which is one of the largest contiguous urban farms in the country, went from being a good idea dreamt up by young Ohio City residents to a groundbreaking in a little over 6 months, and the team was harvesting produce a month later.

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Photo of Delia Kulukundis

I think this is fantastic, and I'm impressed that it came together so quickly.
This project makes me think of the planned Hantz farm in Detroit, though ground hasn't been broken on that one yet. http://www.hantzfarmsdetroit.com/

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