Green Acres: Urban Farms continue to sprout in Cleveland
The Ohio City Fresh Food Collaborative is a 6 acre urban farm incubator on the west side of Cleveland. Located near the West Side Market and a cluster of restaurants that support local farmers, the farm incubator provides garden plots for Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority residents, a market garden for Central Roots urban farm, and the Refugee Response/REAP program which provides market garden plots for refugees. Shot and edited by Brad Masi.
“Over the next three to five years we want to have about 10 farms going, and we want to employ about 100 people.”
By Christopher Johnston
Mar. 31, 2011
By shifting one quarter of Northeast Ohio’s food-buying needs from out-of-state sources to local food producers — a paradigm known as “the 25-percent shift” — we can put one out of eight unemployed people in the region back to work. That’s 27,664 new jobs, an increase in annual regional output by $4.2 billion, and $126 million in added state and local tax collections.
Granted, that “shift” is no simple nudge. It requires overcoming numerous obstacles, from increasing available credit to motivating more consumers to buy local.
But Cleveland and Northeast Ohio are better positioned than most regions at accomplishing the goal. Cleveland was recently ranked the second best city in the United States for local food thanks to our farmers markets, community gardens, and local food-loving restaurants and diners.
As co-author of the 25-percent shift, Brad Masi fully comprehends the importance of local urban agriculture. The Oberlin College grad co-founded City Fresh, a region-wide partnership focused on linking farmers with urban neighborhoods and institutions. As a leader in the field, Masi consults on virtually every urban garden in the region, and he says that current Cleveland projects are attracting attention.