We have turned an empty and forgotten piece of land in Cleveland’s Kinsman Neighborhood into an urban farm where we grow produce to bring healthy, local food to area institutions and citizens and train others on this work.
We farm. So far, we’ve built two green houses, four hoop houses. One of our greenhouses is dedicated to our aquafarming of “black talipia” fish. Soon we will be adding perch, blue gill, bass and another type of talipia to our tanks and outdoor pond.
We create “black gold,” our super nutritious soil. How? From produce discarded by the Cleveland Food Bank; from wood chips from the city of Cleveland’s forestry department; from coffee grounds supplied by local coffee houses and others; from leftover hops from Little Mountain Brewery in Kirtland and from Black Box Brewery.
We use that rich soil for ourselves. We sell it to others, and recently we joined an EPA-funded collaboration with the Buckeye Area Development Corp., the city of Cleveland and Environmental Health Watch in the “Greenhouses & Green Houses” program. Rid-All soil was put into four community gardens and 15 backyard gardens as a first step in creating an urban eco-village in the Buckeye Neighborhood, and we are committed to working with our partners and the residents on community gardens, healthy food and housing.
We educate adults. We are a Regional Outreach Training Center of the Milwaukee-based Growing Power, Inc. network, founded by Will Allen. Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization that works with people from diverse backgrounds and the environment in which they live by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food. This mission is implemented by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.
We educate youth. Our Youth Educational Programming falls under our “Green ‘n tha Ghetto” banner. It is geared toward educating and entertaining young people and general community about environmental sustainability. Our Brink City comic book series is one of the tools we use to reach the urban youth. We partner with collaborators to educate youth and adults on environmental stewardship and to train others to reclaim fallow urban fields and transform them into productive plots of land that offer healthy local food.