Urban Farming In Cleveland

Everything that initially looks bad … ain’t always bad. Sometimes it turns into a blessing. Take Cleveland for instance …  read how yet another city is coming up with creative ways to solve their problems of declining quality of life  (orignal story here).


Cleveland Council approves urban farming, teardown of foreclosed homes

Posted by Henry J. Gomez/Plain Dealer Reporter February 02, 2009 22:05 PM Real Time News CLEVELAND –

The City Council on Monday approved two measures aimed at reshaping the city’s urban landscape.

In short, the Cleveland City government has realized it’s time to demolish abandoned homes and buildings and allow residents to grow their own food on the unused land.

Decades of population drain, industrial death and, most recently, the foreclosure crisis have left about 3,300 vacant acres in the city, and at least 15,000 vacant buildings.

The other ordinance sets guidelines for how Mayor Frank Jackson will spend $25.5 million in federal neighborhood improvements funds. The bulk of the money will be used to tear down abandoned homes left behind by the foreclosure epidemic.

One ordinance will allow residents to raise and keep farm animals and bees. It’s a step, proponents believe, toward finding innovative uses for vacant land. “We want people to be able to grow their own food,” Cimperman said.

The ordinance allows residents to keep chickens, ducks, rabbits and beehives but not roosters, geese or turkeys. A typical residential lot could have no more than six small animals and two hives

Urban farmers face opportunities and obstacles

“You don’t need a ton of infrastructure to produce food,” she said. “You need access to land, water, sun and know-how. That’s not a lot of barriers to entry compared to other start-ups,” said ordinance sponsor, Councilman Joe Cimperman.

Customers at the ever-expanding number of local farmers markets are snapping up so much of what grows in the city that the gourmet chefs who also demand local produce can scarcely get enough.

4 responses to “Urban Farming In Cleveland



    • Great spirit Yeye …

      But with Monsanto closing the doors on as many aspects of Organic Farming and Organic Dairy as they possibly can … and big Agri-business in lock-step right with them … well … it’s more than just an Urban issue … and far more than just a black issue … this is an “all of us” issue.

      Obesity is off the hook.
      Diabetes has shot up
      Cancer rates (refined sugar) has leapt skywards too …

      This is about how we hear, “feed my sheep” and how we take care of our neighbors as well as our children who must leave the house and live with those neighbors. Kind of like the Buddhist who say: “… there is no ‘they’.”

      But you’re also right about the huge problems within the black community. Did you see what Cornell West said about the biggest problems facing the black community? “… living lives of hopelessness, lovelessness, and futility”?

      I see urban and rural farming as a GREAT means to healing … and supplying new hope within all of us. Thanks for the comment Yeye.

  2. Hi Fred,

    I was thinking about the conversation we had almost a year ago in light of the work I’m currently doing in New Orleans around food access in low-income communities. Have you found land yet? Hope all is well.


    • I’m in a “Bardo” … keep returning to this same transition point. I’ve acutally found a farm to work on …

      It’s called, Full Circle Farms in Sunnyvale, CA. It’s right behind Peterson Middle School … in fact, you might say it’s a part of the school. It’s a teaching farm that sells organic produce to the community.

      They want to hire me as someone who can help teach the sixth and seventh graders and write curriculum (develop a short manual, etc …) and guess what? It took me two days to go down there. All this information I’ve been gathering … Agh! Fantasy meets reality.

      Wow. The psyche is a trip. That’s what I’m facing with in middle-age … the collective karma of making decisions based upon fear instead of faith. (Plus I looked at the work … and asked myself … “do I really want to do this??”

      Wish me well ((chuckle))
      How about you?

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