Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone Announced in Cleveland's Kinsman Neighborhood

Several federal, state, and local officials were on hand Wednesday in Cleveland's Kinsman neighborhood to announce the development of an Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone on several acres near East 83rd Street and Kinsman Avenue.  This announcement is the culmination of the work of several different organizations in Cleveland.

The Land Use Working Group of the FPC has discussed the concept of an urban farm incubator for a few years as a way to provide entrepreneurs access to land for food production and minimize infrastructure costs like water access, fencing, and soil remediation. A few members of coalition made a visit to the Intervale in Vermont in the summer of 2008 to learn about a successful incubator model that supports several small farmers.

Burten, Bell, Carr, a community development corporation providing service to Cleveland's Central and Kinsman neighborhoods, worked with Kent State Urban Design Center to develop innovative ideas for several acres of vacant land northeast of Kinsman and East 79th Street and came up with a plan for an urban agriculture innovation zone encompassing 20+ acres.

These two ideas came together and garnered financial support through the USDA's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program that granted over $740,000 to The Ohio State University Extension and an additional $100,000 from the Ohio Department of Agriculture to support infrastructure development at the site.  The City of Cleveland will be providing access to the land and resources to help assess the parcels for agricultural use. 

The Rid-All Green Partnership will be anchoring the innovation zone on the north side with a 1.1 acre site that is being leased from the City of Cleveland to develop a Growing Power Regional Outreach Training Center, that will provide workshops and education in food production to local residents.

To learn more about this project check out a few of the media stories this week in the Plain Dealer, the USDA's website, and on Fox News 8.