Latest mentions of the Food Policy Coalition in the media.

When the Broadway Farmers Market in Slavic Village piloted a new program to offer a dollar-for-dollar match to Ohio Direction Card customers who purchase produce, it experienced a 191-percent increase in Direction Card sales in one year.

By offering incentives, the Produce Perks program helps to ensure that fresh, locally grown produce gets into low-income households where it's needed most. Many city residents do not have a grocery store with fresh produce within walking distance of their home. The program offers a dollar-for-dollar match up to $10.

This summer, the Produce Perks program is being expanded to 17 local farmers markets throughout Cuyahoga County. The program has been successful at helping lower-income residents to overcome obstacles that inhibit them from shopping at farmers markets and boosting their produce purchasing power, organizers say.

"We know that there are more people using local food assistance programs due to the economy, so how do we get them to local farmers markets?" says Erika Meschkat, Program Coordinator with the Ohio State University Extension. "This is about improving public health, boosting local food production and creating economic development opportunities at neighborhood farmers markets."

Meschkat says that the Produce Perks program helps farmers markets to profit from an untapped market. While many suburban market managers are shocked to realize that they have customers on food assistance, too, it benefits them as well.

The program is part of a regional push to address healthy food gaps by helping low-income residents to take advantage of farmers markets. Produce Perks is coordinated by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition with the support of several area foundations and Wholesome Wave, a national nonprofit organization focused on access to healthy, affordable foods in poor communities.

Source: Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition
Writer: Lee Chilcote


The Beachwood Planning and Zoning Commission referred to City Council two ordinances dealing with four-legged friends at Thursday's meeting.

One ordinance would allow residents to keep two goats or one sheep at homes on at least 1.1 acres of property. 

A Beachwood resident, who asked Beachwood Patch not to publish her name, asked City Council to allow goats in the city.

She said she would raise the goat for milk and to educate her children. She raises chickens, which are already allowed under the zoning code, for eggs and, occasionally, for slaughter.

The Commission has proposed that the code allow two goats because they had been told the animals are quieter in pairs. 

According to another city official who owns a farm, "One goat is constantly making noise because it's looking for a friend," said Commission Chairwoman Rochelle Hecht.

The code would not allow roosters. It would require that residents who want to raise goats notify neighbors within 500 feet of their home and that the commission hold a hearing for those neighbors.

The Commission recommended the ordinance to City Council in a 5-0 vote. Commissioners Bill Mann and Bryan Zabell were absent.


In April 2011, Cleveland City Council passed a law to ban restaurants from using cooking oils containing trans fats as part of the Healthy Cleveland initiative.  In June 2011, the Ohio Senate amended the state budget to ban municipalities from regulating the ingredients eateries could use to prepare foods. On January 3, 2012 Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson filed a complaint against the Ohio legislature in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court stating that the state's budget amendment infringed on Cleveland's home rule rights.

Dr. Parwinder Grewal, faculty member at The Ohio State University and based at Ohio Agricultural Research Development Center in Wooster, OH recently published an article in the journal Cities, 'Can Cities Become Self-Reliant in Food?' that explores the possibility of Cleveland producing 100% of its fresh produce, honey, and poultry and egg needs using vacant and underutilized land in the city of Cleveland.  WIRED provides a summary of the research and includes comments from Dr. Grewal and Kim Scott, Cleveland City Planning Commission.

This recent article from the American Bar Association Journal highlights the challenges of developing land-use regulations and updating ordinances that recognize agriculture as a land use activity in urban communities.  The efforts of several cities, including Cleveland, are highlighted.

Several members of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition and Summit County Food Policy Coalition attended the Community Food Security Coalition Conference, Food Policy: From Neighborhood to Nation in Portland in May 2011.  Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman was part of a plenary discussion with three other public officials:

In the plenary, Councilman Cimperman spoke about all of the amazing community projects, businesses, and policy innovations related to local food in Cleveland and the important role of social justice in informing changes to the food system.  This article by Hannah Wallace for Civil Eats and The Faster Times continues the conversation that Councilman Cimperman started in Portland.

Cleveland was chosen as the host city for the Project for Public Spaces Public Markets Conference in 2012. The West Side Market is poised to celebrate their centennial the same year and the conference will be a great opportunity for Cleveland and the region to highlight all of the tremendous work and innovation in local food and urban agriculture. 

The City of Cleveland and the region's four major hospital systems, Metro Health Hospital, Saint Vincent's Charity Hospital, University Hospitals, and Cleveland Clinic have proposed a comprehensive health agenda for the city that includes improving access to healthy food, increasing physical activity, developing a comprehensive smoking cessation strategy, and improving support for residents with mood and behavioral disorders.

Michael Shuman, Economist with Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), has led a nine month study and assessment of the Northeast Ohio local food system in partnership with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition, ParkWorks, Kent State University Urban Design Center, and Neighborhood Progress Inc with support from the Cleveland Foundation.  His study looks at the economic impact of a 25% localization strategy and provides a blueprint for how Northeast Ohio can make progress towards this goal.

Dim and Den Sum is one of the hottest food businesses on four wheels, delivering fresh, local, prepared food in different locations throughout Greater Cleveland in their food truck. This article explores the policy barriers food trucks have encountered in obtaining permits and ideas from City of Cleveland's Department of Economic Development on how to improve the process for this new group of entrepreneurs.