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Cleveland policy to support local food; cooking up a community kitchen; farmer's market makes CSU more vibrant

Marc Lefkowitz  |  02/24/10 @ 10:00am  |  Posted in Local food system

  • Cleveland City Council is considering new policy that would leverage its buying power to promote locally grown food and sustainable businesses. Ordinance No. 1660-A-09 was introduced by Mayor Frank Jackson and Councilmember Joe Cimperman in January to provide bid incentives on city contracts for local businesses, sustainable businesses and businesses that purchase local foods. Read more.
  • The Food Policy Coalition is hiring a general manager, and a farmer for its sustainable farm in Oberlin. Also, the local food group which convened at the 2019 sustainability summit is meeting on March 2 to provide updates on its community kitchen project.
  • The Northeast Ohio Chapter of the USGBC and green consulting firm Sustainable Rhythm posted a new survey to answer some of the communications challenges of green building. They're looking for feedback from the building community including owners, facility managers, real estate firms, architects, engineers, consultants, product companies.
  • The Earth 2U Farmer's Market in its first year added to the vibrancy on the Cleveland State University campus. The market starts up again on May 13. See the new YouTube video.
  • Speaking of YouTube videos of Cleveland, the cool, locally produced video about the popular movement to get a multi-purpose path for biking and walking across the Innerbelt Bridge has been viewed more than 12,000 times.
  • Street food carts in special food zones of the city are a step closer to reality this week as the proposals were due to the City of Cleveland. Cleveland Public Art has $2,500 grants to design the carts, and the city has $5,000 grants for start up costs. We like this and other small entrepreneurial ventures that add vibrancy and activity to the city.
  • The Zero Waste NEO network is discussing an exciting new report on citywide composting. In the thread is news that three downtown Cleveland businesses who participated in last fall's district composting pilot have submitted RFPs to local commercial composters such as Rosby's.
  • An Akron Beacon Journal editorial asks if those complaining about the cost of passenger rail in Ohio will 'play fair' when discussing the opportunity to build the Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati line. Apparently, that answer is 'no'. According to Gongwer news service, Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich was asked on Tuesday about the 3C when he attended the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation's Ag Day at the Capitol. His response: "We ought to take the $400 million and we ought to pave our roads, our highways, which adds to greater productivity in this state, helps you to get things to market. We ought to be in the business of fixing our bridges, our infrastructure," he said.

    Rail advocates All Aboard Ohio respond:

    "Under a law written by Kasich's former Congressional colleagues, Ohio must return any of the unused $400 million to the Federal Railroad Administration which will redistribute it for another state's passenger rail improvements," said Ken Prendergast, executive director of All Aboard Ohio. "Rail is infrastructure and it's been ignored by Ohio policymakers for too long. Our neighboring states didn't win anywhere near as much funding [see below] as Ohio did to create jobs and would love a shot at winning our $400 million in federal rail money."

    The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Smart Growth America, the Center for Neighborhood Technology and others all say stimulus dollars for trains and transit projects create twice as many jobs dollar-for-dollar as stimulus funding for roads and bridges. Train and transit investments also keep America's economic wealth at home by reducing our dependency on foreign oil, including oil from some politically unstable parts of the world.

    Here is how Ohio's neighboring states, which have used state funding for decades to improve their passenger rail services, fared in receiving funds from the $8 billion federal pot of money for higher-speed rail:

    Indiana Requested: $2.8 billion Received: $71.4 million (2.5% of requested) Michigan Requested: $1.8 billion Received: $40 million (2.2% of requested) New York Requested: $11.6 billion Received: $151 million (1.3% of requested) Pennsylvania Requested: $6.65 billion Received: $27 million (0.4% of requested) Ohio received 71 percent of its original $564 million request to pay ALL of the start-up costs of a foundation service for higher-speed passenger rail and for enhanced freight rail infrastructure beginning in late 2012. Ohio will also tap existing federal funds to pay 80 percent of 3C's operating costs for the first three years, leaving just $3 million per year for the Ohio Department of Transportation to cover from its growing LOGO sign program. Also, ODOT is starting planning and design work this year for 90-110 mph trains in 3C plus three other Ohio rail corridors: Cleveland-Pittsburgh; Toledo-Columbus; Toledo-Cleveland. Construction could begin by 2015. All Aboard Ohio is watching to make sure that all elected officials and candidates use accurate information to debate Ohio's proposed 3C "Quick Start" and emerging 3C "higher-speed" passenger rail projects. For more information, contact: Ken Prendergast Executive Director All Aboard Ohio 12029 Clifton Blvd., Suite 505 Cleveland, OH 44107 (216) 288-4883 kenprendergast@allaboardohio.org

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