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Cleveland adds another six-acre urban incubator farm

Marc Lefkowitz  |  10/27/10 @ 12:10pm

(Update: The press conference scheduled for Friday, October 22 has been rescheduled for Wednesday, October 27. Click here for more details) On Friday, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs will be in Cleveland to announce the funding of the Cleveland Urban Agriculture Incubator Pilot Project. The city will get $1.6 million ($940,000 from the state) in grants to develop a farmer program on six-acres of contiguous Land Bank (city owned vacant) property.

Located at Gill and E. 83rd Street, the funds will pay to prepare the land and provide infrastructure (such as water connections) for farming. A half-acre will be used by Ohio State University Extension as a demonstration area for educational purposes. The remaining will be leased in quarter-acre parcels to each of the 20 farmers enrolled in the incubator project.

"The Cleveland Urban Agriculture Incubator Pilot Project embodies Governor Strickland's initiative to bridge food gaps that exist in Ohio's urban areas," Boggs said in a statement. "Today we stand in a vacant lot, but one year from now, we will stand in a garden that will provide fresh, nutritious foods to Cleveland's neighborhoods. This project will not only provide healthy food but will also create jobs and put money back into the local economy."

The site of a former industrial area near Kinsman Avenue commonly referred to as The Forgotten Triangle-the city's largest concentration of vacant land-there's room to expand the farm to 11 acres once it's up and running. With the addition of the Kinsman-area farm to the Ohio City Farm, Cleveland will be the only city in the country to have two six-acre urban farms.

The Urban Agriculture Incubator Pilot Project is cooperatively funded in part by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which will grant $100,000; the city of Cleveland, which will grant $100,000 and will donate the land; and the Ohio State University Extension, which will fund $740,000 through grant money received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (editor's note: This is the first grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for an urban farm through this program, hence, the appearance of the deputy secretary at the announcement ceremony).

The four-phase pilot project will be in full operation by April 2011.

The city will hold a press conference on Friday, 10 a.m. (rain or shine) at the corner of Gill Avenue and East 83rd St. (off of Kinsman Rd.) in Cleveland.

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