Sunday, July 8, 2012

An Ohio Urban Farm (Ohio City Garden)

For the Fourth of July my husband and I ventured north to Cleveland,OH to take in some sights and experience fireworks at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River (which caught on fire in the '70s because of the pollution).  Along with our plans to see the fireworks and attend an Indians' game, we also checked out the Cleveland Museum of Art (Faberge Eggs and imaginative medieval weaponry) and went on a quest to find the urban farm I kept hearing about.

Earth Borrower & Husband at Ohio City Farm (Cleveland, OH)
We found the urban farm my family and friends had described in Ohio City, which is a neighborhood in Cleveland sandwiched just Southeast of Lakewood and just west of Downtown Cleveland.  Ohio City is also the home of the Great Lakes Brewery (Burning River Beer is my husband's fav.) and some fabulous little vintage shops. I'd heard about the farm because of I've been telling people about my love for urban gardening-- particularly with veggies and herbs and because of my desire to one day open an urban gardening store of my own.

The farm didn't seem be open for sales even though it was the middle of a week day, but my husband and I wandered into the area through an open gate and briefly talked with some of the workers just to ask if it was OK if we looked around.   What's so amazing about the farm was the amount of space-- 6 acres-- dedicated to it.

Ohio City Farm (Cleveland, OH) with apartments nearby
From the middle of the farm there were high-rise apartments on one side and the skyscrapers on the eastern horizon.  As well, there seemed to be quite the irrigation system and a fence around the entire perimeter of the growing area-- which had a large, wide-open gate (when we wandered in).

The farm included a large walking strip that bisected the rows of crops: lettuce, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, beets, and then different varieties of Lillies at the end of each row.  I also noticed that there were numerous sections of beds that lay unused, as if something had been pulled up recently or as if the bed were set aside for future use.  One thing that particularly stuck out was the 12 foot poles with strings rigged for a beans.  I was amazed at how tall the poles were and I'm flabbergasted as to why the poles would need to be that tall.  Can bean really grow that tall?  Are they worthwhile fruits if they put so much energy into growing tall rather than just stocky?  I don't know.
Earth Borrower's Husband (6'2") and 12' bean poles

Overall, what sticks with me the most was the feeling of pride.  I wanted to shake every worker's hand and say: "Nice Job!"  I did tell a few of them the it was beautiful and that I was really impressed (which is true).  I had to chuckle at how much I could see their chests swell with pride and I instantly received smiles and nods because they knew that I KNEW how much work a venture like urban farming takes.  I was also filled with pride for Cleveland because of the entrepreneurs willing to put in the time and effort to refuse to let Cleveland become a healthy food desert.  Bravo, Ohio City Farm, Bravo.


  1. Teaching is a real calling - congrats. The Native tree venture you mentioned should be a 'keeper'. Let us know how you are doing?

  2. Thanks Claudia! Things are in the works all-around. Right now, I'm buckling down and reading and learning as much as I can to go into the business with my eyes wide open. It's just a matter of figuring out in which town my husband and I are planning to settle and call our own... then look out! We're kicking around whether to stay in Lancaster or move back toward my roots in Mansfield. ;)