Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone
BBC is transforming twenty-eight acres of vacant land in a “forgotten” inner-city neighborhood into one of the largest, most innovative urban agriculture districts in the United States.
Two entities are currently operating in the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone:
- Rid-All Green Partnership, is occupying an acre-and-a-half parcel on Otter Avenue. In 2012, the group of three entrepreneurs with roots in the Kinsman neighborhood harvested more than 14,000 pounds of produce, including corn, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, celery, collard greens, kale, broccoli, and herbs; raised 350 pounds of tilapia; and cultivated 1,200 cubic yards of compost. Rid-All Green Partnership has hired four full-time employees and has trained over 150 people in urban agriculture techniques. Rid-All Green Partnership’s site is completely built out, and it is currently in the process of expanding into a second acre-and-a-half site nearby.
- Ohio State University Extension received a $1.1 million grant from the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program in 2010 to create a six-acre urban farming incubator. Twelve market gardeners each have a quarter-acre plot of land to grow produce that they can sell at farmers markets, to restaurants, or to incorporate into value-added products. More than twenty different varieties of vegetables, fruits, and herbs have been grown in the Kinsman Farm.
A decorative orchard featuring a twenty-foot-high steel sign that demarcates the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone is in process on the corner of Kinsman Road and East 81st Street. The project has been made possible through a grant from the Scotts Miracle Gro Company and the US Conference of Mayors.
Future development, including stormwater diversion and energy creation projects, is also on the horizon for the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone.
As the facilitator of the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone, BBC’s role is to promote the district, attract resources, plan and prepare for future development, assemble privately owned properties, and act as a unified voice for the entities operating within the zone. BBC also supports market gardeners from the Urban Agriculture Innovation by providing an area in CornUcopia Place in which they can clean, store, and prepare the produce they grow for sale.
Produce grown in the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone will occasionally be made available for sale at Bridgeport Cafe, BBC’s restaurant located at Kinsman Road and East 72nd Street.