“Poverty often results in food insecurity (which can take the form of skipped meals, limited portions, or poor-quality foods) and increases vulnerability to both hunger and obesity,”
(Beyers, Brown et al. 2008:98).
In 2009, Cleveland was ranked as the second poorest major city in the U.S., with an overall poverty rate of 35%. For residents living in Central and Kinsman, widespread poverty has produced acute healthy food access challenges. In 2008, a food access assessment revealed that fast food was 4.5 times more accessible than healthy food (supermarkets), and the federal government has gone so far as to classify expansive sections of Burten, Bell, Car Development, Inc.’s service area as a food desert.
Despite the regions commendable efforts to implement healthy food access programs, including community gardens, farmer’s markets, urban farms, and local food procurement programs, the benefits achieved in other parts of Cleveland have not – to date – led to improved health outcomes for Central and Kinsman residents. To BBC, this indicates that access alone is not enough.
In response, BBC has designed engaging programs that promote both access and action. BBC’s social enterprises, Bridgeport Café and Bridgeport Mobile Market have increased access to healthy food for residents of the Central and Kinsman neighborhoods. We complement our work around healthy food access with hands-on cooking classes for residents of all ages at CornUcopia Place, our Healthy Eating and Active Living Ambassador program, which cultivates neighborhood advocates for healthy living, and the creation of the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone, where multiple organizations are spearheading efforts to bring urban land back to productive use. Our goal is to concurrently increase the availability of healthy food in our neighborhood while demonstrating the gradual behavioral changes that will put residents on the road to a healthier lifestyle and our community on the path towards improved health outcomes.
CornUcopia Place is a community facility providing nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, an open multi-purpose space available for private events and functions on a rental basis, and a harvest preparation station for use by local market gardeners. CornUcopia Place is located in Bridgeport Place, 7201 Kinsman Road, Suite 103B, directly next door to Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. To register for a class or for more information, click on this link. To teach a class, contact Sherita Mullins.
Healthy Eating Active Living
The Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) initiative, supported by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, is a networks of partners with a mission to impact the health disparities, rising obesity epidemic and the lack of healthy food options and safe, fun physical activities in the Central and Kinsman Neighborhoods. One mechanism to improve these tipping points is the HEAL Ambassador Program.
A HEAL Ambassador is a resident of the Central or Kinsman neighborhood that believes their neighborhood can be a healthier place. As an Ambassador, you will work alongside the HEAL Network institutions to intervene innovative solutions in to the current food and safe space systems plaguing your community. To become a HEAL Ambassador please contact Sherita Mullins.
Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone
Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. 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. As the facilitator of the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone (UAIZ), 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.
Currently, Rid-All Green Partnership, The Ohio State University, and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District are busy transforming the land in the UAIZ and returning it to productive use:
Rid-All Green Partnership occupies 1.5 acres 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 the organization is in the process of expanding into a second 1.5-acre 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. BBC also supports market gardeners from the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone by providing an area in CornUcopia Place where they can clean, store, and prepare the produce they grow for sale.
Through a successful partnership with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone has become has made significant improvements to the sustainability