Ohio City Farm Stand
About the Work
LAND studio collaborated with Ohio City Incorporated and Refugee Response to turn two shipping containers into a retail farm stand and office space for the Ohio City Farm. The farm stand concept was designed by the Arcus Group architects and is being developed by local artists and designers Jason Radcliffe of 44steel and John Arthur of Bauhaus Builders. The containers were a generous donation from Dave Ferrante of Kaplan Trucking. Dave also owns Visible Voice Books in Tremont.
The farm is one of the largest urban agricultural sites in the country. It has been recognized nationally not just for its size but for the unique collaborations that have made it work.
The land is leased from CMHA to OCI, the local community development organization. OCI in turn leased portions of the land to entrepreneurial farmers and organizations such as Refugee Response, an organization dedicated to empowering and transitioning newcomer populations to Cleveland through a variety of programs including Refugee Empowerment Agricultural Program (REAP), which provides education, employment and job training to resettled refugees with an agricultural skill set. Other active farm operations at Ohio City Farm are operated by the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Central Roots. Additionally, an active group of residents, from the neighboring housing complex, the Green Team, tend portions of the farm for their own use.
Produce grown at the Ohio City Farm is distributed to locally owned restaurants with a commitment to locally grown produce, including Great Lakes Brewing Company, the Flying Fig, and Bronte. Upon completion of the Ohio City Farm Stand project in the summer of 2011, residents and visitors are able to purchase fresh local produce at affordable prices. The farm stand also accepts EBT food assistance cards, helping to ensure that all community members have access to healthy food options.
How It Started
The six-acre farm site was once occupied by a collection of three-and four-story public housing units. The buildings were demolished in 1999 by the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) to make way for new housing. Engineering studies, however, determined that the hillside sloping down to the nearby Cuyahoga River was not stable enough to support new buildings. Consequently the land sat vacant and unused for more than a decade.
As community leaders across the city began thinking beyond the benefits of smaller urban gardens to repurposing larger tracts of vacant and underused urban land for agricultural purposes, the site in the Market District became a priority as a demonstration site.