Establishing Roots in Cleveland
The International Services Center took part in an initiative called ReImagining Cleveland. We accepted the challenge to envision our city as more healthy, wealthy and resilient through urban agriculture. The city was willing to support these efforts. The ISC responded by agreeing to take three formerly vacant lots on the west side of Cleveland and transform them into a Market Garden.
Although the grant was awarded in the fall of 2009, work didn’t begin until 2010. Our soil tests came back positive for lead. We soon learned about soil remediation and putting in raised beds in order to grow produce. Our lots in the old Stockyards neighborhood began to be planted with grapes, fruit trees, brambles, herbs, and various vegetables. Flowers were added to encourage native pollinators to visit the garden and help everything grow to its full potential.
Our refugee students were eager to work in the garden. Many had farming backgrounds; others had a love of growing their own food.
The program is now in its second full year. We plan to start some colonies of honeybees to ensure proper pollination for plants. Our students are learning to produce value-added products such as jams. Check our NEWS to find the latest products and information regarding our urban garden.