Establishing Roots in Cleveland
The International Services Center took part in an initiative called Re-Imagining 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. ISC responded by agreeing to take three formerly vacant lots on the west side of Cleveland and transform them into a Market Garden.
In 2010, after 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 garden has also served as a learning tool to produce value-added products such as jams. There are also plans to start colonies of honeybees to ensure proper pollination for plants.