ReImagining Cleveland

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Supported by a strong, citywide, public non-profit partnership, and a broad base of residents, Re-Imagining Cleveland is a vacant land reuse initiative that creates sustainable solutions to vacancy while building a movement of solidarity and stewardship.

Re-Imagining Cleveland views vacant land as a raw asset. The alternative land use strategies employed in this initiative return vacant land to productive use in ways that complement the City of Cleveland’s long-term development objectives and empower residents to reclaim their neighborhoods, become ambassadors for their communities, and start regaining a sense of pride and value.

Re-Imagining Cleveland’s innovative land reuse projects include vineyards, orchards, market gardens, pocket parks, and stream bed reconstruction projects within the City of Cleveland. The initiative also enables Cleveland residents to acquire vacant lots adjacent to their homes, helping to stabilize property values and making our streets safer, more enjoyable places to call home.

In 2012, Re-Imagining Cleveland was recognized for its collaborative effort and non-traditional approach to greening Cleveland’s neighborhoods with a National Planning Excellence Award for Innovation in Sustaining Places from the American Planning Association.

Please note: At this time, we are not accepting applications for Re-Imagining Cleveland grants.

Re-Imagining 3.0 Press Release – June 30, 2014 [Click Here]

For more information, contact 216.830.2770.


RESOURCES

VACANT LAND STUDY – 2008
ReImagining - 2008 Vacant Land Study
PATTERN BOOK – 2009
ReImagining - 2009 Pattern Book

PROGRAM SUMMARY – 2010

ReImagining - 2010 Program Summary

IDEAS TO ACTION RESOURCE BOOK – 2011
ReImagining - 2011 Ideas to Action Resource Book
FIELD MANUAL FOR VACANT LAND REUSE PROJECTS
ReImagining - 2011 Ideas to Action Resource Book

PARTNERS

  • City of Cleveland
  • LAND Studio
  • Ohio State University’s Cuyahoga County Agricultural Extension Service
  • Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
  • U.S. EPA Region Five
  • Ohio EPA
  • Cleveland State University, History Department
  • Cleveland State University, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

FUNDERS

  • City of Cleveland, Department of Community Development
  • The Surdna Foundation
  • Wells Fargo via The U.S. Department of Justice
  • The Nord Family Foundation
  • Cuyahoga Land Bank

Below are a selected list of the 156 Re-Imagining Cleveland vacant land reuse projects throughout the city of Cleveland.

For Images of All Projects, visit our Flickr Image Archive.
For a Map of All Projects, visit our interactive Re-Imagining Cleveland Project Finder.
Re-Imagining 3.0 Press Release – June 30, 2014 [Click Here]

Pocket Parks

Hillside Community Park
EcoVillage Madison Avenue RTA Gateway
Mount Pleasant Loop – First Passive Park
UMADAOP Pocket Park
Broadway Harvard Gateway Park
Hough Community Peace Gardens

Ideas to Action Resources Book, 2011 – Pocket Parks, pp. 24-25 [PDF]

Community Gardens

Blaine Avenue Urban Agriculture Education Garden
Helping Stone Legacy Garden
Hope Community Garden
African Village Community Garden
1942-1946 West 47th Street Garden
Watterson-Lake Learning Garden

Ideas to Action Resource Book, 2011 – Community Gardens, pp. 16-17 [PDF]

Market Gardens

Old Husher’s Farm
Garden Boyz
Central Roots Farm
Ecovillage Produce Market Garden

Ideas to Action Resource Book, 2011 – Market Gardens, pp. 14-15 [PDF]

Neighborhood Pathways

Lucia Greens Pathway Park
West 12th Street Neighborhood Pathway
The Nature Nook Forest Trail

Ideas to Action Resources Book, 2011 – Neighborhood Pathways, pp. 22-23 [PDF]

Orchards + Vineyards

Gennesareth II East 61st Street and Quincy Avenue Orchard
Brooklyn Centre Community Orchard
The Vineyards of Chateau Hough

Ideas to Action Resource Book, 2011 – Orchards, pp. 12-13 [PDF] Ideas to Action Resource Book, 2011 – Vineyards, pp. 10-11 [PDF]

Street Edge Improvements / Sideyard Expansions

Circle North Street-edge/Sideyard Projects
Walton Side Yard Project  
Barber-Vega-Queen Lot Stabilization Project

Ideas to Action Resource Book, 2011 – Sideyard Expansion, pp. 18-19 [PDF]

Native Plantings + Rain Gardens

Slavic Village Morgana Run Trail “Savannah” Project (Page not currently available)
Milligan Avenue Riparian Zone Enhancement Project
West 131st Street Stormwater Management Demonstration Project

Ideas to Action Resource Book, 2011 – Native Planting, pp. 26-27 [PDF]
Ideas to Action Resource Book, 2011 – Rain Gardens, pp. 28-29 [PDF]

A cross section of grant recipients have documented their project, from conception through completion, in coordination with the Department of History and the Center for Public History and Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University. The majority of interviews listed below were conducted and processed by students under the supervision of Dr. Mark Tebeau and Dr. Mark Souther as a component of Local and Urban History courses at CSU.


Robin Kanscack Interview, 09 April 2010 (ID #AGR009)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700002.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
Download Audio File (54.6MB)
| Download Minute-by-Minute Log (PDF)
Robin Kanscak of the ASIA community garden project discusses the community garden as a model to revitalize the neighborhood. This interview discusses the plans of both the garden group and of Asiatown.

Mansfield Frazier Interview, 07 April 2010 (ID #AGR048)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700003.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
Download Audio File (31.7MB)
| Download Minute-by-Minute Log (PDF)
Mansfield Frazier talks about his project in the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland, OH. He is a native of Cleveland, and currently resides in the Hough neighborhood. He talks about his past, and what led him to start this project. He also talks about his thoughts about Cleveland as it is now, issues regarding race, and trying to change common misperceptions about the Hough neighborhood. The main goal of the project is to try to create jobs for people in the area, do something that will help the environment, and try to get more people to rethink their ideas about what the Hough neighborhood is really like. Also discussed is the overall plan and goals of the project.

Curtis Banks Interview, 12 April 2010 (ID #GRN074)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700004.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
Download Audio File (65.7MB)
| Download Minute-by-Minute Log (PDF)
Mr. Curtis Banks discusses his past and future for Kosciuszko Avenue in Cleveland Ohio. He explains what his plans are for his site and how he came to Cleveland. He discusses how and why his father came to Cleveland in the first place and what the living conditions were when he arrived. He also explains how the history and culture of the area has changed through the years and what he intends to do to make it a better place to live in the future.

David Reuse Interview, 14 April 2010 (ID #AGR051)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700006.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
Download Audio File (34.9MB)
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Mr. David Reuse, the coordinator of the project of the West 58th Street Community Gateway Garden, describes his involvement with the project in the interview.

Jim Edwards Interview, 14 April 2010 (ID #AGR027)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700007.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
Download Audio File (46.7MB)
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Jim Edwards of Hope Community Garden describes his involvement in community outreach programs and his Whirlwind involvement with the Hope Community and Market Garden. He shares his experience and his own hopes for the future of the site and surrounding community.

Marlane Weslian Interview, 19 April 2010 (ID #GRN083/053/071)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700008.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
Download Audio File (57.3MB)
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Marlane Weslian is the project coordinator and grant writer for the development taking place along East 71st in Slavic Village. She has lived in Slavic Village since 1971.

Charles Blubaugh Interview, 19 April 2010 (ID #N/A)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700009.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
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Charles Blubaugh of League Park Foods describes his life, including where he was born and how he came to the Superior & St. Clair community where he now resides. His wife, who is also present during the interview, gives her biographical information as well. Charles Blubaugh then describes his reasons for getting the grant to construct the vineyards. He also describes why he choose this plot of land in the Hough neighborhood. He then goes on to describe his hopes and goals for the vineyards.

Brenda Taylor Rosario Interview, 14 April 2010 (ID #AGR046)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700010.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
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Reverend Brenda Taylor Rosario talks about her childhood growing up in the Central Neighborhood, and her family connections with the community. Rosario has worked with the city of Cleveland in cleaning up the neighborhood since the 1970s, and now is heading the community orchard being built on East61st and Quincy Avenue.

William Merriman Interview, 21 April 2010 (ID #AGR026)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700014.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
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William Merriman is the Deacon at St. Patrick’s Church on Bridge Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. He talks about his upbringing and what brought him to Cleveland. He also discusses his involvement in neighborhood development.

Melissa Miller Interview, 21 April 2010 (ID #N/A)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700015.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
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Melissa Miller of the Bellaire Puritas Development Corporation discusses the commitment to solving problems of storm water overflow from the Big Creek Tributary, beginning with a storm water management project on Milligan Avenue in the Bellaire Puritas neighborhood. This interview gives background information on the Neighborhood, the Big Creek, and the Re-Imagining Cleveland project.

Janet Cummings Interview, 03 May 2010 (ID #AGR011)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700022.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
Download Audio File (41.2MB)
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Janet Cummings of the Helping Stone Garden discusses her involvement in that project. Janet Came to Cleveland in the 1970’s and has been here ever since. Cummings shares her insight on how the Garden works, and well as the future plans for the Garden and the community. Janet also speaks about the children of the neighborhood and their importance to the success of the project.

Clifford Johnson Interview, 14 April 2010 (ID #GRN087)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700011.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
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Clifford Johnson, Jr. manages an apartment building on East 139th Street where he and his partner (Mr. Kidd) hopes to install a garden. Clifford has lived in the neighborhood foe seven years. The neighborhood is occupied by drug dealers and the community has a “turn your head the other way” mentality. He is hoping the installation of a garden will have a snowball effect in the community and will make other people follow suit.

Mansfield Frazier Interview, 21 April 2010 (ID #AGR048)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700012.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
Download Audio File (183MB)
| Download Minute-by-Minute Log (PDF)
Mansfield Frazier discusses starting a vineyard in the Hough neighborhood with the hopes of one day opening a winery. He talks about the difficulties in dealing with antiquated city ordinances and laws that prevent certain aspects of the gardens to move forward. Mansfield also discusses his hopes that urban farming will expand in the city and the nation. He also talks briefly about the task of acquiring enough grapes for his anticipated winery.

Joe Lesko Interview, 21 April 2010 (ID #N/A)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700013.mp3 ]

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Joe Lesko grew up in Cleveland. He lived in the Collinwood area most of his life. He taught at Collinwood High School and recounts the changes in the school and neighborhood during his tenure there. He retired in 1979 and moved out of the community. Joe talks about the racial tensions felt at Collinwood High School and how the National Guard was called in to deal with it in 1968. He fondly remembers some of the students he taught and his own high school basketball coach who mentored him and encouraged him to go to college.

Fay Harris Interview, 26 April 2010 (ID #AGR014)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700016.mp3 ]

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Fay Harris moved to Cleveland from Pennsylvania to work as a Chemist. Fay sits on the board of the Near West Side Development Corporation. She is working on planting a community garden in her neighborhood as a way of engaging the community and bringing them together.

Richard Schaffer Interview, 27 April 2010 (ID #GRN086)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700017.mp3 ]

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Richard Schaffer works with the Glenville Development Corporation and is working on creating a garden pathway in the Glenville neighborhood as a way to green and beautify the area. The community has been receptive and involved due to the open forum approach to creating the garden. Richard Schaffer also discusses the Hough and Glenville riots along with the renovation of Notre Dame Catholic School on Ansel Rd. in Glenville.

Christina Keegan Interview, 28 April 2010 (ID #GRN053)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700018.mp3 ]

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Christina Keegan grew up in Illinois but moved to Cleveland to attend Cleveland State University’s Urban Studies program. She is working to establish a phytoremediation garden in the Tremont neighborhood with the hopes that the garden will encourage a sense of community among neighbors while removing lead contamination from the soil. She discusses the Cleveland Toe Path Trail and it’s possible impact on the garden and the city.

Sarah Sampsell Interview, 03 May 2010 (ID #AGR042)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700019.mp3 ]

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Sarah Sampsell is working with two other Baldwin Wallace graduates on the Central Roots Garden in Ohio City. The garden is intended to provide a source of fresh produce for the surrounding community. The people living in the neighborhood have been very supportive and have volunteered to work in the garden, often on the spot. Sarah hopes the efforts with the garden and the other projects will be a source of pride for Clevelanders and convince them to stay in the city.

Todd Alexander Interview, 03 May 2010 (ID #AGR042)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700020.mp3 ]

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Todd Alexander recently moved to Cleveland in the Ohio City neighborhood. He is working on establishing a market garden called Central Roots in Ohio City with the hopes of providing fresh produce for the local neighborhood. Todd Alexander majored in sustainability at Baldwin Wallace and has been active in other sustainability programs with the city of Cleveland. Todd discusses the phenomenon of “food deserts” and the hope that Central Roots will become an asset to the neighborhood.

Herb Arron Interview, 05 May 2010 (ID #AGR002/093)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700023.mp3 ]

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Herb Arron works with the Africa Community Village Garden. He discusses the importance of having a garden and green space in communities to provide a local access to nature. The garden is a vegetable garden and the produce is distributed to the community and he hopes that any excess could be sold at farmer’s markets around town. Herb also discusses the hopes of partnering with one of the local schools to allow the students to have a hands on experience with gardening. He also mentions that the garden has recently been re-named the Edwin West Garden in honor of one of the member’s who passed away suddenly.

Michelle deBock Interview, 25 May 2010 (ID #AGR025)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700025.mp3 ]

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Michelle deBock is a Special Education teacher at Waterlake Elementary School in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. She grew up in Independence but currently lives in the Detroit Shoreway area. Michelle discusses her hopes for utilizing the garden as part of her, and other teacher’s, curriculum for the students of Waterlake. She describes how the Detroit Shoreway area has recently been revitalized by the community.

Darren & Johanna Hamm Interview, 26 May 2010 (ID #AGR051)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700026.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
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Johanna and Darren Hamm both grew up in the suburbs and moved to Brooklyn Center after they were married. They are very involved in their neighborhood and wrote the grant for Re-Imagining Cleveland to install an orchard on a vacant lot owned by the railroad. The orchard is intended to provide fresh fruit to the community at no charge.

Robert Hill Interview, 02 June 2010 (ID #PHY060)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700027.mp3 ]

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Robert Hill is the president of the West Park Community Coalition. The project, Bellaire Garden Landscaping Project, was given a grant by Re-Imagining Cleveland but due to personal issues that arose and the lack of volunteers to take up the project, Robert returned the grant. Robert hopes to apply for another Re-Imagining grant in the future but intends to do enough work before hand so the same problem does not arise. The project was originally designed to beautify the street of Bellaire and possibly be used as an educational tool for the local children.

Justin Husher Interview, 02 June 2010 (ID #AGR032)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700028.mp3 ]

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Fed up with the business world, Justin Husher discusses his departure from his career path and into a career of farming. His involvement with the process from beginning to end is discussed ans well as his utilization of technology to market himself like twitter, facebook, and web blogs. Husher also discusses his use of refuse in his farming. His major complaint throughout this project involves Reimagining Cleveland’s red tape.

Jay Gardner Interview, 17 June 2010 (ID #GRN094/024)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700031.mp3 ]

audio and description | link to full item record (OhioLink)
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Mr. Gardner discusses his lengthy involvement with non profit organizations and community projects. His current involvement with the Quebec Serenity Gardens and a connector pathway within the Fairfax neighborhood are discusses against the backdrop of the Reimagining Cleveland Grant. The steps involved in applying for the grants, designing a worthy project as well as some of the problems involved are discussed.

Rev. Charles Cotton Interview, 06 July 2010 (ID #GRN005)

[audio: http://www.npi-cle.org/wp-content/interviewfiles/700035.mp3 ]

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Rev. Charles Cotton and Jacquelin Jacobs work with the Community Education Enhancement Center. The group was funded for to garden and lots with a third tied up in probate. Jacquelin, the designer of the gardens, is the primary speaker in the interview and discusses her vision for the lots. The lots were chosen specifically for their attributes and proximity to the Canaan Missionary Church. The lots are a tool to educate the next generation and to beautify the neighborhood. Both Rev. Cotton and Jacquelin agree that if in five years someone wants to build a house on the property they will gladly move to another lot because they want to do what is best for the city, and what is best for the city.

2014

How A Winery is Transforming Cleveland’s Most Notorious Neighborhood
GOOD Magazine – February 12, 2015

Recently completed footbridge townhomes bring new life to hidden valley in Tremont
Freshwater Cleveland – October 21, 2014

Re-Imagining CLE tour highlights benefits of citywide grant program
Freshwater Cleveland – July 28, 2014

Re-Imagining Cleveland grant program to move into fifth year
Northeast Ohio Media Group – July 21, 2014

Midwest Revival
Reframe Magazine – June 12, 2014

2012

Urban Farm Manifesto uncovers hard but fruitful nuggets
Green City Blue Lake Blog – March 19, 2012

The Urban Garden as Crime Fighter
Next City – August 22, 2012

2011

ReImagine Cleveland projects: Connect the dots
Green City Blue Lake Blog – April 13, 2011

ReImagining Cleveland seeks to reclaim vacant lots in the city
Examiner.com – February 24, 2011

Let’s turn areas of blight into positive places of light
Dayton Daily News – July 18, 2011

2010

Revisiting the Vineyards of Chateau Hough
Neighborhood Voice – November 22, 2010

Project leader Peter McDermott talks about Urban Growth Farm’s role in the neighborhood and region
NEOFoodWeb YouTube Channel – November 9, 2010

Greening Vacant Land
Shelterforce – Fall 2010

The Front Lines of the Blight Fight
Next City – October 19, 2010

ReImagine plans to recommend ‘catalytic’ vacant land projects
Green City Blue Lake Blog – August 30, 2010

Re-imagining Cleveland: Vacant lots get new life
Channel 3 WKYC – June 6, 2010

Cleveland: Inner city vineyard now a reality
Channel 3 WKYC – June 1, 2010

From vacant to vibrant – re-imagining Cleveland
City Farmer News – May 10, 2010

ReImagine a more sustainable Greater Cleveland plan begins to take shape
Green City Blue Lake Blog – May 3, 2010

58 ‘green infrastructure’ projects move Cleveland’s ReImagine study into reality
Green City Blue Lake Blog – April 22, 2010

Cleveland’s Comeback: Reimagining the City from the Ground Up
CCC Food Policy Coalition – March 20, 2010

What makes Cleveland a Next American City?
Green City Blue Lake Blog – March 18, 2010

Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland
Green City Blue Lake Blog – March 8, 2010

2009

A New Vision for Vacant Land in Cleveland
Next City – October 30, 2009

Cleveland’s for-profit urban gardens are growing
Plain Dealer / Cleveland.com – July 6, 2009

Audacious … or Realistic?
PlannersWeb – April 2009

Activating Vacant Land Featured Precedent – Brooklyn Centre Community Orchard
Grounds for Change – 2009

Activating Vacant Land Featured Precedent – Old Husher’s Farm
Grounds for Change – 2009

Activating Vacant Land Featured Precedent – Garden Boyz Market Garden
Grounds for Change – 2009

Activating Vacant Land Featured Precedent – The Vineyards of Chateau Hough
Grounds for Change – 2009

Re-Imagining Documents and Publications

VACANT LAND STUDY – 2008
ReImagining - 2008 Vacant Land Study
PATTERN BOOK – 2009
ReImagining - 2009 Pattern Book

PROGRAM SUMMARY – 2010

ReImagining - 2010 Program Summary

IDEAS TO ACTION RESOURCE BOOK – 2011
ReImagining - 2011 Ideas to Action Resource Book
FIELD MANUAL FOR VACANT LAND REUSE PROJECTS
ReImagining - 2011 Ideas to Action Resource Book

Other Relevant Documents and Publications

American Planning Association – Urban Agricutlure Report
US EPA – Brownfields and Urban Agriculture: Interim Guidelines for Safe Gardening Practices

US EPA – Urban Farm Business Plan Handbook

Local Resources

City Fresh CSA Program
City of Cleveland – Office of Sustainability

Cleveland Urban Agriculture Policies
City of Cleveland – Urban Agriculture in Residential Districts Zoning Code Update
City of Cleveland – Zoning Summary for Agriculture and Green Space
Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition – Farmer’s Market “How-to” Guide

Country Side Conservancy

EcoWatch Ohio – Environmental Resource Links

Greater Cleveland Beekeepers Association

GreenCityBlueLake Institute

Nature Center at Shaker Lakes

Nature Conservancy of Ohio

New Agrarian Center

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District – Storm Water Management Program
Ohio Department of Agriculture – Cottage Food Production FAQ and Labeling
Ohio Department of Agriculture – Cottage Food Rules

Ohio Department of Agriculture- Farmer’s Market Regulations

Ohio State University Extension

LAND studio

National Resources

ATTRA NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project
Shared Earth-The Largest Community Garden in the World!

The Trust for Public Land

University of Massachusettes Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory

Online Resources & Tutorials

Building a rain garden
Canning

Drying

Erie Fresh (Full Version): A Proposal to Sandusky City Commission – Part 1

Erie Fresh (Full Version): A Proposal to Sandusky City Commission – Part 2

Freezing

How to build raised beds

How to divide ornamental grasses

How to properly collect soil samples

Laying a gravel path

Local Harvest.org – Search to find Farmer’s Markets and Organic Produce near you!
Mulching perennials

National Center for Home Food Preservation

Planting a tree properly

Purdue University – Collecting Soil Samples for Testing

Urban Farm Online

USDA National Agriculture Library Food Storage and Preservation

Project Partners

Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities

GreenCityBlueLake Institute

LEAF Lakewood Earth and Food Community

Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

Ohio State University Extension
LAND studio