Cleveland to get gardens

Submitted by Susan Miller on Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:56.

Well, it was a long time coming, but finally I recieved a list of the grantees for reimagining Cleveland. The press release dated November 17 was not posted at the time or the city's website is too convoluted to allow finding it, but here it is: City Anounces 58 ReImagining Cleveland Grant Program Recipients.

When Marc Lefkowitz posted this at GCBL.ORG, I asked him for the list. "Well, there is no official release yet", he said. Now there is. The excel data sheet is  attached with the funding amounts and locations and I have been able to map a few of them . 

Also of note regarding updating web info - is it coincidence that after someone pointed out that Cleveland Metroparks online board meeting minutes were antique, 6 months of them were rapidly posted to their website? I do wonder sometimes when our regional government entities will use the internet in a timely fashion. But that is an aside.

So happy holidays, Cleveland - stuff is about to be growing in our midst. Better than a speeding medcon, faster than a huge outlay of infrastructure on the lakefront... 58 small initiatives by locals. Maybe there is one in your neighborhood. Maybe, come spring, you can begin to report on one or two. I hope to get out to some of these locations for before pictures.

2 orchards, 3 vineyards, 12 market gardens, 13 community gardens, 2 stormwater projects, 2 phytoremediation projects, parking lot projects, native plantings, pocket parks and sideyard expansions... Wohoo! Let's hope this turns out to be a good investment of this $500,000 in State of Ohio Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds. Cleveland could look a lot greener if it works.

Meanwhile, from Maurice Small - news from Sandusky:


Copy_of_ReImagining_Cleveland_Awardees_for_public_review-1.xls177.5 KB
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I didn't see anything for

I didn't see anything for Ward 14, unless Brooklyn Centre is now considered part of Ward 14.  But, for all practical purposes Brooklyn Centre is really just the outskirts of Ward 15, I think.  I didn't see the garden to cover the concrete at Lincoln High School that lmcshane had suggested.  I didn't see any plans for the Boys and Girls Club on Trowbridge.  I didn't see any plans for a new community center at the recently closed St. Procop's Catholic Church.  What will the area between Denison and Clark receive as a result of the Reimaging Cleveland Grant Program?  Is there anyone that lives in this area that knows how to write a grant proposal?  Just curious. 

Winter in Ward 14 can be very depressing with fighting the cold and the ice and the snow and trying to get out of the side streets that are rarely plowed and salted.  We get more fees but no more service.  It is a take but not give philosophy.  Now it costs more to get less.  I think reducing the safety forces is really the straw that broke this camel's back.  Maybe we need a Ward 14 survey to see how many residents of Ward 14 are happy with the services in this area.  I think it would be interesting to see the results.  Maybe our new councilman would like to know what the people in his ward need.  I am looking forward to the new leadership and hoping to see this area revitalized. 

Horse manure


Brooklyn Centre folks did apply--God love them...but evidently didn't win the "Reimagining" lottery.  The folks who applied were told that beautiful city-owned spaces in the eastern portion of the neighborhood--historically the site of nursery operations--and now in Joe Cimperman's ward--DON'T qualify for the program.  Why is that you may ask?  Because, the area is slated for their idea of redevelopment?? 

Here are some photos of that area--there is a city park in this part of the neighborhood.  I have mentioned it many times--W.C. Reed Field.  It also has me wondering if the Gather Round folks applied?  Did they?  I do know that a friend who has gardened for decades on Cedar had his garden plots destroyed by the City of Cleveland.  So, much for the "Reimagining."

I think that even the GCBL folks realize that this whole "Reimagining" effort is, pardon my french, HORSE POOP.  I would like to remain optimistic, Susan, but if folks want to garden they will just have to do it for themselves and forget NSP handouts (of your money) from the City of Cleveland or foundations.  It's all a ruse.

disparaging horse manure

Please don't disparage horse manure. I couldn't resist ;), Laura. Horse manure makes my garden grow splendiferously.

I remember when Norm first brought Marc Canter here and we met with him at the Euclid Tavern to talk about ways to turn Cleveland's and Cuyahoga County's economy around. He said, "You're gonna change this by shovelling shit!?!" Now he's here and walking to the Shaker Square Farmer's market to purchase locally grown food. He's met with Brad Masi and other gardeners and farmers. He's not so incredulous at the idea of urban gardens now.

Why should conservationists have a positive interest in... farming? There are lots of reasons, but the plainest is: Conservationists eat. To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd. Urban conservationists may feel entitled to be unconcerned about food production because they are not farmers. But they can't be let off so easily, for they are farming by proxy. They can eat only if land is farmed on their behalf by somebody somewhere in some fashion. If conservationists will attempt to resume some responsibility for their need to eat, they will be led back fairly directly to all their previous concerns for the welfare of nature. ("Conservationists and Agrarian," 2002) Wendell Berry

I think Marc is finally getting the farming by proxy idea now. He's begun to understand the power of horse manure.

Corrupt commissioners, politicians and CDC heads of state doing the stupidest things! Aaaarrrgh! Preservationists asleep at the wheel! Aaaarrrrgh! This past spring, summer and fall I took out my frustration with a shovel, a hoe and a rake. I recommend it. It gave back so much more than grousing alone had. And I ate much of it - gave the rest away.

how much coal to heat a greenhouse?

Gardens under glass - it's a lovely concept and a necessary one, but the problem is heat. There is innovation and new thoughts are being tried out, but a huge barnklike structure with single pane glass covering most of its surface is simply not sustainable. Do it at the Galleria? OK, but I don't want to see that energy bill - I think the stick it out vendors there are already feeling the pinch to keep the store at a comfortable temperature. A storekeeper and a customer can put on a sweater, but a tomoato seedling cannot.

So more thought has to be applied to resurrecting the former greenhouse capital of America. In the ninteenth century heating these places with coal was not seen as an issue. Now it is. Brad Masi managed to get funds to heat the greenhouse on the George Jones Farm with waste oil.

Bon Appétit has recently invested $6200 toward a greenhouse and waste oil furnace at George Jones Memorial Farm — a waste oil furnace uses used oils to generate heat. The items will further a project that combines a number of eco-friendly farming operations including vermocomposting, a process by which earth worms turn kitchen waste into high quality compost matter, and waste recycling.

The greenhouse, which was completed in March, will be used to grow seedlings as well as greens and other produce year-round.

The greenhouse and waste oil furnace help to increase the interdependence between CDS and George Jones Farm in a number of ways.

“We are working on a plan to collect grease from Stevenson, where it will be burned in the furnace and it will function as a fuel source for the greenhouse to generate heat,” said Masi.

Both parties said that this investment towards a project that in total will cost $9200 is a way of securing future transactions between Bon Appétit and Jones Farm, thus promoting the message Bon Appétit wants to get across.

Masi is also working on strawbale greenhouse construction.

An acquaintance in New Hampshire has built a solar greenhouse... Masi has read his book and has a copy in the NAC library for further research. There are possibilities, but they need time for the pilots to be seen for the worth they provide. And we need to direct the eyes of those with the wherewithal to them.

It's still cultivation time in Cleveland. Soil needs improvement, the right stuff growing for the right bit of nature growing is still needs to be discovered, but we're at least in the wagon and the horses (manure and all) are hitched and ready to go.

it's a big land mass to spread a small sum of money

Well, it's a big land mass to spread a small sum of money. Compare this to the inumerable sums we give to wealthy developers and consider it in relation to what we give MMPI, for example. Is this what Jeff Buster refers to as bailing with a teacup? Yes. I suppose it is. But, IMHO, it is better than simply letting the ship sink without any effort on the part of individuals and small nonprofit agencies (and I say that even as I have very suspect views of the nonprofit sector). Little steps can make a long journey happen. Just ask Joan Southgate. Reimagine Cleveland with $11,000 a day spent not on MMPI, but instead for health and infrastructure and environmental cleanup - basic city services.

I was eager to get the list because some people I knew had applied. They weren't awarded either. But neither were "my friends and neighbors" in the first round of grants I smoke to supply (Cuyahoga Arts and Culture). Later some of them were and some still are not.

I think that the liklihood that Cleveland would turn around and put money slated for our precious medical mart and give it to gardeners, street clean-up and snowplowing is a stretch. Do I wish it would happen, had happened? Yes. But I am cynical and wisened to the ways our money flows to the wealthy. So I am glad to see this drop in the ocean - this small cadre of white blood cells rushing to the infection. I am not holding my breath for the county to pour millions into city gardens and orchards and vineyards. Norm's proposal to the county calls for a much more substantial amount of funding. When that is awarded, the number of garden projects would be substantially greater - 20 times greater. Yes, economists like Norm can easily crunch the numbers and project the opportunity costs of such boondoggles as medcons or port moves or giving vast tax breaks to the wealthy. We are skilled with the what ifs. But this, though it is tiny in comparison to what is needed, is at least a foot in the door. If this works, Joe Stanley and Norm might have a fighting chance. And farmers/gardeners who are already engaged in urban growing might be seen with clearer vision for the benefit they provide to communities.

In the meantime, in South Euclid, a house was demolished on my friend's street last summer. Now that lot will offer a community garden to residents on the street. They have recieved funds and help from the city including water and garden infrastructure help on Colony (between Warrensville and Miramar) and that is not the garden that got the press - that one is on Warrendale. These efforts will be small to begin, but like Brad Masi and Maurice Small have repeated continually, small is a good way to begin. And I would add, slow and steady is a way to proceed.

And, as I continue to point out about downspout disconnects, it is not going to solve our stormwater problems if 10 people disconnect their roof drains, but if everyone did it would keep a lot of stormwater out of the pipes.

As the woman in the Sandusky video says, "for those of us who plan to stick it out..." I am happy to see that there are more and more likeminded gardeners in our midst and I feel certain that there were many more applications that were not funded. Will they find other means? Maybe. 200 community gardens already in our midst, now more beginning.

Ward 14 did get two grants.

Naturehood International Village Native Plant Nursery

3116 W. 48th St. and

View Larger Map

3115 W. 50th St.

View Larger Map $10,000


The VegTable Neighborhood Market Garden

3707 Walton Ave.

View Larger Map  $6,500

Ward 14 did not get a bailout with this tiny sum, but it got something. Did we get everything we wanted? No. But we got something.

Thanks for the information

Thanks for the information about the grants in Ward 14.  It is good to know this.  Maybe things actually are looking up for this area. 

I plant a few plants every Spring and the neighbors on both sides of me also plant.  So in our own little way we are contributing to making the community a little bit better.  My goal for this year is to get at least one rain barrel to collect the rain water.  Every little bit helps, I think.  My neighbor fertilizes with chicken poop though, not horse manure.  I wonder if one has an advantage over the other, other than the fact that chickens are smaller, take up less space, probably require less food, lay eggs, and taste better than horse meat? 

So, for now, I will resolve not to give up...

Wishing everyone here at RealNeo a happy and prosperous 2010! 




Happy New Year, W14R, and realneo

 W14R, chicken manure is a great manure but is a hot manure. My Mom has used it for years by placing the poop in a row near but not with the plants with spectacular results. It is too hot to mix with the plants themselves. Maybe Meaghan will give us some this spring and watch that flowers go nuts.

I am looking our for food grade barrels to use instead of the barrels made as rain barrels. They will work just as well, and the cost of free compared to $55 per barrel says it all. If I am able to do this, and get several, I will share with you. I want to do 4 barrels, but will settle for two, and that is free water to the plants in my yard, and lower water usage on my meter but be careful when you talk about chicken tasting better than horsemeat. I am a part of the Chicken Liberation Front in the area.If you see someone dressed in black with a black mask untangling a chicken meant for your dinner table the next day, that might be the time you call 911, and explain that a commando type is untying your chicken, and they stop laughing, she will be off to becoming a free range chicken in another town.

911 will be only for life

911 will be only for life and death situations now because of the no need to worry about anyone calling the police when you liberate the chickens. 

My brother-in-law raises chickens for eggs in Oberlin.  His chickens are free range.  He has recently started planting a vegetable garden too and he freezes or cans the produce.   And he was raised in the city before he moved to Oberlin so he needed to learn how to farm by reading and asking other farmers for advice.  In addition to the chickens he raises turkeys and pheasants and a few pigs and a cow.  He loves it. 


brooklyn centre naturalists meet today

This post at the Brooklyn Centre Naturalists' site announces their first planning meeting today at the Brooklyn Branch of the Cleveland Public Library. The post also mentions a orchard in Ward 15, which sounds wonderful and that the two funded projects have already found a way to collaborate and share resources.

Ward14 Resident, you might want to see if you can get there to meet these folks. I know at least one of them, Gloria Ferris. She alone is worth the trip. You might even have a chance to meet realneo’s resident librarian extraordinaire, lmcshane there. I must say, folks in NEO sure know how to learn and nurture life in our public libraries!

BCN meeting.  I was not

BCN meeting.  I was not able to attend the meeting.  It was my birthday and family came over to celebrate. 

I have met Gloria and Tim.  Have not had the pleasure of meeting lmcshane.  Maybe the next meeting.  But, I really don't like meetings...


Frou-frou crap

I participated in the Summer Sprout program in the 1990s in Tremont and my garden was bulldozed over to build townhouses in Tremont.  I spent $300.00 of my own money to truck in soil and create raised beds...this while I officially qualified for poverty status with an income under $10,000.
I can't respond to the garden posts while I am at work, but let me tell you that Cleveland had a much more effective summer garden program at one time and it has been killed under Campbell and Jackson..
It was called Summer Sprout and OSU Cooperative..of course, the participants were mostly African-American and actually knew a thing about growing food from living in the South...not this frou-frou crap...

The schools also sponsored a

The schools also sponsored a gardening program that my children participated in when they were in elementary school.  That actually was the start of our gardening experience as homeowners, since I grew up living upstairs from my grandparents we didn't have access to a place to garden, the small yard my grandparent's owned was not available to the 11 children that were known as the 'upstairs kids'.  I appreciate the opportunity that the school provided to learn how to plant a garden. 

Do the schools still offer a gardening program?  If not it would be something worthwhile to begin again. 

Sorry to hear that your past gardening efforts were deserve to be reimbursed for the money you spent...and wouldn't it be nice if all the knowledge of gardening could be used to create community gardens on every street?  What would it take to start a program like that here in Cleveland?  I know there are a few empty lots available on most streets. 

This is not to criticize

You, Susan--but we have taken twenty steps backward, instead of one step forward--these people are charaltans and they should be ashamed of themselves.  Period.

happy for gardens

Having lived on the near west side of Cleveland surrounded by vacant lot (arson for hire as a way of life for too long), I am tired of both the trash and litter in lots, and really, really not happy with the newer tacky housing developments. In the last couple of years, gardens have sprung up on side streets and main through fares. The size of some of these are surprising because gardening is a hell of a lot of work. They add beauty to the streets and tell us that someone is willing to roto till, amend the soil, lay out rows, plant, water and weed. It says, hey, look at us, we care. I went back to these side street gardens this past season just to take a quick look, and there weren't signs of vandalism, and the green stuff was nice. I am hoping that people will garner the energy this year to do gorilla gardening on a nearby vacant lot that the city mows and cleans, though it is privately owned, and grow flowers.

When lead levels are high, or unknown, flowers are a good way to treat the soil, and add color. It is so much better than trash. It says a lot when people are willing to expend their time, energy, and funds from their own pockets to bring beauty and produce out of a vacant lot. It looks like they will keep funding it on their own, and I will appreciate that even more.

Speaking of soil

Speaking of soil content...where can we send soil samples to be tested for contaminants?  Those of us that garden want to produce food that is safe to eat.  We don't want to poison our families, neighbors, and friends with the produce. 

New Agrarians

Why is that the foundation-driven "Reimagining of Cleveland" does not mention CSAs and better distribution of the produce grown by CSAs?--

Did Gather Round apply for the REimaging grant cycle??

do you mean Surdna Foundation driven?

It was, I read, Surdna Foundation who funded the reimagining study and federal dollars are being granted. I believe it is a partnership between the city planning commission, Neighborhood Progress, Inc. and Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative's Land Lab.

With a under a half million to give away, I would not expect them to be granting to places outside Cuyahoga County like Silver Creek Farm or others among the many, many small farms throughout the state. But as they stated in the first program description, they are focused on the city of Cleveland - not the suburbs, exurbs or rural areas surrounding the city. You can view the program description here: Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland

I don't know if Gather Round applied. I don't know if people with existing gardens and sideyard expansions applied. I think this is about helping those who have as yet not been able to help themselves and it is also a pilot. If this works, I would expect Cleveland and Gund and other local family foundations to get on board, but I think that it is kind of cool that someone finally read Surdna's guidelines and discovered that they would be good partners for a Cleveland project. I had suggested Surdna to David Beach several years back and he said they hadn't thought of the right project yet for that sort of large sum.

In Detroit, a millionaire has caught on to the idea of urban growing.

If there can be 13 more community gardens and a handful more market gardens started in addition to the recognized 200+ already in gear in Cleveland, then I am pleased.

I did not apply (I live in a suburb), but I did grow some food in my yard last summer. It was nutritious. It was beautiful and it provided a home for many flying and buzzing critters. Growing food was a healthy and satisfying undertaking. "frou-frou" is not the way I would describe these efforts. It is more like gritty, dirty, sweaty and exhausting followed by a great feeling of satisfaction and satiation.

Wendell Berry was on Diane Rehm show today. Among other things he said he'd like to see more people growing gardens in their dooryards. Me, too.

I don't therefore expect that a mere $450,000 will address all the deleterious issues that agriculture faces - we'd have to dissemble free market capitalism to fix that. But a few MORE gardens and some parks and stormwater projects to offset the standard silver bullet approach to economic development... I am heaving a sigh of relief.


Gather 'Round did not apply for the grants. There were a lot of volunteers this past summer and we had a number of events. Meagan is the backbone of this operation, beginning her days at sunrise and working the gardens until dark. She is hoping that some volunteers familiar with permaculture come through this next season to relieve her of the tours and the education components that are very time consuming. The gardens were absolutely gorgeous this past summer and fall, showing off the 3 years of efforts of building up the soil and the circular style of planting that Meagan uses to maximize space. GR also wanted to do a kids gardens but time got away from everyone. GR did install a rain garden this past summer and plans a small pond next summer. GR uses lots of rain barrels thanks to a neighboring business that allowed diverters to be attached to their gutters.

Applying for grants, presenting the application then maintaining the funded project paperwork is also time consuming. 


ReImagining Cleveland Grants in Ward 14

Two grants were awarded in Brooklyn Centre. Although there are a number of vacant lots there are very few City Land Bank Lots.  Brooklyn Centre Community Association applied and received a grant for a community orchard and Brooklyn Centre Naturalists received a grant yo develop two lots-one as a native plant nursery and the other as a learning graden showcasing the utility of using native plantinga for landscapes.   We hope to use the garden and nursery as educational  pieces where we can discuss storm water runoff, conserving soil and water, and attracting birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects to the area. 



Susan--don't get me started on our "regional" solution to stormwater...especially, when our "Reimagining" folks, and self-proclaimed GREEN council rep Brian Cummins, just plopped a HUD-subsidized 61-unit complex and parking lot on top of a filled in tributary to the Cuyahoga River. 

I am so sick of these fake environmentalists--I could spit.  I know many good people at NEORSD and I feel for the compromises they have to watch happen everyday as they are rolled along with the rest of us in the huge dungball that we like to call being sustainable in NEO.

PLEASE READ--HaganSucks comments...before they mysteriously disappear:


Posted by hagansucks
December 21, 2009, 7:49PM

Hey elanebenes –
You are very correct about the NEORD executive director, Julius Ciaccia, being under multiple clouds of suspicion.

Ciaccia was Cleveland’s water commission for more than 20 years…under his watch the FBI convicted no less than 13 people (including five of his employees!) in a corruption investigation. Former mayor Jane “Clueless” Campbell inexplicably anointed Ciaccia Cleveberg’s chief of public utilities in the wake of the investigation!

Ciaccia himself was never charged (at least not yet) by the FBI. But federal prosecutors brought up Ciacca’s name in the 2005 corruption trial of Nate Gray (alleged bagman of former mayor Mike White). The feds contended Ciaccia received payoffs in exchange for awarding more than $7 million in contract work. “It’s time to pay for Ciaccia’s daughter’s tuition!” witness Rony Joel recalled while testifying in open court.

Also, and most telling of all, Ciaccia ran both the water and public utilities offices with fear and intimidation. He micromanaged and knew intimate details about employees thanks to an elaborate network of snitches. How odd, then, for a creepy manager such as Ciaccia to have known with whom his employees ate lunch…and yet, Ciaccia had no knowledge of the water department warehouse scheme that allowed vendors to overcharge the city millions of dollars and sent 13 people to prison?? An elaborate scheme that ran for eight years??

Funniest part of the Ciaccia saga – the disgraced former legal counsel for NEORSD, William Schatz (whom the FBI is investigating in regard to yet another massive corruption scheme involving cost overruns/kickbacks), is who recommended Ciaccia for the NEORSD executive director position! Funny, huh? Are you laughing? …me neither.

Ciaccia has a lot of stink on him. How and why he keeps getting promoted and recruited to bigger and better positions of power, in spite of the stink, is one of the great Cuyahoga County mysteries.