Cleveland Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative

Cleveland Urban Agriculture – A Timeline

2005
Urban Ag and
Green Space
Zoning
Ordinance

2007
Allows
Farming
Through
Zoning

2009
Allows
Chickens,
Ducks, Rabbits
and Beehives

2010
Permits Ag as
a Principal Use
on Vacant City
Lots

Food Deserts - A Life or Death Matter

Life expectancy in Cleveland*:

Low income area = 64 yrs.

Affluent suburb = 88.5 yrs.

Access to safe, healthy food
matters!!

25% of Cleveland residents
live in “food deserts”; lowincome neighborhoods far
away (a mile or more) from
grocery stores.

Cleveland High Tunnel Initiative - Origin

Grew from discussions between
NRCS and community leaders.

In 2012, Ohio allocated EQIP
funds to pilot the CHT (photo of 2012
pilot ceremony)

Hired a full-time urban
conservationist

Amended an agreement with
the Federation of Southern
Cooperatives to assist with
outreach

EQIP on Urban Land?

Zoning does not affect EQIP
rules.

Zoning may restrict practice
installation.

Violate laws = No practice
payment

Applicant Requirements
Farm number (FSA);
 Interest in the agricultural
operation;

Control of the land (lease);

EQIP plan of operations;
 Address a resource concern.

Project Components
Eligibility determination


Planning/Contracting (soil
testing recommended)

Permitting

High Tunnel installation

Education & Training

1. NRCS programs
2. High Tunnel construction and
maintenance
3. Food production, food
preservation, and marketing
(optional)

CHT Partners

FSA – farm record and eligibility

Cuyahoga SWCD - promotion

OSU Extension - education

Federation Of Southern
Cooperatives - outreach, assists
with obtaining leases

City of Cleveland - leases,
building permits, discount water

Fair Food Network – helped
install high tunnels

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge –
promotion and support

Accomplishments

High Tunnel Build Training – NRCS Staff, Partners,
and CHT Participants

Since 2012, over 100 seasonal
high tunnels have been
constructed or are in the
planning stages.

Supporting high tunnel activities
include micro-irrigation
practices, roof runoff, heavy
use/splash pad, cover crops, and
critical area plantings

Total obligation for Cleveland
High Tunnels and supporting
practices = $778,600

Issues to Consider

Partnership Support/Involvement

Close Cooperation w/Participants

Municipal Support – Zoning, Permits

Neighborhood Support/Involvement

Continuous Communication

Access to Water – On-site, Trucked?

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Marketing – Allowed On-site?



 Environmental justice
Soil contamination (lead, arsenic)
Debris - Removal
Abandoned Buildings – Demolish?

Expansion

Secretary Vilsack visiting Cleveland urban
gardens with Ohio Congresswoman Kaptur –
August, 2015

Urban ag movement is strong and growing

Cities want NRCS assistance with urban ag

In discussions with Columbus and
Cincinnati

High return on little investment – small
fraction of State EQIP allocation

Strong USDA support in line with several
Departmental and White House initiatives

People’s Garden

Know Your Farmer Know Your Food

First Lady’s “Let’s Move”

Beginning Farmers

Questions?

Chief Weller and Terry Cosby talking with Ohio’s first high tunnel contract
holder, Avon Standard (r) and fellow gardeners at his Cleveland garden –
July, 2014