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Local Roots

June 13, 2013 in Environment, Quality Connected Places, Sustainability

Northeast Ohio has become somewhat of an epicenter of the local foods movement in the United States. From innovative urban agricultural zoning in Youngstown and Cleveland, to recognition of its historic and independent open markets (e.g. West Side Market in Cleveland), to entrepreneurial efforts to integrate local farming and markets in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, to future planning to increase local food growth, retailing, marketing and processing,[1] the region has set an example for other areas of the Midwest and the nation to follow. The case for local food has been made by many organizations, citing how local food means:[2]

  • Better quality: Fresher, picked at the peak of flavor, and it loses fewer nutrients in transport.
  • Better for the environment: Uses fewer fossil fuels in transportation, fewer chemicals for farming and promotes biological diversity.
  • Better for the economy: Invest in local business, and they’ll invest locally, too. And eating seasonally means food is less expensive, putting money back into your pocket.
  • Better for the community: Get to know who grows your food, and share ideas for growing and cooking with fellow local-foods lovers!

Local Roots Market and Café (and soon to also be Kitchen Incubator) has become a wonderful example of the evolution of the local food movement in Northeast Ohio. The concept began to emerge in Wooster (Wayne County) in February 2009 when people who were interested in

helping to make local food more accessible began to connect with one another and brainstorm how this could be best be accomplished. Meetings were held weekly to plan the development of what would become the Wooster Local Foods Cooperative, eventually doing business as Local Roots Market and Cafe.[3]

On Jan 30, 2010, almost exactly 1 year from those first meetings, the Local Roots Market & Café officially opened for business. According to their website,[4] the market has grown from being open only Saturday to six days a week. In October 2010, funds received from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) were put towards the completion of a small, but commercially licensed kitchen facility.  This was completed in June 2011. In July 2011, Local Roots received notification of a grant from Rural Development/USDA for $99,500 to complete the full commercial kitchen facility.  The kitchen will allow producers to further process and preserve products for sale in the market. The April/May 2013 Newsletter, “Roots Cellar,” announced the installation of a 14’x10’ freezer by a volunteer group known as “The Kitchen Crew.” The Crew also completed the plumbing trenches with help from College of Wooster and Ashland University students.[5]

For more information about Local Roots Market & Café, please email info@LocalRootsWooster.com. The Market is located at 140 South Walnut Street in Wooster.

Local Roots Steering Committee Members from left to right: John Drouhard (Electrician, WCSEN), Keith Speirs (Architect, WCSEN), Dave Benchoff (OEFFA Board Member, Farmer), Jen Hugon (Graphic Artist), Jennifer McMullen (Writer), Marlene Barkheimer (Bank President), Jessica (Barkheimer) Eikleberry (Business/Computer Systems), John Anderson (Poultry Researcher – OARDC), Monica Bongue (OEFFA Member, PhD Biochemistry, Farmer), Betsy Anderson (Entomologist – OARDC, Former Professional Baker), Bill Boyer (HS Teacher, Gardener), Marlene Boyer (Family & Consumer Sciences HS Teacher)


[1] Masi, B., Schaller, L., and Shuman, M. (2010). The 25% Shift: The benefits of food localization for Northeast Ohio and how to realize them. Cleveland, OH and Silver Spring, MD: Cleveland Foundation, ParkWorks, Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Neighborhood Progress Inc., Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition.

[2] Local Roots Market & Café: Why Local? (retrieved 6.9.2013 from http://localrootswooster.com/why-local).

[3] Local Roots Market & Café: History (retrieved 6.9.2013 from http://localrootswooster.com/history).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Local Roots Market & Café. (April/May 2013). The Roots Cellar Newsletter (retrieved 6.9.2013 from http://localrootswooster.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/LRAprilMay2013.pdf).

Ashtabula County’s Pairings Initiative

May 21, 2013 in Collaboration, economic development, News, Quality Connected Places

Located along Lake Erie and the Pennsylvania border in Northeastern Ohio, Ashtabula County is Ohio’s largest in terms of land area. However, it is not only the size of Ashtabula County that makes it unique among all Ohio counties. Its location and topography bestow upon it the most unique microclimate in the region. Situated where the Lake Erie escarpment is closest to the lake provides gradual warming temperatures in the spring and warm lake-effect air in the fall. This moderating microclimate and above-average to ideal soil conditions are perfect for growing grapes. Perched atop the remnants of glacial beaches and covered with vines planted over generations, the Lake Erie and Grand River Valley grape growing regions are the largest in Ohio. Ashtabula County alone produces 65% of all Ohio’s grapes.[1] Here lies the heart of Ohio wine country, where agriculture, economic development and tourism have come together through community collaboration to celebrate one of Northeast Ohio’s most valuable assets.

In 2008, a passionate group of business and civic community leaders began meeting to discuss opportunities for encouraging economic and community development initiatives for historic downtown Geneva, in Ashtabula County. With national, regional and local trends all indicating an increase in the popularity of wine and culinary tourism, the vision of creating a wine and culinary center was born. Northeast Ohio is home to 68% of Ohio’s nearly 2,000 grape-bearing acres, while Geneva and Ashtabula County are home to twenty wineries and counting. In fact, in 2007, Orbitz ranked the Grand River Viticulture Area in Ohio as the 6th favorite destination in the United States for culinary tourists.[2] The upshot of the past four years of collaboration is Pairings, Ohio’s Wine & Culinary Experience.

Pairings will eventually be a 38,000-square-foot non-profit culinary and education center on the old site of Geneva Elementary School. The center will include restaurant and banquet facilities, cooking classes, wine making demonstrations, incubator facilities for start-up wineries, educational culinary demonstrations, office space and a gift shop. The project will begin with a start-up “Windows on Pairings,” which will incorporate a barn currently on the property to help develop the facility’s business plan and hone its vision. According to Director Jennifer Brown, this has been an eventful week for Pairings, as the center became the pending lessee of the former Geneva Elementary property and gained another major sponsor, Debonne Vineyards.

For more information about Pairings, please contact Jennifer Brown at jbrown@pairingsohio.com or visit the Pairings website at www.pairingsohio.org. For more information about the Ohio wine industry, please contact Ohio Wine Producers Association Executive Director and Pairings Board Trustee, Donniella “Donnie” Winchell (dwinchell@pairingsohio.org). For more information about Ashtabula County tourism, please contact Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director and Pairings Board President, Mark Winchell (mwinchell@pairingsohio.org).

The image below is a rendering of Pairings when complete. Construction on “Windows on Pairings” is scheduled to begin this fall.


[1] Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau (retrieved 5.17.2013 from http://visitashtabulacounty.com/).

[2] Pairings, Ohio’s Wine & Culinary Experience (retrieved 5.17.2013 from http://www.pairingsohio.org/backgroundandlocation.html).

Cleveland’s Complete and Green Streets

May 10, 2013 in News, Quality Connected Places

 

SustainableCleveland2019

The City of Cleveland passed a Complete and Green Streets ordinance in September 2011. In effect as of January 2012, the ordinance requires implementation of sustainable policies and guidelines in all construction projects within the public right of way. This ordinance will create a walking, biking and public transportation-friendly city while reducing environmental impact by incorporating green infrastructure.

Some characteristics of Complete and Green Streets include enhanced transit waiting environments, bicycle lanes and signs, pedestrian refuges, public art, waste containers, crosswalk enhancements, ADA accessibility, way-finding signage, permeable pavement, green space or trees and multi-use paths.

 MAP-paint

Cleveland has began the process of creating a Complete and Green Streets Typology and Design Manual to assist in implementing the Complete and Green Streets Ordinance. We currently have an inter-organizational task force overseeing this process. The Task Force has classified streets into 10 different types, each with its own priorities for pedestrians, vehicles, transit, cyclists and green infrastructure.

They  are seeking the public’s feedback on the  Complete and Green Streets Typology. Please visit the Sustainable Cleveland site here to review the presentation and enter comments.

Keep Akron Beautiful Initiative

April 9, 2013 in ACT, Quality Connected Places

Keep Akron Beautiful is encouraging all area residents to get involved in the 2013 Great American Cleanup™, by participating in the 32nd annual Clean Up Akron Month during April 2013. This year, we are cleaning up for an entire month, with the culmination event taking place on SUPER SATURDAY, April 27, 2013 at the Akron Zoological Park. We look forward to cleaning up with you, your civic groups and your families in April.

For 32 years Keep Akron Beautiful has been working to recruit thousands of civic-minded volunteers to adopt a public parcel of land to clean during Clean Up Akr
on Week. This year, Akron volunteers will be joined by volunteers from 1,200 affiliates of Keep America Beautiful around the country to participate in the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup, the nation’s largest community improvement program that harnesses 4 million volunteers to build vibrant communities. Each year, we engage volunteers to take action in our community through programs that deliver positive and lasting impact through events focused on waste reduction, recycling, beautification and community greening

Policies and Strategies in Shrinking Cities

April 4, 2013 in Mahoning, Planning and Zoning, Quality Connected Places

On Thursday, March 28, the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, Technical University of Dortmund, Germany (TUD), and German Marshall Fund (GMF) hosted a workshop in Youngstown titled: Policies and Strategies in Shrinking Cities: The Case of Youngstown, Ohio. The event was attended by more than 60 people including: stakeholders from throughout Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and representatives from the cities of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Akron.

The invitation only workshop included a site visit of abandoned industrial sites with potential for reuse, an expert panel discussion, and presentation of redevelopment ideas from urban planning students from the Technical University of Dortmund.

The expert panel discussion included Alan Mallach, Brookings Institution; Lavea Brachman, Greater Ohio Policy Center; Professor Thorsten Wiechmann, Technical University of Dortmund, Germany, and Ian Beniston, YNDC. The students’ redevelopment ideas included opportunities to reconnect Youngstown to its riverfront and industrial heritage and integrated best practice ideas from the Ruhr Valley in Germany. A final plan based on their work will be released this summer.

To view the presentation visit YNDC.

To learn more please contact the YNDC via phone at 330.480.0423 or via email info@yndc.org!

Digi-NEO…facts about Northeast Ohio

March 15, 2013 in Conditions and Trends, Connections, Engagement, Environment, News, Quality Connected Places, Transportation

During the course of developing the NEOSCC Conditions and Trends Platform, we developed 33 findings across the subject matter areas of economic development, transportation, housing, the environment and quality connected places in Northeast Ohio.  In order to communicate some of these findings, we have developed the Digi-NEO program which highlights different facts about the region’s successes as well as its challenges.

Visit our Digi NEO Gallery to learn more about our region.

Join The Oberlin Project for a Local Food Event

March 12, 2013 in News, Quality Connected Places

Saturday March 16th
10:30am-1:30pm
Oberlin High School, 281 North Pleasant Street
This pop-up event will bring together interested members of the Oberlin community, area farmers, and food buyers in Lorain County for a day of learning, sharing, and connecting. This event will feature a local market, three (3) local food films, and local food presentations. The local food films and speakers are listed on the back of this flyer.
This event is free and open to the public.
www.oberlinproject.org 

 

 

Local Food Hub Pop Up Event Presentations & Cinema Schedule

In conjunction with the Oberlin Project’s Pop-up Local Food Hub, are local food presentations each half-hour and local food films produced by three local film-makers. These presentations and movies will present creative and innovative ways that communities in Ohio engage local food systems to support health, environmental sustainability, and a stronger local economy.

Local Food Hub Pop Up Presentation Schedule – Oberlin High School Auditorium:

10:30 a.m. Glenn Gall – Healthy Food, People, Farms, Planet
11:00 a.m. Ruby Beil – Sustainable Agriculture at Lorain County Community College
11:30 a.m. Chet Bowling – Oberlin Kitchen Incubator
12:00 p.m. Tracie Haynes/Dave Sokoll – Neighborhood Food Development
12:30 p.m. Nick Swetye – The New Agrarian Center/City Fresh
1:00 p.m. Frank Whitfield – Local Foods and Youth Education/Engagement

Each presentation is 10-15 minutes with 10-15 minute question and answer session.Local Food Hub Pop-Up Event Cinema – Oberlin High School Library:


10:30-11:30 Network Theory – Athens, Ohio
– Network Theory (Brad Masi, MikaJohnson, 2013) looks at how communities in Southeast Ohio engage local food systems to build a more resilient economy and a more inclusive democracy. (Topics: food hubs, rural self-reliance, network weaving, staple foods, local food processing, business to business connections)

11:30-12:30 PolyCultures – Cleveland and Northeast Ohio – PolyCultures – Food Where We Live (Tom Kondilas, 2009) looks at the inter-connected efforts between urban and rural communities in Northeast Ohio to grow a healthy and sustainable regional food system. (Topics: urban food access, ecological farming, urban agriculture, local economies)

12:30-1:30 For the Love of Food- Oberlin, Ohio – For the Love of Food (Brad Masi, Mika Johnson, 2012) looks at the past and present of Oberlin’s pioneering efforts to localize its food supply, learning from those on the ground doing it and their perspectives about the future of local foods in the community. (Topics: entrepreneurship, homesteading, education, youth)

The Pop-Up Cinema is a collaboration between: Art + Practice, LESS Productions, and Blue Heron Productions. These films star the many diverse members of Ohio communities that are coming together to grow a stronger and more resilient local food supply. The films feature inter-connected vignettes, so come in and out as you please and see what best practices you might want to apply to your community!

These events will help you learn, connect, and share your ideas about local foods. We encourage you to share you thoughts and ideas about your vision of local foods in Oberlin using the “idea wall” areas during this event.

Free and Open to the Public! 

YNDC’s Iron Roots Urban Farm

March 1, 2013 in Mahoning, News, Quality Connected Places, Sustainability

Construction has begun at the Iron Roots Urban Farm site. The construction project includes the complete renovation of the 91 year old, 2,693 square foot historic home and the construction of a new 1,200 square foot processing and training facility. The project also includes the installation of walkways, parking, signage, and other critical facility upgrades. The project is being completed by DSV Builders and is expected to be complete by June 1, 2013.

The new facility will be home to several programs to train residents in the skills necessary to become market gardeners and food entrepreneurs or enter the environmental workforce, as the site will give residents hands-on experience at a working urban farm. The farm will also train residents in the preparation of healthy meals and processing of fresh produce. Additionally, the facility will have space for community meetings and other neighborhood revitalization activities. YNDC is also working with the Common Wealth Inc. Kitchen Incubator to provide residents all the necessary training space and equipment needed to launch their new enterprises.

Iron Roots Urban Farm is a fully functioning urban farm that grows produce available for sale at the Northside Farmers’ Market, Poland Farmers’ Market, and is included in shares of the Grow Youngstown CSA program.

For more information, please visit: the IRUF Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IronRootsUrbanFarm or the YNDC website at http://www.yndc.org/programs/iron-roots-urban-farm. Stay tuned for more updates soon!

 

 

 

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Common Wealth Inc. Launches 30 Mile Meal Project

February 20, 2013 in News, Quality Connected Places, Sustainability, Trumbull

Please join the Common Wealth, Inc. on February 28th to learn more about 30 Mile Meal, a new regional food project. Natalie Woodroofe of the Athens County Visitors Bureau and Leslie Schaller of ACEnet will give a short luncheon presentation on the project. They will also unveil the 30 Mile Meal website, introduce additional media platforms, talk about events and discuss overall plans for this year!

At lunch, businesses will be recognized that promote local farmers by using local products. If there is a restaurant, store or other business you would like to nominate, please forward the name, contact information and the local product used.

At this time, there are nine partners committed to this project. If you are interested in becoming a partner and commit to doing so before February 28th, you will be recognized as a Founding Partner in all communications. Please use the contact information below to request a membership form.

Meeting information:

Thursday, February 28, 2013
From 12 p.m. until 1:30 p.m.
In the Raymond John Wean Foundation’s Western Reserve Room:
147 W. Market Street, Warren OH 44481

For this event, we suggest a donation of $10. If planning to attend, please RSVP by responding to this email.

The 30 Mile Meal is a local food branding and promotional campaign which aims to provide a shared identity for our many farmers, specialty food producers, retail markets, food events, and independently-owned eateries and bars featuring locally-sourced menus. The effort will help spur economic development and create tourist destinations based on regional food fare.

For anyone interested in obtaining membership forms or attending the luncheon, please contact Christina Perry.

Akron Urban League hosts Urban Issues Luncheon Series

February 12, 2013 in Communications, Housing, News, Quality Connected Places

The Vibrant NEO 2040 planning process has been assisted by five volunteer work streams – Economic Development, Environments, Housing & Communities, Connections, and Quality Connected Places.  Each one has a specific focus but some are broader than others.  In the Housing & Communities work stream, housing issues are an obvious focus but the term ‘community’ is harder to define.  The work stream also values the individual communities and neighborhoods in northeast Ohio by promoting the growth of a healthy, safe, and walkable region.

The Akron Urban League’s 2013 Urban Issues Luncheon Series covers some of those very issues, like safety and education.  The series opens at the Akron Urban League on Wednesday, February 13th with the topic, “In Search of Urban Peace:  Addressing Urban Violence”.  Click here to register or for more information.