Crop Report for April 2012
It’s remarkable what can happen with a relatively small amount of money, and volunteers who have the desire to get their hands dirty and build something.
For example, on April 15th, about 20 volunteers, mostly from Theta Chi Fraternity at CWRU and members of Ohio Fracktion, a statewide environmental group, joined us in our North Lot to help build two brand new hoop houses that we purchased from Tunnel Vision Hoops using funds from two grants from the Generation Foundation and Hawken School, as reported last month. TVH founders Carlton Jackson and Todd Alexander spent the entire day leading the group in a workshop on proper hoop construction, teaching us about how purlins work, how the proper bracing can withstand even the toughest snow loads that Cleveland Winters can offer, and how simple materials and tools can be used to build a thing that’s not only useful, but beautiful as well. Work still remains to be done as some materials have yet to arrive from TVH’s suppliers, and we’ll finish the hoops over the next few weeks. Contact Tim Smith or David Hodo if you’d like to help on this project.
In addition to helping get the space ready to build the new hoops, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the stellar work done by Ohio Fracktion members Jeremy Bingham, Jonathan Sidney and Annie Lukins in cleaning the inside of the church over the last three weeks. They took what could only be described as a mess and transformed the classrooms, basement and sanctuary into usable spaces. Rather than simply being “occupied,” the church has been rechristened as a teaching space, hosting a gathering of nearly 60 environmentalists last Saturday for a day-long conference on hydrofracking.
As we also reported last month, construction of new fencing and raised bed borders is in full swing. The large beds in back have been expanded, adding about 40 sq. ft. of usable space, and we started building a new fence on the South edge of the property facing Superior Avenue, replacing the rusted chain link fence. The new fence should be completed well before the time street construction is finished and Superior is repaved. Until that ends, access to CGP has been detoured, and if you plan to stop by, coming from the East, take Superior west to Addison Road, turn right, go one block to Bayliss, turn left, and go one block west to East 67th. From the west, take Superior to East 65th/Norwood, turn left and go one block to Edna, turn right and go one block east to East 67th. If you’d like to assist with the fence building project, contact Tim or Nate Tolowitzki.
Did we mention that we’re also growing food? Site manager Ben Shapiro has been diligently planting seeds, onion and scallion starts, pawpaw trees and wild ramps throughout the property and plans to start transplanting the vegetable starts we planted earlier in the year over the next few weeks. We’ve had great success already with salad greens, kale and spinach, and it looks like our garlic crop is going to be tremendous later this year. We made $50 at the first farmer’s market of the season held at the Free Clinic, selling out of the salad greens we had brought. The event publicized the Gateway/105 Market which will start at the end of May on Friday afternoons at the intersection of East 105th St. and Ashbury Rd., about 3 blocks North of the VA Hospital. Upcoming markets include returning to the Coit Market and possibly a stand at the Tremont Market beginning in early May. Contact Tim or Ben if you’d like to help either staff a booth at a market, or help plant seeds and starts.
CGP enjoyed a moment in the spotlight at the Cleveland International Film Festival last month, sponsoring “Bidder 70,” a documentary about environmental activist Tim DeChristopher. We sponsored well-attended talkbacks with filmmakers Beth and George Gage after both screenings, hosted a Green Films Reception in the Sustainable Cleveland Center, and served Microgreen salad to pass holders in the VIP Hospitality Center. Thanks to board member and CIFF staff member Jessica Ferrato for setting up these events!
Other upcoming sales and marketing events include Earthfest at the Cleveland Metropolitan Zoo on Sunday April 22nd from 10 AM until 5 PM, and the Hessler Street Fair on May 19th and 20th from 11 AM until dusk both days. We plan to do a lot of outreach work at both events, featuring Microgreens for sale at Earthfest, and repeating our salad sale at Hessler, featuring our salad greens and dressings from some of Cleveland’s more popular restaurants. Volunteers are needed to work shifts at both events, contact Tim if you’re interested.
While it sounds like we need a lot of help, we’re also excited to announce that we’ll be joined next month by two high school seniors from Hawken School doing their Senior Project with us in the month of May. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to stop by and meet Tommy Willen and Greg Foley as they learn about urban agriculture, food justice and permaculture.
For more information about CGP, donations and volunteer opportunities, contact Executive Director Tim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. or 216-926-4806.