The mission of Community Greenhouse Partners is to improve the quality of life of those around us

Prepping the Forest Garden

On a sunny Palm Spring morning, Sunday, April 17, 2011, Community Greenhouse Partners welcomed nearly 75 people who came to help transform the front yard of the former St. George Catholic Church into a Forest Garden. Photographer Al Bell captured the day’s events with his camera lens.

Chief Grower Hank Habermann explains to Orchard Prep volunteers what they will accomplish by the end of the day.

The grounds hadn’t been maintained for a number of years, so there was lots of tree trimming. Chief Grower Hank Habermann, Site Manager Ben Shapiro and CGP Trustee Brooks Jones spent the week prior to the event cutting down a total of 6 trees that were unhealthy and which blocked needed sunlight.

Unhealthy trees were removed to prepare the Orchard for new growth.

Chainsaws buzzed and whined all throughout the week and the yard was scattered with tree trunks, limbs and branches from their handiwork. On Sunday, wheelbarrows and rakes were used, along with good old fashioned picking up by hand, to gather the small branches. This labor took a lot of the day’s time.

Forest Garden Prep Day created a gigantic brush mountain that will eventually be chipped for mulch.

Gary Paul Nabhan

Before the work began, however, the group was treated to a presentation by Gary Paul Nabhan, “The Father of the Local Food Movement” according to Mother Easrth News, who gave an informal workshop on Heirloom Apples and the shrinking of biodiversity due to monocropping and inductrial agriculture. Nabhan, an internationally-celebrated nature writer, seed saver, conservation biologist and sustainable agriculture activist, was brought to CGP by Brad Masi from the New Agrarian Center, and Janet Fiskio from Oberlin College’s Environmental Studies department facilitated the visit of one of two special guests that day.

Nabhan is also an orchard-keeper, wild forager and Ecumenical Franciscan brother in his hometown of Patagonia, Arizona near the Mexican border. More than 35 students from Oberlin, University of Akron, Kent State University and others from the community sat in a group immersed in Gary’s tales about the history of the apple.

Students from University of Akron

Afterward, the group went to work on the orchard. By the end of the day, grass again reappeared after being covered in a sea of twigs and branches. Large holes were dug throughout the yard. It looked as if a herd of giant gophers had moved into the neighborhood. Each hole exposed rich, dark (almost black) earth.

Star Volunteer Wally Genutis building a basin for saplings and vegetables.

At mid-afternoon, many took a break to stand in semi circle around Senator Sherrod Brown’s Ohio Deputy Director Elizabeth Thames as she hosted an informal conversation about local and Ohio food issues. She told CGP staffers that the Senator is interested in doing a presentation in the Fall about the 2012 Farm Bill and its implications for Urban Agriculture.

Sherrod Brown’s Ohio Deputy Director Elizabeth Thames hosts an informal QnA session.

While the site may have been a Lithuanian Catholic Church for almost a century, prior to that it had a previous life as the Beckinbach Farm. The earth is rich and will be a great home for the Katherine B. and Thomas H. Jones Memorial Woodland Garden, so named for the generous contribution from the Jones Charitable Trust of the Cleveland Foundation, who donated the funds necessary to purchase the trees and seeds planted in the space.

One of the neighborhood volunteers.

Saplings and whips now are firmly planted in the orchard. Various types of apple, pear and plum, bushes including huckleberry, blueberry and raspberry, plus many other varieties of plant life will round out the orchard. The goal is to create a true Forest Garden, to act as an example of how vacant land can be transformed into a healthy landscape that creates both community and economic development opportunities.


July 30, 2011   No Comments

Time, Talent, Treasure

This post is about donating your time, talents, and treasures.

July 30, 2011   No Comments

Earth Day Celebration of Local Food

Community Greenhouse Partners (CGP) and Gardens Under Glass are hosting the first annual Earth Day Celebration of Local Foods, an Earth Day event at the Galleria at Erieview on April 21st from 11AM to 3PM. Admission is free. The Galleria at Erieview is
located on the corner of East Ninth Street and St. Clair Avenue in downtown Cleveland.

Community Greenhouse Partners and Gardens Under Glass will feature a medley of Cleveland’s offerings and connections to local food. Cleveland’s urban farmers, restaurants and vendors that
primarily use local products, as well as companies and organizations that support and assist the growing local food scene will be present to meet. Attendees will be able to sample and purchase locally grown products presented by regional farmers. Tours of Gardens Under Glass will be available and Community Greenhouse Partners representatives will be on-hand. In addition, live entertainment will be provided by singer-songwriter Michael “Doc” Dreyfuss.

The general public is invited to learn firsthand about the local food movement. In the 20-county area that comprises Northeast Ohio, there is a $4 Billion food market of which just $200 Million is currently going to local growers. Recent discussions in Cleveland’s gardening and sustainability communities have focused on ways in which urban food gardens can have a greater impact on the local food economy and become more permanent parts of Cleveland’s neighborhoods.

About CGP
Community Greenhouse Project, a 501(c)3 organization, seeks to improve the quality of life for its community by selling locally grown vegetables, employing local residents, and teaching sustainability and earth science to young people. CGP will also act as an aggregator of crops from area community gardens to sell to area retailers, providing a vital link in the Farm-to-Table movement. Visit our Facebook page at for additional information about
Community Greenhouse Partners or Google the phrase “Community Greenhouse Partners”. CGP is located at 6527 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44103. Executive Director Timothy Smith can be reached by phone at 216-926-4806 or email at

About Gardens Under Glass
Advancing an inclusive place that generates opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship, where individuals and organizations are empowered through meaningful engagement, collaboration and education for sustainable living and enterprise. Gardens Under Glass is located at 1301 East Ninth Street, Cleveland, OH 44114. More information can be found at or by contacting Vicky Poole at 440-225-0723 or email –

January 19, 2011   No Comments