Ohio City Farm creates 'green acres' in Cleveland

7:00 PM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- In the city of Cleveland sits six acres you'd never expect to see right beneath the city skyline.

Carrots, peppers, and lettuce have taken root at the Ohio City Farm and so have the refugees who tend to them.

"They all grew up growing food, so, to be able to come to a brand new country and to do that, again, to grow food I think is very comforting for them, and helps them to be able to make that transition," said Sean Belt.

Belt manages the farm for the group The Refugee Response.

"All of the refugees are used to growing for sustenance, to sustain their lives, where here we do a lot of farming for restaurants, and a lot want really small carrots, and really small spinach really small zucchini so when I tell them we need to harvest the carrots and they pull it up and it's this long and they say they are not ready -- I am like it's a perfect size."

"They laugh and say 'I don't understand America.'"

They like being here though. Kannon Deobo is one of the refugees from Liberia. He became an American citizen about two years ago.

"These are things we grow at home, they are here also," he said of the peppers he was carrying. "At home we believe in self-sufficiency. So here, the garden is doing the same thing."

There are farmers from a total of four refugee countries.

The group sells their food at the Ohio City Farm Stand. It's open Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m -3 p.m.

They share the garden with Central Roots, Cleveland Crops, Great Lakes Brewing Company, and the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority.

The Ohio City Fresh Food Collaborative leases the land from CMHA for $1 per year.

The stand is just a stone's throw from the West Side Market.  Visitors at the Market often make the short trip to the stand for fresh vegetables.


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