It was a couple years ago that I was standing at a gathering of friends, conversing with one of them about why so many people living in poverty battle chronic illnesses and obesity. “I just don’t get it,” he said. “It’s not like broccoli is that expensive.” For many people like him and me who grew up not having to think about where the food on our dinner plates came from, how it was paid for, or whether or not it was going to adequately nourish our growing bodies, this might seem like a comfortable position to take. But access to fresh foods is a complicated and often challenging barrier to many communities, especially in urban environments, and one that far too many of us are privileged to be ignorant to. Limited access to fresh foods means reliance on other highly-processed foods, which are often packed with the very building blocks of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension, which often lead to more severe health conditions like stroke and heart attack. Coupled with other barriers which often unequally impact urban communities, this can result in a cycle that can be hard to break. This month’s organization, Ohio City Farm, aims to address the problem at its roots (pun intended.) Stretching across six acres at Bridge Ave and West 24th Street, Ohio City Farm is the largest contiguous urban farm in the United States. Distributed by The Refugee Response (TRR) and the May Dugan Center, Ohio City Farm provides fresh, locally grown food to Cleveland’s underserved populations and aims to educate all of us about the importance of a complete, sustainable local food system. It also provides employment and training to resettled refuges through TRR, allowing them to become self-sufficient, contributing members within their new communities.
Monetary donations to Ohio City Farm are used to grow food for direct distribution to those in need within our community, and also provides continued work opportunities for refugee farmers within TRR. The profits of all TKB sales in June and July will be donated to the Ohio City Farm. This month’s goal is to raise $500, which would provide enough produce to feed four families for a month. To learn more about the initiatives of Ohio City Farm, including their CSA program and partnerships with local restaurants, please visit their website here.
UPDATE: Together, we have raised $510.00 for Ohio City Farm! Thank you for your big heart, your sweet tooth, and your generosity toward this very special organization. Please continue to show Ohio City Farm some love!