The “Gardening for Greenbacks” program has again received additional financial support from CoBank and Farm Credit Mid-America. The Farm Credit System has committed $50,000 to the program, which assists beginning urban farmers in Cleveland.
Established in 2009, Gardening for Greenbacks is an innovative initiative developed by the city of Cleveland to increase production of local foods. The program has established Cleveland as a model for local food system development. Providing financial assistance to local entrepreneurs for development of for-profit urban gardens has encouraged economic development and increased residents’ access to fresh, healthy and affordable food.
Rep. Marcia Fudge introduced Farm Credit to the local food movement in Cleveland in 2012. Since an initial investment of $135,000 in the program, along with other support, 35 farms have opened in the last five years. Twenty-one of those farms are minority- and/or female-owned businesses.
URBAN FARMING: Keymah Durden, co-founder of Rid-All Green — an urban farm in Cleveland — is joined by a few members from the organization, as Farm Credit Mid-America and CoBank announce continued funding to the city of Cleveland’s Gardening for Greenbacks initiative. Rid-All was one of the first grant recipients and is the reason the city of Cleveland extended the grant for at least another three years. Shown here are Mike Coleman (from left), Durden, Victoria Trotter, Tim Lewis, Shallana Davis, Marc White and Lori Middleton.
Cleveland a national urban ag leader
“Through Gardening for Greenbacks, Farm Credit Mid-America is supporting agriculture by empowering farmers, many of them young and diverse, in an urban environment,” says Bill Johnson, Farm Credit Mid-America president and CEO. “These farmers are making make fresh, healthy and affordable food available to residents who otherwise might go without.
“Cleveland is a national leader in supporting urban agriculture, and we are proud to help further their efforts,” Johnson says.
“Farm Credit shares Rep. Fudge’s commitment to encourage and support young and beginning farmers,” says Thomas Halverson, CoBank president and CEO. “Our support of the Gardening for Greenbacks program has allowed us to help people to enter the world of urban agriculture, supplementing their incomes and increasing access to fresh produce throughout the city.”
The Farm Credit donation will fund grants of up to $5,000 for recipients to acquire equipment needed for urban gardening, such as tools, irrigation equipment and fencing. Eligible grant recipients must be certified in urban agriculture by either Ohio State University’s Master Gardener Volunteers program or the Rid-All Green Partnership Annual Training Series. Participants must also commit to sell their produce locally.