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Local Foods And Sustainable Business

The City is leveraging its purchasing power to encourage companies to be more sustainable while boosting the local economy. As part of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 initiative, the City celebrated 2012 as the Year of Local Foods, engaging businesses, residents, schools, and social service and community development organizations to support this growing movement.

In 2011, Travel and Leisure Magazine dubbed Cleveland one of the “World’s Most Visionary Cities” for its urban farming and in 2008, Sustain Lane ranked Cleveland 2nd nationally in Local Foods. Below are some reasons why:

    Example Projects     

Reimagining Cleveland
In December, 2008, Neighborhood Progress, Inc. released the results of a one year planning process involving 30 groups which focused on strategies for reuse of vacant land. The City Planning Commission adopted the Reimagining Cleveland plan as a template for reutilizing vacant and underutilized properties.

Kinsman’s Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone
The City of Cleveland, through a variety of public-private partnerships, has supported many of the projects in the Lower Kinsman Corridor.  The Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone was a previous residential area, adjacent to a heavy industry area– much like the majority of the City of Cleveland with its manufacturing heritage.  The area was consumed by a fire in 1976, due to low water pressure in the area.  Only a few houses remained after the fire.  The City provided funding for the environmental testing working with the USEPA to ensure the area would be safe for farming adaptive reuse.

Green City Growers
The City of Cleveland was the first to receive Federal and State grants for the development of urban agriculture. The City was awarded the following grants to assist Green City Growers, a local co-operative, with their $16.5 million project: (1) a $2 million BEDI Grant, (2) $8 million in HUD 108 Loan funding secured by the City, (3) $450,000 in the City’s EDA Funds, and (4) approximately $6 million in private debt and New Markets Tax Credit equity. 
The greenhouse will primarily produce lettuce and other leafy greens. It is expected to reach an annual production of 3 million heads.  One percent of the production will be provided to the Cleveland Food Bank to be distributed in Cleveland.  The donation is expected to provide approximately 240,000 meals annually.

Central Roots
The owners of Central Roots received approval under the Gardening for Greenbacks Program to fund the purchase of tools, equipment and an irrigation system.  Central Roots, LLC is an urban farm enterprise that operates on a ½ acre at 5905 Thackeray Ave and a ¾ acre at West 25th & Franklin Avenue with the goal of distributing their fruit and vegetable production through multiple channels including farmer’s markets, on-site farm stands, restaurant sales, and community supported agriculture shares.

Bistro at Bridgeport Place
The City of Cleveland assisted Burten, Bell, Carr Development Inc. with a match of $40,000 to help them win an HHS grant of $759,374 to establish the Bistro at Bridgeport Place, a fresh food production center.  The aim is to improve access to fresh fruits, vegetables and nutritious meals and eliminate food deserts in underserved communities. It will feature fresh food stands, a cafe with hot meals and organic foods made from local products and a community kitchen where local farmers can clean and store produce and where chefs will hold cooking demonstrations to show residents how to prepare healthy meals. The project is expected to serve at least 20,000 residents in the first year and create 64 jobs for low-income residents.

Office of Sustainability
Jenita McGowan, Chief
601 Lakeside Ave. Room 227
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

P: 216.664.2455
F: 216.664.2378
Ohio Relay: 711

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Mission Statement


The Office of Sustainability leverages Cleveland's wealth of assets by collaborating with the community to improve the economic, environmental, and social well-being of its citizens. To lead by example, the Office develops and implements policies and practices with City departments to embrace a culture of sustainability.

City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability