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Financial Help To Further Grow City Area Gardens And Farms

Monday, August 27, 2012 at 5:56 PM

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Nearly $270,000 altogether was announced by City of Cleveland and Congressional officials at Regents Community Garden, an urban farm founded on a site that used to contain several shuttered homes. Ideastream's Brian Bull has more.

Photo Gallery

Urban farmer Avon Standard and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge at today's event (pic by Brian Bull). Visitors put up with the rain to tour Regents Community Garden in Cleveland (pic by Brian Bull). An oversize check for $135,000 proclaims banks' support for the 'Gardening for Greenbacks' program (pic by Brian Bull). Freshly grown produce such as these vegetables are to help city residents develop healthier diets (pic by Brian Bull). At today's event, chefs were on hand to present samples of grilled vegetables from urban gardens (pic by Brian Bull).

The USDA is awarding more than $132,000 in federal assistance to farmers who set up “hoop houses”.  The structures help extend a farmer’s growing season, and cuts down on their use of pesticides.

Another $135,000 was donated by a consortium of ag lenders, namely AgriBank, CoBank, and Farm Credit Services of Mid-America.  The money is to help the City of Cleveland’s “Gardening for Greenbacks” program, where farmers can receive up to $5,000 for tools, fencing, and other items to grow and sell their produce.

The funding was announced at one of numerous urban gardens that have sprung up on abandoned lots in recent years.  Among those on hand was Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who says urban farming restores purpose to these blighted properties that plague many parts of Cleveland. 

“This gives it a use that is beneficial to community and it feeds people,” says Fudge. “1 in 6 people in this country are on food stamps or are poor.  This allows them to not have to spend their own resources to feed their families, because they can come to these gardens and get free food.”

Urban gardens are also heralded as a way to fight “food deserts"…areas where access to fresh produce is limited, often leaving residents with fast food or processed food items that can lead to a number of health issues.

Tags

Community/Human Interest, Government/Politics, Health, Housing/Real Estate

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