Grounds for Change: Activating Vacant Land

Garden Boyz Market Garden Program


Tags: Cleveland, community, corridors, education, food, foodsecurity, garden, gardening, grant, grow, lots, Ohio, outreach, phasing, ReImaginingCleveland, strategy, sustainability, training, urban, urbanagriculture, workforce, youth

A model urban gardening and workforce development program.

Garden Boyz is a four year old market gardening and workforce development project located near downtown Cleveland. Garden Boyz mobile markets provide hundreds of people each year with healthy, locally grown, pesticide-free produce started from seed, planted, tended, and harvested by six teen boys. Garden Boyz' vibrant indoor and outdoor markets are temporary set-ups with portable canopies, and tables filled with baskets of fresh, locally grown produce. The markets are held in the heart of the city, across Cuyahoga County, at senior centers, and in the teens' neighborhood for St. Vincent Charity Hospital.

The overarching goal of the Garden Boys project is to provide locally grown food for the Cleveland community as well as positive, potentially life changing work experiences for urban teen boys living in Cleveland's Central neighborhood. The boys work after school during the spring and fall and throughout the summer at their half-acre parcel of land on E. 35th Street. In addition to seed starting and planting, they are also responsible for preparing their produce for sale and setting up and staffing their market stand. A few volunteers are always welcome and needed. The boys use proceeds from the sales to purchase school uniforms, supplies, and family household needs, as well as for personal items and recreation.

Produce includes collard, mustard, kale and turnip greens, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, bush and pole green beans, snow peas, garlic, cucumbers, carrots, green peppers, hot peppers, spinach, leaf lettuce, cabbage, onions, potatoes, squash, herbs, and cut flowers. The boys also pick for sale blueberries, blackberries, and cherries. Food stamps, senior farmers market coupons and WIC farmers' market coupons have all been accepted.


Erika E. Meschkat, ReImagining Cleveland

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