Timothy Tramble & Joy Johnson
Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone
In 2006, Tim Tramble of Burton, Bell, Carr Devolopment, Inc. first heard the recommendation of a fruit tree farm in the Kinsman neighborhood. His initial reaction was the same as the community’s, who longed to see the area densely populated with housing and industry as it once was. “You want to make a forest in our neighborhood,” he remembers questioning. But plans and populations are fluid, and Mr. Tramble has become an expert on this.
The Urban Agricultural Innovation Zone is a twenty-eight acre tract of land painstakingly assembled by the team at BBC, Inc. as a stage for economy, ecology, and experiment.
Before a single seed could be planted, though, BBC and the community had a lot of work to do. Once the scores of abandoned-lot owners were found and property was assembled, there were still buildings buried under the land. Removing negative opportunities was another big undertaking. “This part of the neighborhood was known for illegal dumping... large items like boats and construction debris,” says Joy Johnson of BBC. Getting to “step zero” was a huge accomplishment and gained a significant amount of community support.
Now that the stage is set, programming has begun where “three large partners create opportunities for roughly fifteen others,” says Ms. Johnson. Major stakeholders like Rid-All Green Partnership, OSU Extension, and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District each brining something unique to the land and to the community. The vision of a dynamic network, leveraging once-forgotten land, is becoming a reality in Kinsman. “This is community gardening to the tenth power,” says Ms. Johnson.