Part of the future of farm-to-table initiatives may very well be underway on a street corner in Mansfield, Ohio.
North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. (NECIC) will have a ribbon cutting ceremony to introduce the community to its new Urban Farm. In partnership with The Gorman-Rupp Company, The Ohio State Mansfield and The Richland Gro-Op Cooperative, the grand opening will be on Friday September 6th, 2019 from 5 PM to 6 PM.
As the Urban Farm project started to gain momentum and enthusiasm started to build, everyone felt like they were on the verge of something special. Cindy Wood of the Ohio State Mansfield captures that feeling of serendipitous timing: “It really was a perfect win-win of industry, neighborhood development, and community dialogue, alongside the resources of a research institution like The Ohio State Mansfield that made this happen.”
Scott King, Gorman-Rupp’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, is similarly excited about his company’s involvement: “The Gorman-Rupp Company is very pleased to partner with The Ohio State Mansfield and NECIC on an innovative urban farming project that fosters productive use of the land that our former manufacturing facility occupied at 6th and Bowman streets and provides a foundation for additional investment and economic development to occur on Mansfield’s North End.”
For Deanna West-Torrence, the potential that the Urban Farm brings to the North End is energizing. “This project does so many things for the community—it fixes blight, it puts the land into productive reuse, it becomes an asset to the North End again, just like The Gorman-Rupp Company manufacturing facility used to be. To be able to see this site launch a new type of business, an agricultural business run by a new generation of urban agricultural entrepreneurs, that’s really inspiring.”
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a matching grant to The Ohio State University at Mansfield to launch a $2 million dollar urban sustainable food system project that will increase access to fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops while also supporting the local economy.
The Urban Farm, perfectly located in the North End on the corner of Sixth and Bowman streets, will be here for everyone and gives local farmers the opportunity to sell healthy produce to local businesses.
The ribbon cutting ceremony will give residents the opportunity to take a tour around the farm and get to know the Urban Farm staff.