NECIC Urban Farm Opens With Ribbon Cutting

  • 9/6/2019 2:42:55 PM
  • WMFD Digital Team
  • Local News

MANSFIELD, OH- The North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate its new urban farm, located at 311 Bowman Street in Mansfield. Several members in the community, along with local officials came out on Friday evening to help celebrate the occasion.  

The farm is a collaborative effort between NECIC, The Gorman-Rupp Company, The Ohio State University Mansfield and The Richland Gro-Op Cooperative. 

 The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research awarded a matching grant to The Ohio State University at Mansfield to launch a $2 million dollar urban sustainable food system project. FFAR contributed $1 million to the project with the other half coming from The Ohio State University at Mansfield and the Mansfield community at large.  

According to NECIC INC.'s website, The farm is on 12 acres, leased from the Gorman Rupp site in Mansfield. The intent is to reuse the Bowman Street property to create a social enterprise that offers training, education and address the community food insecurity concern. Located on West 6th and Bowman Street, which lies within a target area emphasized in the organizations Community Economic Development Plan. 

"It's a local effort to transform our local food system," said Executive Director, NECIC, Deanna West-Torrence."By raising food based entrepreneurs, who are then connected in a co-operative."Not only did we hear that food access was a huge issue in our community but jobs were and entrepreneurship opportunities that were lacking for some of are residents."

West-Torrence said that NECIC is very fortunate to have a lot of support from the community and partners for the project. 

One of those partners is the Richland Gro-Op that helps make the project different then the typical urban farming concept. 

"The goal of the grant is to be able to go away and leave behind a viable business model,"said President, Richland Gro-Op Inc, Joann Richmond."What we want to be able to do is to bring economic opportunity and food to the Richland County area." 

The ultimate goal of the project is to be a money maker for the community not just in providing a food source, but jobs in the area as well. 

"Each one of these micro farms is being designed to produce $50,000 in gross sales per year or about $35,000 in net," said Professor, The Ohio State University Mansfield," Professor, Kent (Kip) Curtis."They do that by growing the same thing. We put 10,12, 15 of them in coordination with each other. All growing the same vegetable, so that the co-operative can aggregate enough of that, to sell in the food market that already exists."

Curtis said the project addresses food security right at its heart by developing small businesses that put money in the pockets of the households who want to do urban farming in the north end.

For information on the urban farm go to NECIC's website. 


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