Monday, April 27, 2009

Celebrating a successful cleanup on Saturday, April 25

About thirty students, staff, and faculty from UC were on-hand from 9am through noon on Saturday, April 25 as part of the Great American Clean Up sponsored by Keep Cincinnati Beautiful. Major accomplishments included: collection of old tires, recyclable and disposable trash, clearing of brush, collecting stones, and trimming weeds and grasses. To finish the event, we enjoyed a lunch of locally purchased pizza from Scarlatto's on McHenry... sure to become a tradition for those working at the site. Current plans are to meet at the site for a picnic on Saturday, May 9 and for a planting party on Saturday, May 23. For more details about upcoming events, please contact debbie.moll at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Westwood Embraces the UC Urban Farm

At the monthly meeting of the Westwood Civic Association, Dan Oerther provided an overview of the UC Urban Farm program to an audience of approximately 50 community members. In general, the audience was very excited about the idea of UC's work in the neighborhood. Questions were fielded about the ability of local organizations to work on the site (e.g., schools for field trips, and neighbors to cultivate 10x10 or 5x5 personal plots), the plans for security (i.e., would UC install a fence?), and the positive feelings about community engagement (e.g., a community meeting would be welcomed). The presentation and Q&A lasted for approximately 20 minutes as part of the regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Contact information was left, and many in the audience indicated their willingness to help with communication throughout the community.

Planting Seeds!

Its real! On Tuesday morning, April 21 a team of urban farmers met in the UC greenhouse located on the roof of Rievschel Hall to plant 450 seeds. Gwen, Debbie, Joel, Joan, and Dan planted egg plant, tomatoes, herbs, peppers, and a number of other vegetables. The current plan is to cultivate these seeds in the greenhouse, and to transplant them to the farm in the middle of May.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Press Coverage for UC's Urban Farm in the News Record

The UC Urban Farm program was highlighted in a front page article by Taylor Dungjen in the Monday, April 20, 2009 issue of The News Record. Taylor reported that the farm will be hosting a cleanup event as part of the Great American Cleanup from 9am until Noon on Saturday, April 25, 2009. Please meet us at the site - 2291 Westwood Northern Blvd - or send an email to Shawn Tubb at if you need help coordinating a ride from campus.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Summary of Lecture by Will Allen at UK in Lexington, KY

A team from the UC Urban Farm visited Lexington, KY to listen to a talk by Will Allen, a recent MacArthur Genius award winner, who founded and operates the Milwaukee-based NGO Growing Power. Some important take-home lessons from the talk (in no particular order): (1) engage the community to improve appreciation for nature and to ensure security of the garden - kids working in the garden won't be likely to damage the garden; (2) focus on the finances - a garden needs to produce $5/yr per square foot to become a viable economic enterprise; (3) soil, soil, soil is the key - compost production on-site is a must; (4) sustainable water resources are identified where they are available; (5) raised beds are built on 6-12 inches of wood chips covered with 2 ft of composted soil. Mr. Allen's presentation was lively and filled with photographs and anectdotes of his adventures as a gardener. Its clear that he has a vast practical knowledge of successful urban gardening. In the future, it would be appropriate (and useful) for a team from the UC Urban Farm to participate in a workshop sponsored by Growing Power.

Job Opportunities for Students

With financial support from the National Science Foundation, the UC Urban Farm is pleased to offer employment opportunities to two students for part-time status during the Spring 2009 term and full-time coop status during the Summer 2009 term. For more information, check out details of the job posting.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Welcome to the University of Cincinnati Urban Farm Blog

As part of the Green Cincinnati Plan, in 2009 the City of Cincinnati initiated an Urban Farm Program. The purpose of this program is to convert vacant lots owned by the City into pilot urban farms. Teams of citizens and community groups participated in a competitive process that led to the selection of nine teams working on ten lots distributed throughout the City of Cincinnati. One team, led by the University of Cincinnati, was selected to manage the largest lot located at 2291 Westwood Northern Blvd. Faculty, students, and administrative staff from the University are working together to design and implement an urban farm on 1.25 acres. Initially the team divided into three working groups focused on steering, infrastructure, and operations. If all goes well, we plan to host our first community charrette on Saturday, April 18; we will take rental ownership on Wednesday, April 23; and teams of UC affiliates and community members will begin to clean up the site on Saturday, April 25 as part of the Great American Cleanup organized locally by Keep Cincinnati Beautiful. If you are interested in learning more about our program, please contact us at