Cleveland, Ohio - On a dead-end street in Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood, on 18 acres of land that previously served as an illegal dumping ground, an entire food ecosystem has emerged and thrived under the leadership of local residents. Rid-All Green Partnership started with a single hoop house erected in February of 2011; now acres of farmland support a community kitchen and farmer’s market. All food waste is turned into compost, which supports the farm and is sold across Cleveland. A training program and paid apprenticeships bring community members in, while an aquaponics and hydroponics system generates local jobs. Specialized programs emerged to serve veterans and youth.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Fresh out of an abusive relationship, Andrea O’Reilly was ready to give her twin boys a new life. But facing a cost of living crisis atop a personal crisis, the prospect of buying the basics they would need — clothes, bottles, bouncers, a changing table, a baby monitor, car seats, strollers and more — was daunting. That’s when the Philadelphia mom decided to try her neighborhood Buy Nothing group, where hundreds of locals gave away and exchanged items for free. “I went to the Buy Nothing [Facebook] page and the compassion and generosity of everyone was amazing,” says O’Reilly, who asked to be quoted under a pseudonym amid a legal battle for custody of her children.
Cleveland, Ohio - While meeting with a local farmer two years ago, Eric Diamond of Central Kitchen, a food business incubator in Cleveland, Ohio, learned that the farmer wasn’t able to sell all the carrots in his fields. Some of the carrots – while perfectly nutritious – weren’t the right size or shape for grocery stores’ and restaurants’ specifications. That sparked a question, and a business idea was born. “I said to him, ‘What do you do with the carrots?’ and he said, ‘We leave them to rot in the fields because we don’t have an end market,’” said Diamond. “So, I said, ‘What if we buy the ones that don’t meet your specifications, and we process them and sell them to school districts?’” Soon afterwards, the farmer, Wayward Seed Farm in Fremont, Ohio, began taking the carrots that would otherwise have been thrown away and dropping them off at Central Kitchen.