Possible stories for the Storytellers to tell - Feedback wanted!

Callie Hopkins's picture

Ross, the other interns and I spent some time brainstorming our ideas for the stories we want to tell.  We’re aiming for about ten in the next seven and a half weeks.  Please give us some feedback about which ideas you think are best, which stories you think people need to hear, etc.  These are our ideas so far:

- Seleshi Asfaw and his work with the sub-Saharan African community in Columbus, specifically their difficulty in acquiring teff, a grain that has both nutritional value and major cultural significance for them.

- Green Corps, which is a youth program run by the Cleveland Botanical Garden.  It hires high school students to work in local community gardens, sell the produce at farmers markets, and produce Fresh from Downtown salsa.  This gives them an opportunity to learn about agriculture while earning money.

- The town of Braddock, near Pittsburgh, has started a farm (Braddock Farms) on its main street, right behind a working steel mill.  A non-profit called Grow Pittsburgh has been involved in the creation of the farm, which employs a small number of youth workers.

- Some restaurants grow gardens on their roofs and then incorporate the fresh produce into their menus.  We have one definite example in Pittsburgh and will be searching for more if you have any suggestions.

- Urban chickens.  We don’t have any specific leads on this, but we thought it would be interesting to show this side of urban agriculture, one that people don’t know much about and often have negative prejudices about.  If anyone could suggest people who are raising chickens within a city and would be willing to talk with us, we would appreciate it.

- In the city of Athens, we have 3 ideas:

o   There is a pizza place that it trying to get all of the pizza ingredients from local sources.

o   Athens has a thriving farmers market that we wanted to visit (this might also give us ideas for the promotion of the OARDC mid-week farmers market).

o   Krogers in Athens does not use locally grown foods, claiming that their regional office is in charge of deciding where the food comes from.  The regional office says that it is up to the local store to decide.  We plan to investigate.

- The Giant Eagle in Pittsburgh, on the other hand, makes an effort to sell locally grown products.  We would like to contrast this to Krogers.

- There is an assortment of teaching farms across the Ohio countryside that help to get youth involved in agriculture.  We plan to visit and interview at a few.

- Cleveland Public Schools have programs for youth involvement in agriculture that we plan to investigate.

- If possible, we want to look into how young chefs and people in the food preparation business are getting involved with local foods and what they are taught about local food systems and how they factor into the cooking business.

- Fresh Fork is a CSA that lists produce from local vendors in the Cleveland areas, allows people to place orders, and then delivers orders to 5 different locations in Cleveland, making the purchase of local produce convenient for everyone.

- Maureen Austin is doing some work with youth in agriculture through the OSU Extension in Stark County.  We don’t have much information about this yet, more coming soon. 

- There is a youth agriculture program run by the Youngstown Justice Department that we are looking into as well.

If you have any feedback about which stories you think we should pursue, please post in the comments section.  Also, if you are involved in any of these stories or have additional information about them, or if we made any mistakes, please let us know.

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Green Corp  is a great

Green City Growers's picture

Green Corp  is a great project and they are working onan expansion plan -- this is a great story to tell.  Also, there are a few restaurants in Cleveland also growing their own food: the Greenhouse Tavern, Great Lakes Brewery and Lucy's Cafe.  Finally, Heinen's grocery chain does a great job of sourcing local foods.  Good luck with a great group of stories

Athens Krogers

Tom Redfern's picture

The Krogers in Athens does sell local products!  Though not local produce.  They sell local milk, and meat, and value added products from the food we love line marketed through Acenet.  They also sell locally owned and produced Crumbs Bread, as well as the Ohio proud line, for a list of the local products they sell check out www.ohiofoodshed.org and click on groceries and co-ops, the work they have done and progress they've made would be a good story!  I love the idea and the need for stories!  But had to do a quick correction on the Athens Krogers which has been very supportive of the work of many of us in this region.

Athens local food stories

AppStaple's picture

In Athens area, stories include those connected with the development of community gardens, which started with an OU student who became the man behind the paw paw festival & a single mom living in subsidized housing who wanted some garden space to grow food--it went on to spark the gardening angels project and now is a thriving multi-community garden project run by community foods initiatives, an incredible local community organization that is all about building food self suffiency and nutrition. Their key projects are gardens and farmers markets for low-income residents as well as workshops on all aspects of gardening and preserving food.

When you dig into the story of Della Zona Pizza and Village Bakery, you will find roots in Bob O'Neil's past as a part of Casa Nueva, a local worker-owned restaurant with a great story. Long ago, it was known as Casa Que Pasa, a name I miss so much I had to put it in a story of my own. The owners then were a few great cooks/vietnam vets. The worker-owned network helped the enterprise become worker owned and today it spans three storefronts, includes a fabulous bodega and cantina, and is all about local buying. Della and Village are taking local to antoher level, particularly in their use of Snowville Creamery milk to make mozzarella and yogurt. They also make their own tortillas, which we will supply meal corn for this season.

Snowville Creamery is yet another local food story. It will lead you to Bill Dix & Stacy Hall, the farmers who provide the milk and who were among the first to practice rotational grazing in North America. Warren Taylor, who started Snowville, is a genius with more energy than a rabbit. He has built a state of the art processing facility in Meigs County. 

You might tour around ohiofoodshed for more stories. Brandon & I are members. We have a posting/story about how we got started on envisioning regional staples there.

I would finally include an unfolding story about our project particularly as it connects to our recent connections with Job Ebenezer (whose story must be told) and En-Hance Manufacturing. Job has owrked in many countires with his inventions, most notably a bicycle powered system for threshing, corn shelling, sawing wood, pumping water and more. He is now in Columbus.  Learn more about him at www.technologyforthepoor.com. 

En Hance has been making seed cleaners since the 20's. It's family owned. We brought Job to meet Jim Hance last week and the next day, Job was back with his bicycle which they hooked up to a seed cleaner to see how it worked. Like a charm.

Just a few ideas. 

One more--stories about potlucks, coops, pie parties, and the history of the Athens market...

Happy Summer to all. 

Thank you

Callie Hopkins's picture

Thank you for your feedback everyone!  It looks like we're going to have to revise the list of places to go in Athens with all of those excellent ideas.  Thank you for bringing to my attention our misinformation about the Athens Krogers.  We will be sure to change the angle of our story accordingly.

Thanks everyone!

Callie Hopkins

Athens area stories

Robert Fedyski's picture

As many have already noted, Athens has many stories. You've already heard that the Athens Kroger's isn't the demon first thought, and there are even more. Matt and Angie Starline,Starline Organics, Star and Mike Hamilton of Shade River Organics, Ed Perkins, Art Gish, Rich Tomsu and Ann Fugate, Rich's Organic Farm, Larry and Kim Cowdery, Cowdery Farm and it's sales to Ohio University, Matt Rapposelli, executive Chef for Ohio U and his commitment and work, the Chesterhill produce Auction, the Athens Farmers' market origin, and on and on. Spending a serious bit of time here could produce multi-volumes of stories.

 We look forward to being of any assistance through Rural Action, and ohiofoodshed.org . Take care,


local food story ideasColumbus

MaydaShingler's picture

Hi Callie, Here are some suggestions from Columbus:

Urban Chefs makes a line of barBQ sauces in Columbus. They promote local food and the community. Contact Anthony Frasier for story. http://www.its-soulicious.com/products.htm

Luna Burger is new small business that makes veggie burgers from locally sourced ingredients. www.lunaburger.com

Urban Farmers Market in Columbus was started by community gardeners and local organizations to promote locally grown produce and community gardens. More info at: http://localfoodcolumbus.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/urban-farmers-market/

I have heard that Café Bella, 2593 N. High Street. Columbus is growing herbs and greens on its patio and incorporating some into its menu.Give the owner a call to confirm.

The story on the teff is fascinating. I would like to do an article on that for localfoodcolumbus.org. Please email me with info.