Proposed by: Brad Bergefurd

Presenters: Bergefurd, B., Extension Educator, OSU Extension Scioto County, Portsmouth, OH 45662
Mills-Wasniak, S., Extension Educator, OSU Extension Montgomery County, Dayton, OH 45409
Nye, T., Extension Educator, OSU Extension Clinton County, Wilmington, OH 45177

The need to explore new uses for over six thousand vacant lots within the city limits resulted in the “Vacant to Vibrant” Urban Agriculture Pilot Project being conceived. The City of Dayton and the Ohio State University Extension program areas, Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, were major partners in this endeavor. The marketing plan was to produce vegetables for the area’s Middle-Eastern ethnic population on a vacant lot, thus helping to eliminate one “food desert.” Sudanese and Somali refugees provided the labor. In mid-July 2009 the one-third acre lot was planted with over 600 vegetable transplants, 500 flower transplants, and several row crops. Over 1000 pounds of produce was harvested before the first frost. A cover crop was sown in late 2009. Building on the positive aspects of the project and trying to minimize what were found to be limiting factors, the project was expanded by increasing the number of lots managed every year since 2009. Two major benefits from the pilot project were that a vacant lot was given a new environmentally sustainable life and purpose and that the city, neighborhood, Extension, and culturally diverse groups collaborated to make a positive difference. Secondary benefits were; an underserved population was able to get fresh local ethnic produce, the refugees learned English and job skills, and limited resource participants learned to combine the use of ethnic and local food for healthy nutritional choices.

All Accepted Proposals