by Kaitlin Husk
This past Saturday, April 29, we hosted Renew the City, a one-day event focused on caring for one of our local neighborhoods. This year, we focused on the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. We worked on the community space at Crooked Branch Farms and did some exterior work on The House Next Door. We had around 200 volunteers come out and volunteer for the day. Take a look at what was accomplished!
- Laying weed barrier fabric over all the pathways and garden beds (so we don’t have to weed all summer!)
- Shoveling, wheelbarrowing, and raking nearly 200 yards of dirt, wood chips, and gravel at Crooked Branch Farms
- Cutting and cleaning up the 20 trees along the fence line at The House Next Door
- Planting apple and pear trees along the fence line at the farm
- Finishing the chicken coop and making sure the chicken’s don’t escape
- Tearing off a worn-out front porch at The House Next Door and setting posts for a back porch
- Donating beautiful flowers and helping plant them in our new space
- Engaging our neighbors as they walked by and inviting them to join in
God is doing a work of transformation in this block of Cleveland! In case you haven’t visited this area, here is the layout. On the south side of the street are The Shop and The House Next Door. The Shop is currently being remodeled to host vocational training including construction skills, woodworking, and cooking. We currently have two students receiving paid, on-the-job training in construction while helping to remodel this building! The House Next Door stands to the left of The Shop and is also being renovated. Once it is finished, the owner plans to donate this house to Envision Cleveland. It will serve as housing for any students receiving training at The Shop who need a place to stay.
On the north side of Kinsman are Concerned Citizens Community Council (C4) and Crooked Branch Farms. C4 is a walk-in community center whose goal is to meet needs and provide assistance for those in the neighborhood. They are a close partner of Envision. Crooked Branch Farms is a dream we’ve had with C4 and the Cuyahoga County Land Bank to have an urban farm in this neighborhood. Cleveland is full of “food deserts,” neighborhoods who do not have easy or walkable access to a grocery store or fresh produce. The goal of the farm is (1) to provide access to fresh produce right in the community, (2) to provide a place for neighborhood engagement, and (3) to educate neighbors on how they can grow their own produce to provide for their family. Currently, we have three hoop houses (similar to a greenhouse but not heated) that are growing crops most of the year. We are planning to build a small stand to sell produce this summer. Renew the City helped solidify this second goal by creating a community space where neighbors can hang out and spend time outside. We do all this—vocational training, urban gardening—for the sole purpose of engaging neighbors and sharing the gospel whenever God gives us the opportunity. We want to see holistic transformation of people and communities. Jesus cares about the spiritual and physical well-being of our neighbors!
We encourage you to come and visit this community space. While you are over here, support a local restaurant (we highly recommend Kyrie’s Kafe just down the street!) and have a picnic in the garden. Our prayer is that this will continue to be a place of transformation for the community.
Thank you for being a part of it!