In 2008, All Angels Episcopal Church in Avondale closed, but Thomas Breidenthal, bishop of the Diocese of Souther Ohio, committed to utilizing the space as spiritually nourishing
Shortly after the church closed, a portion of the land was used to create the Do Right Teen Garden to provide fresh produce and healthy eating tips and training for teens. The garden was also a start to a farmers market stand. In the fall of 2010, after months of planning, with funding and donations from several sources, the Diocese decided to renovate the church and repurpose it as Gabriel’s Place
, a community garden, kitchen, marketplace and hoop house.
Gabriel’s Place opened in September of 2011 and is run by one director, two AmeriCorps members and a strong volunteer staff. With the goal of becoming a sustainable community space in Avondale.
“The idea is to build a food-related initiative that creates access to affordable produce and food with the idea to curb obesity in the neighborhood,” says Leslie Stevenson, volunteer coordinator at Gabriel’s Place.
The marketplace gives the community a centrally-located market that allows residents to walk and buy fresh produce throughout the year. The community kitchen gives people access to cooking equipment and see cooking demonstrations and try different foods. The meeting space serves as a community gathering place where organizations can hold meetings, as well as a place for the staff of Gabriel’s Place to hold health education classes. The community garden gives residents experiential learning opportunities while providing food for the marketplace and kitchen. The hoop house, which is similar to a green house, which allows Gabriel’s Place to grow produce year round as well as house a aquaponic system that allows for fish-breeding and raising to sell at the marketplace.
“We are also working to connect with local restaurants in an effort to be financially sustainable,” Stevenson says. “We also want to bring more locally-sourced food the the neighborhood.”
and help grow Gabriel’s Place into a sustainable market for fresh produce.
at Gabriel’s Palce to help in the kitchen or garden.
Attend the Marketplace on the first and third Thursdays of each month from 4-6 pm.
By Evan Wallis