Northern Kentuckian to bring non-profit urban gardening to Cincinnati core

Cincinnati stands apart from many of the country's urban areas with Findlay Market, a place where people who live in the core can easily walk to get fresh food, including an abundance of fruit and vegetables.

But Cincinnati is not alone in the dearth of spots available for permanent urban agriculture, but a Fort Thomas husband and wife are working to change that by creating a non-profit that will amongst other things set aside inner city land for food production.

The idea builds on the current work of Memorial Inc., which operates the Over-The-Rhine  Eco-Garden in partnership with the Civic Garden Center. Memorial Inc. also a non-profit pays local youth a stipend to tend the garden, and sell the produce at Findlay Market. Proceeds go back into the garden and to the youth.  The Civic Garden Center leases the land, which recently has been threatened by development.

That's among reasons that Luke Ebner, who works for Memorial Inc., along with his wife Angela, are working to create Permaganic, Co. a non-profit that will raise funds to provide a permanent location for the Eco- Garden and other potential Urban Farmers.

"What's happens in an urban farming program is sometimes a piece of property is on a-one year lease, the property gets fixed up and then the owner is able to attract investors and sell it," Ebner said.

Under Ebner's plan the land would be owned by Permaganic, Co. and offer educational and entrepreneurial opportunities to youth, he said. 

"What Permaganic, Co. is trying to do is provide an on-going opportunity for people who want to get into growing and producing food," he said. "We will show them how we grow and let them experience it for themselves."

Ebner is still in the early stages of forming Permaganic, Co. it is registered in Ohio and is awaiting its federal 501(c)3.

Long-term Permaganic, Co. could serve as a place that could hold land in trust strictly for farming and food foresting, Ebner said.

He would like to see Cincinnati as home to a program similar to The Intervale Center in Burlington VT. Intervale is a non-profit that has managed and preserved more than 350 acres of land for over 30 years.  They support viable farms and increase access to local fresh food and agricultural education.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Luke Ebner,
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