Building a thriving farm in the middle of Roselawn's (food) desert

Posted at 5:27 AM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 07:15:06-04

CINCINNATI -- "You can't drive three miles and find a suitable grocery store" in Roselawn, according to Urban Orchards sustainability director Damon Lynch. 

That's why his nonprofit organization and the New Prospect Baptist Church transformed 19 acres of vacant land in the neighborhood into an urban farm capable of providing eggs, fruit and vegetables to people who lack access to fresh, healthy foods.

"You can be poor, but you shouldn't be hungry," he said. "That's our goal. To make sure people have enough to eat and be mentally sound and physically fit."

In 2017 alone, Lynch said Urban Orchards have planted 130 fruit trees on the property and in surrounding neighborhoods. Around 100 chickens also roam the area -- several times as many as Urban Orchards had when it began. 

Despite this expansion, however, the demand for healthy food still far exceeds the supply. Lynch said he hopes, as the farm continues to grow, that they'll be able to help everyone who needs it.

"We hope that in the next five years there'll be an abundance of produce so people can just walk down the street and not be hungry," he said. "(Right now,) we can't grow it fast enough."