CLEVELAND, OH—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown today applauded the groundbreaking of Green City Growers, the newest of the Evergreen Cooperative initiatives in Cleveland. The project received more than $10 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to revitalize a previously abandoned and vacant section of Cleveland and to create more than 40 local jobs. Today, a member of Brown’s staff attended the groundbreaking of the greenhouse, located at the corner of Kinsman Road and Ensign Avenue.
“The Evergreen Cooperative initiative is a model for how we can create green jobs in communities all across Ohio and the country. These for profit, environmentally-responsible businesses are helping put vacant land to good use in downtown Cleveland,” Brown said. “The Green City Growers will also help bring fresh produce to an urban neighborhood that might not have access otherwise. Most importantly, the Evergreen Cooperatives are putting Ohioans back to work in good-paying jobs—and over time, those employees even have a stake in the company. It’s a truly revolutionary way of doing business that promotes local economic development.”
Brown visited the Evergreen Laundry Cooperative in October 2010 to applaud the Cooperative’s one-year anniversary and to discuss a one-year report card outlining the benefits that the laundry and another year-old Evergreen business, Ohio Cooperative Solar, have brought to the Cleveland community after one year of operation. In their first year, the two Evergreen businesses created nearly 50 new jobs and offered employees the opportunity to build equity as small-business owners.
The Evergreen Cooperative Businesses of Cleveland are employee-owned, for-profit companies creating green jobs for northeast Ohio. Workers in the Evergreen Cooperative—which include Evergreen Laundry, Ohio Solar Cooperative, Greater University Circle Neighborhood Voice, and the upcoming Green City Growers —build equity in their firms as owners of the business. The Evergreen Cooperative is a partnership between the residents of six of Cleveland’s neighborhoods, the Cleveland Foundation, the City of Cleveland and several of the city’s most important “anchor institutions”—Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and many others.
Brown, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, launched his “Grown in Ohio” listening session tour earlier this year to get input from Ohio farmers as the Senate considers the 2012 Farm Bill. Brown has held four sessions so far, in Chesterland, Chillicothe, New Philadelphia, and Custar. Last month in Cleveland, Brown hosted an urban agriculture and local food roundtable with more than 20 participants.