Sunday, September 27, 2009

Artists of the Rust Belt

I think I have recovered from the Grey to Green Festival and hope to begin posting to the blog again on a regular basis. The Grey to Green Festival was a wonderful event and the weather was perfect. Photos of the festival will be uploaded soon to the Grey to Green Festival website.


The Grey to Green Festival is only a memory now, and today was an opportunity to add to the cache of great memories for 2009. Today was the Artists of the Rust Belt FolkFest. When I woke up this morning, it was dark, gloomy and raining. My heart sank because I was afraid that the weather would keep people away from the festival. Wow! I couldn't have been more wrong. I went down to the B&O Station,the site of the festival, and quite literally couldn't find room to park. I love it when that happens, strange but true. To make the day even more glorious, the sun came out. For those of you not familiar with the B&O Station you can find more information here The Station sits near the scenic Mahoning River and there is a wonderful park like atmosphere.

There were over 45 artists vending their art. For further information you can go here

The musical entertainment was performed from the balcony above the entrance to the station. The music could be heard not only in the station but throughout the grounds.

Here is a clip of Brady's Leap. I apologize for my poor videography it is a bit shaky.

Here is Tom Breiding:

If you missed today's festival, you will have other opportunities. I have been told that there will be more Artist of the Rust Belt shows in the future. I'll make sure to keep you posted.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Economics, 'Food Racism' and Urban Agriculture

Grow Youngstown will be hosting a panel discussion at 3:00 PM at the Unitarian Church across from Wick Park on Elm Street on September 12, 2009. This discussion is held in conjunction with the Grey to Green Festival. The discussion will be insightful and thought provoking. Don't miss it.

The following panalists will be participating:

Will Allen – Founder and CEO/Growing Power
Awarded a MacArthur Fellow in 2008, Will Allen is one of the world’s foremost experts on urban. Grow Power, headquartered in Milwaukee, is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power provides hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.

Steve Bosserman
Steve Bosserman, founder and president of Bosserman & Associates, Inc., specializes in strategic framing and organization design. Steve's career started with 20 years of manufacturing experience ranging from the shop floor to senior management. In 1987, he started B&A in order to apply his expertise in the design and delivery of organization change and leadership development strategies with clientele in both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors across domestic and international arenas.

Over the past three years, Steve's interest in social networking systems, processes, and tools has evolved into the development of sustainable local food systems as a platform for local economies--the foundation for social justice. This shift positioned him to be a Co-Principal Investigator on a three-year USDA-SCRI grant awarded in late 2008 to utilize social networking strategies in the advancement of local food systems. Furthermore, his work in the development of metrics for local food systems and evaluation criteria for localized investment portfolios has led to a recent grant award from the Advance Northeast Ohio / Fund for Our Economic Future (ANEO / FFEF) to launch an Ag-Bio Cluster Leadership Council and provide the Council with a portfolio management process for their project proposals and business cases. You can read more about Steve's work on his blog at

Brad Masi, Executive Director, New Agrarian Center
Brad Masi serves as the founder and Executive Director of the New Agrarian Center (NAC), an organization which works toward growing a more sustainable and just regional food system in Northeast Ohio. Masi is co-founder of the City Fresh program, a region-wide partnership focused on linking rural and urban farmers with inner-city neighborhoods and institutions in Northeast Ohio. Masi is also co-founder of the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Food Policy Council which is seeking to improve local food access in inner-city neighborhoods.

Leslie Schaller, Director of Programs
Ms. Schaller was part of the founding staff of ACEnet’s Food Ventures program and oversaw the development of the Food Ventures Center, ACEnet’s 12,000 square foot kitchen incubator facility. She has worked directly with food producers, farmers and artisan micro-entrepreneurs since1992 to develop businesses, resources and networks to relocalize Appalachia Ohio’s food economy. Ms. Schaller is responsible for working directly with entrepreneurs throughout the intake and assessment process, focusing on the start-up phase of network clients. Ms. Schaller designs curriculum, provides direct technical assistance and coordinates the expertise of ACEnet staff teams to create innovative product ideas, marketing strategies, business plans, and financial management systems within the targeted sectors. Ms. Schaller currently serves as an appointee to the Governor’s Ohio Food Policy Council, the Ohio Department of Agriculture Market Connections Task Force, the national Farmers Market Coalition’s Board Treasurer, as Board executive for the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and chairs the Athens Municipal Arts Commission. See for more information.

Samina Raja - University of Buffalo, Dept. of Architecture and Urban Planning
Dr. Raja’s research focuses on planning and design for healthy communities and the fiscal dimensions of planning. Her research on healthy communities examines the influence of the food and built environments on obesity and physical activity. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this topic, Dr. Raja collaborates with colleagues from UB’s School of Medicine and the School of Public Health and Health Professions. An ongoing multi-year study, conducted in collaboration with the School of Medicine, examines the effect of the built environment on obesity among youth, and has received over a million dollars in funding from the National Institute of Health.
Urban Farmer - TBA

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grey to Green Festival Features MacArthur “Genius” Award-Winner

The second annual Grey to Green Festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, in Wick Park on Youngstown’s North Side from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rep. Tim Ryan and Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams will kick off the festival at 10:30 a.m. in the Wick Park Pavilion. At 11 a.m., Will Allen, of Growing Power ( will present his vision for urban agriculture
and local food production. Allen, a 2008 recipient of the MacArthur “genius” award, has developed a $250,0000 food-growing and distribution system in inner-city Milwaukee. At 3 p.m., Allen will be part of a panel of regionally and nationally recognized speakers who will discuss ‘food racism’ and the economics of urban agriculture.

The entire festival is free and open to the public and will feature displays and information booths by “green” non-profits in the area, as well as vendors, locally sourced food, live entertainment, and earth-friendly activities for children.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal last year, Youngstown’s 2010 Plan has a large “grey-to-green” component, which provides for protection of the current green space in the city, such as public parks, and also encourages the positive use of green space that is created by the shrinkage of the city—for example, vacant lots being used for food production or planted in trees to provide carbon offsetting and natural beauty. Grey to Green is designed to increase awareness of environmental issues in general, the grey-to-green component of the 2010 plan, and the revitalization plan for Wick Park. Located in the heart of the city near Youngstown State University, Wick Park is a lovely Victorian-era greenspace populated primarily by large oaks and ringed with a fitness trail, wide sidewalks, handsome old mansions, and broad avenues. The plan for the park focuses on drawing more activity into the interior, creating diverse habitat for plants and animals, and encouraging biophilia and a closer tie to nature in the city.

Participants will include Youngstown State University; The Raymond John Wean Foundation; Grow Youngstown; Art Youngstown; Youngstown CityScapes; Defend Youngstown; Treez Please–A Community Reforestation Project; the Green Team; Oakland Center for the Arts; Youngstown Litter Control and Recycling; Commonwealth Inc.; the Northside Farmers Market; TCT Renewable Energy; Lien Forward Ohio; The Villa Shoppe; Mill Creek Metroparks; YSU SMARTS; Children’s Center for Science and Technology; Animal Charity; the Alliance for Climate Change; TimeBank Mahoning Watershed; the Audubon Society, and other environmental organizations and businesses.

There will also be a Drop and Shop, where people can bring their unwanted household items, drop them off, and take something else if they wish. (Contact, or 330-941-2238, for information about items accepted).

Also, Scott Loveland from TCT Renewable Energy will be providing an educational presentation on wind power at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian Church directly across the street from Wick Park.

Children’s activities will include a visit with Dora the Explorer as well as numerous arts and crafts activities. Rob Joki and the Magic Carpet Children’s Theater will also be premiering a new play with an environmental message. SMARTS will be on hand with their children's drumming circle. Entertainment for adults will include various bands, acoustic performers and dancers. Locally sourced food will be available for purchase.
More information is available at

The following is the schedule of events. Check back often for possible changes and additions.
10:00- 10:30 Caledonia Mission
10:30 -11:00 Mayor and Tim Ryan Opening Remarks

11:00 - 1:00 Will Allen At Pavilion

12:30 - 2:00 Polycultures: Food Where We Live (see description below) at the UU
PolyCultures: Food Where We Live is a documentary film and multi-media production project produced by LESS Productions in conjunction with the New Agrarian Center, in Cleveland. The film gets its title from the word “polyculture” which describes farm systems that mimic natural systems with diverse and interdependent elements. Polyculture is the opposite of “monoculture”- a description of the one-dimensional industrial farming systems that dominate much of Northeast Ohio.

1:00 - 1:45 Magic Carpet Theater (at Pavilion)

2:00-2:30 Dr. Ray's Amazing Sideshow of Science (at Pavilion)

2:00-2:45 Scott Loveland from TCT Renewable Energy speaks a the UU

2:30-3:00 Gospel Choir (at Pavilion)

3:00-3:30 McKelvy Raygun (at Pavilion)

3:P00-5:00 Panel Discussion at the UU with Will Allen

3:30-4:00 Brandon Martin/EOS Belly Dancers at the Pavilion

4:00-5:00 Sam Goodwill (at Pavilion)

There will also be poetry readers and Nin Andrews reading throughout the stage at the Pavilion

Nature Walks through Wick Park by Bill Whitehouse at 1-2:30 and 3:00-4:30 (starting at the Pavilion)

Ed Hallahan, area artist and art educator, has exhibited his art work both regionally and nationally. At the Grey to Green Festival he will show tree inspired sculptural work that is carved and constructed from wood and placed back into the natural tree environment where the trees support and present the sculpture and the sculpture re-presents the trees to us who view it.

In addition, the Youngstown Historical Center will present "History Kids" with a September 12 program titled "An Architectural Adventure." Students from 1 and 3pm will tour both Wick Park and downtown Youngstown to study buildings, their famous occupants and style of architecture. History Kids is for students 8 to 14. The cost of the proram is $10.00 for Ohio Historical Society members and $12.00 for non-members. Advance registration is required. Contact Keith Mann at the Youngstown Historical Center at (330) 743-5934.

The following is a list of vendors and exhibitors at the Grey to Green Festival

US Green Building Materials
The Green Building Pros Ltd.
EOS Whole Fitness and Bellydance
Audubon Society
Bill Youngman
Cats Paw Herbs
Vegetarians of Greater Youngstown
Divine Scentsations Inc.
Mahoning Valley Green Party
Firemother Designs
Energy Detectives
Mahoning River Education Project
Naturehaven Paperworks
Yo-Ho Studio
Mill Creek Metro Parks
Commonwealth Inc
Scrap Heap Sculpture
Dr. Ted Suzelis ND
The Villa Shoppe
YSU Smarts
Amber Foster
Treez Please
Green Team
Youngstown Litter Control and Recylcing
Lien Forward
Wick Neighbors
TCT Renewable Energy
Habitat for Humanity
Art Youngstown
City Scape
Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative
Grow Youngstown
YSU – Geology Department -Ray Beiersdorfer - Gem Table Exhibit
Etruscan Press
RJ Wean - Neighborhood Success Grants
Children’s Center for Science and Tecnology
Animal Charities
Youngstown for the Alliance for Climate Protection
Eco-Watch – Stephanie Spear
TimeBank Mahoning Watershed
Volunteer Services
HIRAM - Environmental Group
Lynn Anderson
CDA – Community Development Agency
Engaging Diamonds
Pride Youngstown
Goodness Grows
The Wind Chime Lady