This morning, the Franklin County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution allocating $181,270 to support a community farm in partnership with the Mid-Ohio Food Collective and located at the NBC4 headquarters on Olentangy River Road. Today’s grant is the latest action in support of the Local Food Action Plan of Columbus and Franklin County
, which seeks to address inequities in residents’ access to healthy, affordable food, and to strengthen the local food economy and supply chain.
“We partnered with city council in 2014 to create the Local Food Action Plan because we saw that many of our residents couldn’t easily find food that was both healthy and affordable,” said Board of Commissioners President John O’Grady. “We knew that strengthening the local food system would make that food more accessible, and it also supports local growers and makes our community more resilient.”
The Mid-Ohio Farm at NBC4 will strengthen the local food system and increase access to locally grown produce by combining traditional and modern agricultural techniques such as vertical growing towers, greenhouses, and community garden boxes, and will incorporate food processing and storage capabilities. The farm will serve the neighborhood surrounding the NBC4 headquarters, which is home to a diverse population that includes many students and a growing New American community.
“The Mid-Ohio Farm at NBC4 is a unique partnership that connects neighbors to fresh nutritious food while educating our entire community on the importance of local agriculture,” said Matt Habash, President and CEO of the Mid-Ohio Food Collective. “Franklin county’s support is vital in building a sustainable local food system that will help create hunger-free, healthier communities. Together, we are making every acre count.”
The Mid-Ohio Farm at NBC4 also advances implementation of the Local Food Action Plan by expanding access to urban agriculture, engaging and supporting those most impacted by health disparities, developing critical infrastructure for local food production and processing, and repurposing underdeveloped sites.
“Even in the heart of the city and near the university, some parts of our community still lack food access,” said Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce. “For 53 years, there was a full-service grocery store less than half a mile from this new community farm, but it closed six years ago, and left the local residents with very few nearby options to find healthy, affordable food. The new Mid-Ohio Farm at NBC4 is a step in the right direction for them and for Franklin County.”
In 2018, the commissioners published their Rise Together Blueprint
to address poverty, which lists as one of its goals, an effort to improve overall environmental conditions in neighborhoods, including by providing greater access to nutritious affordable food, and specifically suggesting the repurposing of vacant land for local food system uses.
“Agriculture is ingrained in Ohio’s history and present economy and Franklin County is no exception. It is my hope that the Mid-Ohio farm at NBC4 not only will fulfill a vital need in our community but also partner with our Urban Roots program to introduce youth to a plethora of ag-related careers from food production, natural resources, plant systems, and others,” said Franklin County Commissioner Erica C. Crawley. “As many as 18% of Franklin County children may not know where their next meal is coming from, and it’s our responsibility and mission as leaders to help make sure that those families have the opportunities and tools they need to not just survive, but to thrive.”
NBC4 and the Mid-Ohio Food Collective have worked together before, and it was the TV station that first brought the idea for the Mid-Ohio Farm at NBC4 to the Food Collective’s leadership as a way to put the 2.7 acres of unused land behind the station to work for the community. Since breaking ground in 2022, NBC4 employees, corporate partners, and community residents have worked together to grow the farm which, it is hoped, will eventually produce as much as 35,000 pounds of food each year. Residents can visit MOFC.org
for more information on the work to end hunger in Franklin County and to learn about how to get involved at the farm.