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Exciting news at Stearns Homestead


Historic farm to partner with Cleveland Crops

April 22, 2013 

Jeannie Roberts (440) 885-8181 / (216) 346-9935

PARMA – Stearns Homestead is partnering with Cleveland Crops to create an urban farm on the   48-acre historic site in the heart of Parma – a move to further enhance the attraction as a destination.

Created by the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Board of DD), Cleveland Crops operates eight sites across the county and will grow fruits and vegetables on 17 acres at the homestead. The locally grown produce will be sold to restaurants and to farmers' markets, including Stearns'.

Cleveland Crops, part of the Board of DD's Solutions At Work program, will begin working at Stearns Homestead in May. On Wednesday, the Parma Planning Commission will consider approval of, among other things, a small pole barn and a small parking lot on the 17 acres at the homestead.

"This is an exciting time for Stearns Homestead," Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter said. "This will further enhance the unique experience Stearns offers people and perhaps make it even more of a destination for families. It is another step in remaking a vital corridor in Parma that includes the redevelopment of the mall and the construction of the new library."

In collaboration with The Ohio State University Extension office, Cleveland Crops was designed to help provide agricultural training to adults with developmental disabilities, improve urban environments, and increase access to healthy, locally grown food. The Board of DD's Superintendent and CEO Kelly Petty said the organization is pleased to establish this partnership with Parma.

The board already has a footprint in the city with the Parma Activities Center and the Just-A-Buck Store.

"This latest partnership opportunity allows us to expand our urban farming venture into a part of Cuyahoga County that it has not yet reached, and we think it fits ideally with the city’s Stearns Homestead," Petty said. "We have 8 to15 men and women who have developmental disabilities who look forward to beginning to make this site flourish in May.”

Stearns Homestead, owned by the city and operated by the Parma Area Historical Society, includes the farmers' market as well as a country store, two farmhouse museums and a historic barn. Stearns also features farm animals, a favorite for children and all visitors.

"We are thrilled with this partnership," said Ruth Fay, president of the Parma Area Historical Society. "It'll complement and build upon what we already offer residents. Stearns Homestead is a real gem in the middle of Parma, and we hope this partnership makes it even more of an attraction."

West Creek Conservancy, which works with Cleveland Crops, helped to facilitate the conversation leading to the partnership.

"Part of our role is to bring people together and partner on projects," said Derek Schafer, Conservation Project Manager and Watershed Coordinator with West Creek. "We've been happy to match Cleveland Crops' expertise and needs with various properties throughout the county, providing an amicable mix of farming and conservation practices. We are thrilled about their investment in Parma, and believe this will be a very successful collaboration."

Councilmen Al Divis and Scott Tuma said they think this partnership signals more good news for the city and their wards, each of which include a part of Stearns Homestead.

"Not only is this positive for Stearns Homestead," Tuma said, "but it's exciting for the entire city."

Said Divis: "This will help make Stearns even more of a draw for families. It'll also help promote an important part of our city."