Innovation and Impact: Past Projects

Near West Empowerment + Renewal Approaches

Project Description

My fellowship project will work off the exceptional successes of the summer internship program I founded in December of 2009 and put to action a community-born vision for addressing food access and affordability on the Near West Side of Cleveland. I will work in partnership with myriad Cleveland non-profits, the Cleveland local foods community and Near West Side residents to start a cooperative food market. To lay the groundwork for the food cooperative, I will work with a group of my Near West Empowerment + Renewal (NeWER) Approaches summer interns to research viable models for the cooperative market. Specifically serving the needs of South Tremont (SoTre) and Clark-Fulton residents, the market will provide access to affordable, healthy food in this urban food desert. 2 The market’s business plan will build on existing cooperative business models that have been implemented on the east side of Cleveland to bring economic growth to under-served communities. The initial vision emerged from conversations with Near West Side residents and was presented in a policy brief released by the 2010 summer program policy team. The concept and model for the coop have since evolved significantly — thanks to my vision and the input of community partners — into the proposal I am putting forward for the Creativity and Leadership Fellowship. The market will maintain its relationship with the NeWER Approaches summer internship program, as this partnership will amplify the successes of the market due to the research capacity, resources and intellectual capital offered by the program.