As recently as 50 years ago, Cleveland had 400 acres of farmland within the city limits, producing much of the tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, and other vegetables eaten in Cuyahoga County.

Inspecting tomato plants at the Ruetnik Gardens Greenhouses, circa 1960. Photo by Cleveland Press Collection, Cleveland State University

Most of the farmland was under glass, in the greenhouses concentrated in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood and scattered around the city and region. Energy costs—and the cost of meeting new environmental regulations on energy production—hastened the demise of the greenhouse industry at a time when food production, processing and distribution was being consolidated on a national scale. But until then, Ohio didn’t really have ”local food:’ It simply had food, and most of it was local.

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