Carrots, tomatoes, green beans, and grapevines – which of these things is not like the other? While community gardens are best known for fresh, seasonal produce, one local garden is mixing things up and expanding its crop with the addition of a vineyard.
Rising Harvest Farm was established in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood in 2012 as a sustainable urban farming system serving the local community; creating employment and educational opportunities; improving the availability of healthy food; and supporting Cleveland’s green efforts. Now the farm is taking on a new name, new operator, and a unique new flare.
Vino Veritas, a local winery which produces, markets and sells its wine throughout the region has taken over operations of the farm and is transforming it into a full-fledged urban winery with the planting of more than 800 grapevines. Community garden plots will continue to be available for residents, and eligible disabled citizens will continue to work in the garden. However, the grapevines will give the farm a new, distinct look – and a new revenue stream.
While the farm was successful from a community garden standpoint, finances continue to be a challenge without an enterprise capable of sustaining the farm through sales and marketing of goods and services. Vino Veritas has begun building a beautiful winery on the land that will not only grow its grapes but will also utilize the farm commissary and kitchen for wine labeling and distribution.
Vino Veritas’ owners fell in love with the idea of expanding their business in a Cleveland neighborhood. “I am beyond excited about the notion of an urban winery,” says vintner and owner Anthony Nunes Insana. “I love being a part of the community where neighbors can do their gardening, we can provide assistance to our disabilities community and at the same time produce quality wines.”
Insana states that although the farm will not serve wine on the premises until June, wine tasting is available for sales of bottled wine. Designs for the winery, which will see employment grow in the future, include a farm-to-table banquet facility, pond, gazebo, and a brick walking path throughout the property. Seasonal entertainment and activities to engage the surrounding community include a pumpkin patch, a holiday tree farm and cider tasting, and grape crushing events.
The land is being leased to the Cuyahoga Land Bank from the City of Cleveland, which continues to support quality community gardens and green space for its citizens. The Cuyahoga Land Bank, in turn, was authorized to sublease the farm to Vino Veritas.
Welcome to the neighborhood (garden) Vino Veritas. Saluti!