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SEEKING OUR NEXT VISIONARY LEADER

Franklinton Farms’ Executive Director, Nick Stanich, is phasing out of his role by the end of 2019, and we are actively recruiting for future leadership to grow the legacy of our farm and community food system work! Here is a note from Nick reflecting on his time at Franklinton Farms, and the position posting:

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Dear Franklinton Farms Community,

Over the past decade I’ve dedicated a great deal of my life to building Franklinton Farms, and I want you to be among the first to know of my decision to transition out of my role as Executive Director by the end of 2019. Leading and directing the growth of our grassroots farming organization has been both challenging and extremely rewarding. I am very grateful to the community of support we have cultivated along the way.

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I moved to Franklinton in 2010, inspired to establish and demonstrate a multi-household model of home-scale urban gardening that was accessible to anyone, regardless of income, and that was applicable throughout the United States. Franklinton, an inner-city neighborhood of largely Appalachian heritage struggling with decades of disinvestment and the stigmatic label of a “food desert,” seemed like a great place to start. Within a few days of moving to Franklinton I was surprised to meet a small group of volunteer gardeners fully giving themselves to recreate Franklinton’s foodscape through their grassroots initiative, known as Franklinton Gardens. This group had built 5 gardens and a well-respected reputation from 2007-2010 as they dedicated inspirational grassroots passion to advance their mission of "Growing Food, Creating Beauty, and Building Community.”  I was thrilled to learn that the local Episcopal Diocese was sponsoring and recruiting for an AmeriCorps VISTA member to further support these efforts. I had boundless vision and energy about how blighted urban landscapes could be transformed into beautiful and productive foodscapes, and I saw this as a great opportunity to direct my vision into action. Without hesitation I signed up for a year of AmeriCorps service and dove into a brand new world of philanthropy, volunteerism, small business development, and urban farming. Nearly 10 years later, after countless spurts and stumbles and a great deal of support from hundreds of local and national funders, we have built the largest urban vegetable farm in Columbus and achieved national recognition as an organization that is successfully using urban agriculture as a tool to transform communities into vibrant and healthy foodscapes.

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I am so proud of the collective accomplishment of our organization since our humble beginnings as a community garden just 12 years ago. Through the support of thousands of volunteers, a diverse community of philanthropists and grantors, and a few staff, we have built a truly inspirational grassroots urban farming movement in our neighborhood, and I am grateful that Franklinton Farms can serve as a model of inspiration for others working to transform food swamps into food oases!  In just a decade we learned, through daily trial and error, how to use a mountain of sweat equity and a handful of dollars to build one of the largest vegetable farms in Central Ohio in one of the most underserved communities in America. Some of the more notable accomplishments we’ve built since 2011 include: 1) a year-round food distribution system that serves 55 neighborhood households through a weekly delivery of the Farms’ produce (CSA), a seasonal neighborhood farmstand, seasonal weekly donations to neighborhood charities that support those struggling with homelessness and addiction recovery, and year-round farmers markets; 2) a volunteer program that annually welcomes over 1,000 people from across Columbus; 3) construction of 12 year-round food production gardens within a 2-block radius that comprise our farm and contribute a potential annual food production value of well over $300,000; 4) two renovated residences that support farm staff and a nearly renovated commercial building that will serve as our Farm's produce packing and storage facility; 5) and a Community Learning Garden that serves as a “third place” in our community that will host its first community garden educator later this year.

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My decision to transition from the role of Executive Director comes from a place of contentment and assurance of our organization’s sustainable foundation and great capacity for growth in the areas of social enterprise, volunteerism, gardening education, and neighborhood food security. The perpetuation of physical and mental health problems that plague Franklinton are opportunities for government and philanthropic leaders to continue supporting our urban farm’s programming to ensure everyone can access the benefits of garden nutrition, garden therapy, and being a cherished member of a nurturing food community. Franklinton Farms is a national model that exemplifies how urban agriculture can transform food swamps into more healthy neighborhoods, and my transition within the organization presents an exciting opportunity for new leadership with fresh ideas, energy, and resources to strengthen Franklinton Farms’ impact.

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Over the months ahead I will be working closely with our transition team to prepare for this shift in leadership and I am confident that the resiliency of our personnel, community relationships, Board of Directors, and budget, will ensure a smooth transition and a great future for Franklinton Farms. All of our funded and proposed programs will continue as planned and this transition announcement does not immediately affect the strategic direction of the organization.  We will post a formal position description this summer and we welcome your support with the search to find Franklinton Farms’ next inspired and visionary leader.

I am thrilled and so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with all of you to build Franklinton Farms as an expression of hyperlocal and wholesome food community. You are part of the network of support that has made this work possible, and that will be instrumental in supporting our future success.  Thank you for your support over the past years and stay tuned for updates on how we advance our work in Franklinton in the years to come!

Sincerely,

Nick Stanich

Executive Director, Franklinton Farms

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HISTORY

We were founded in 2007 by a group of new neighborhood residents committed to environmental sustainability and social justice. They first worked out the intersection of these commitments by building and maintaining a small community garden on vacant city land. The site was named Franklinton Gardens and provided space to care for the land, grow food, and build relationships with long-term neighborhood residents.

As the organizers listened to the stories of others, they began to understand how difficult it was to access healthy foods—in particular, fresh fruits and vegetables—in Franklinton. In response, they acquired more vacant land, grew more food, and shared more broadly with their neighbors. The outcome was a multi-acre network of food production sites scattered throughout the neighborhood’s urban landscape.

In time, the evolving collective became aware of other economic, environmental, and social challenges regularly experienced by their neighbors in Franklinton. This led them to expand into broader food systems work as a way to create equity and build resilience in Franklinton. More than a decade from its start, Franklinton Farms continues to work with neighbors and community partners to build a farm and local food system that improves food security, provides economic opportunity, and supports healthy futures for all.


Mission

Franklinton Farms is a nonprofit urban farm dedicated to growing and sharing food, creating beauty, and building community with our neighbors.

FOOD

It is difficult to access healthy food options in Franklinton. As a result, the neighborhood has some of the city’s highest rates of nutrition-related chronic health issues and infant mortality. We utilize urban farming and neighborhood distribution programs to improve food security and support healthy futures for our neighbors.

Beauty

In spite of ongoing redevelopment efforts, Franklinton still shows the effects of decades of divestment. It is most visible in the hundreds of blighted structures and vacant lots scattered throughout the neighborhood. We use bio-intensive agriculture to transform these neglected spaces into colorful foodscapes filled with uniquely-shaped high tunnels, orderly production rows, perennial flowers, beneficial insects, pollinators, and other wildlife.

Community

Franklinton is a rapidly diversifying community with deep Appalachian roots. Unfortunately, many of our neighbors live below the poverty line and experience severe economic, environmental, and social challenges. We use urban farming and food systems work to connect with our neighbors, overcome injustice, and build equitable community for all.

 

Vision

We believe that sustainable agriculture and good food have the power to transform. We envision a neighborhood and food system that respects the land, values all people, and celebrates community. Our work is guided by four organizational goals:

HISTORY

We were founded in 2007 by a group of new neighborhood residents committed to environmental sustainability and social justice. They first worked out the intersection of these commitments by building and maintaining a small community garden on vacant city land. The site was named Franklinton Gardens and provided space to care for the land, grow food, and build relationships with long-term neighborhood residents.

As the organizers listened to the stories of others, they began to understand how difficult it was to access healthy foods—in particular, fresh fruits and vegetables—in Franklinton. In response, they acquired more vacant land, grew more food, and shared more broadly with their neighbors. The outcome was a multi-acre network of food production sites scattered throughout the neighborhood’s urban landscape.

In time, the evolving collective became aware of other economic, environmental, and social challenges regularly experienced by their neighbors in Franklinton. This led them to expand into broader food systems work as a way to create equity and build resilience in Franklinton. More than a decade from its start, Franklinton Farms continues to work with neighbors and community partners to build a farm and local food system that improves food security, provides economic opportunity, and supports healthy futures for all.


Mission

Franklinton Farms is a nonprofit urban farm dedicated to growing and sharing food, creating beauty, and building community with our neighbors.

FOOD

It is difficult to access healthy food options in Franklinton. As a result, the neighborhood has some of the city’s highest rates of nutrition-related chronic health issues and infant mortality. We utilize urban farming and neighborhood distribution programs to improve food security and support healthy futures for our neighbors.

Beauty

In spite of ongoing redevelopment efforts, Franklinton still shows the effects of decades of divestment. It is most visible in the hundreds of blighted structures and vacant lots scattered throughout the neighborhood. We use bio-intensive agriculture to transform these neglected spaces into colorful foodscapes filled with uniquely-shaped high tunnels, orderly production rows, perennial flowers, beneficial insects, pollinators, and other wildlife.

Community

Franklinton is a rapidly diversifying community with deep Appalachian roots. Unfortunately, many of our neighbors live below the poverty line and experience severe economic, environmental, and social challenges. We use urban farming and food systems work to connect with our neighbors, overcome injustice, and build equitable community for all.

 

Vision

We believe that sustainable agriculture and good food have the power to transform. We envision a neighborhood and food system that respects the land, values all people, and celebrates community. Our work is guided by four organizational goals:

Access

Create a farm and local food system that provide good food for all.

resilience

Care for the land and improve the environmental strength of our neighborhood.

opportunity

Contribute to a local economy that offers good jobs and fair pay for our neighbors.

Equity

Collaborate to build a community that values and includes all people.

 
 
 

The connectivity that my food brought me to my community was tangible.

Rebecca Brown, CSA Member 

 
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Team

Nick Stanich
Executive Director/VISTA Supervisor

Michelle Nowak
Farm Manager 

Brett Burgett
Volunteer and Administrative Coordinator

Jean Paul Pompeo
Farm Construction & Design Systems (VISTA)

Aly Gordon
Education & Outreach (VISTA)

Peggy Murphy

Buckeye ISA Coordinator


Partners

 

Supporters

 
 

Ready to help?

Volunteer

Donate

 
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