GLENVILLE, Ohio - Nineteen-year-old Shamar Johnson was harvesting eggplant when we spoke with him on Thursday.

What You Need To Know

  • The Famicos Foundation works to improve neighborhoods throughout Cleveland

  • The foundation is teaching the community how to maintain a garden and grow their own food

  • With grant funding from through the USDA, the foundation will be able to educate young people in East Cleveland

He does so on a three acre plot of land in the middle of East Cleveland.

"What I like about agriculture is you can be outside in nature and you can grow your own food and you don't have to worry about it being too dirty or rotten or tainted with," he said.

Johnson was introduced to gardening throuh the Famicos Foundation.

The Foundation focuses on reveitalizing Cleveland neighborhoods, creating affordable housing and providing social services like urban agriculture.



Erica Burnett is the Director of Community Building and Engagement. She's also a mentor to Shamar.

"'What if you didn't have a grocery store? What if trucks stop moving and delivering food to the grocery stores you have access to? What would you do? How would you be self sufficient,' So this is one way of creating of model that is self-sufficient that they can do themselves. They can learn a skill. They can take this skill wherever they want. If they choose a path of getting income from this, they can do that. If they want to do it as a hobby, they can do that, but they at least know that they can do something that they can grow in their backyard in a community garden and it's something that they can do to provide food for them and their families," she said.

In August, the foundation was awarded first of it's kind grant funding through the USDA, which will allow it to teach agriculture to kindergarten through eigth grade students at the Stonebrook Michael R. White CMSD campus in the spring.

As for Shamar, the program is inspiring him to dream of one day where he will be able to turn his newfound love into a career.

"In the future, I want agriculture to take me as far as it can. I want to have my own land, my own farm and use agriculture to my advantage and helping people in my community because there's not a lot of cultivators in the world or in my city," he said.