Cleveland youth program digs in

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planting club crops
Teen Nate Bledsoe prepares to plant seeds, to sell potted plants with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland. The organization's horticultural operation is located at BGCC's Broadway Club.

CLEVELAND — The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland’s farm program has become one of the first customers to purchase a sustainable potting soil produced from herbs and vegetables that would otherwise be wasted.

Rust Belt Riders, a five-year-old organization that works with northeast Ohio businesses, organizations and individuals to provide a food-waste alternative to landfills, recently picked up its first load of “Tilth Soil” to BGCC’s Club Crops program.

Club Crops Manager Hannah Bidigare-Curtis said teens in the program will use the soil to plant seedlings and sell potted plants.

Club Crops is one of the largest Boys & Girls Clubs horticultural operations in the country.

Last year, teens working at the farm produced 46 varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs and sold the produce at local farmers markets.

This spring, Rust Belt Riders, which was founded in 2014, launched a line of potting mixes and soil amendments under the name Tilth Soil to improve access to high quality, locally sourced, landscape supplies.

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