The project includes solar panels and a workshop

Project to include solar panels, workshop

By David Skolnick


An urban farm on the city’s South Side, run by the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., is expanding.

The Iron Roots Urban Farm at 820 Canfield Road is installing solar panels and building a workshop at the rear of its property.

The city’s board of zoning appeals approved a request Tuesday from the organization to reduce its rear-yard setback from 30 feet to 8 feet for the YNDC to have the room for the expansion work.

The expansion should be finished in the fall, said Liberty Merrill, YNDC’s senior program coordinator.

“The solar panels will add to our capacity” of other panels on top of a house at the property “to offset nearly all of the electricity use there,” she said.

The workshop would provide saws and powertools for those wanting to cut wood to be used to board up vacant properties in the city as well as for housing repairs and gardens, said Ian Beniston, YNDC’s deputy director.

The solar panels will cost about $38,000, and there is no final cost for the workshop, but it wouldn’t be more than $35,000, he said.

Iron Roots, built about two years ago, is a 1.5-acre working farm that trains city residents in market gardening techniques, encourages business creation on vacant land — the property was vacant when YNDC purchased it about two years ago — and helps develop small businesses that could lead to job creation.

The facility, which employs 14, also has a greenhouse with a ventilation system, a vegetable chiller and hoop houses.

YNDC is a neighborhood revitalization agency created in 2009.

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