COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Mid-Ohio Food Collective and NBC4 announced a joint venture urban farm to grow up to 100,000 pounds of food annually.

A fallow 2.7 acres behind NBC4 is being converted into the Mid-Ohio Farm at NBC4. The venue will employ high-tech vertical hydroponics practices and grow dozens of plants per square foot vertically, as opposed to one plant per square foot like a traditional horizontal farm or garden.

Watch: Mid-Ohio Farm at NBC4 groundbreaking

Nearly one in five Franklin County residents experience hunger, according to a 2017 study by the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and published by Columbus Public Health. Feeding America cites that one in eight people face hunger and one in six are children. That equals more than $757 million needed annually for food.

Mid-Ohio Food Collective

On Tuesday, NBC4 and Mid-Ohio Food Collective are scheduled to have a ceremonial groundbreaking for a 1/8th-acre urban farm project. The model was set in the Hilltop area by using vertical space to grow food. This will help maximize the yield by growing up to five to ten times the amount of food of traditional horizontal farming.

Along Riverview Drive adjacent to the NBC4 studios, there are approximately 2,500 people who have moved from other parts of the world. Most are new Americans who are immigrants and asylum seekers, while others are international students who attend Ohio State University.

According to Diane Linton, the interim executive director of Riverview International Center, many residents simply want fresh veggies.

“I know many people who are gardening there,” Linton said.

They grow food in five gallons buckets along the fence line that separates the parking lots of the multiple family unit homes from NBC4’s parking lot.

“This is very exciting that this is going in because there are so many possibilities,” Linton said. “There is something new on our street to involve people in a different way than we haven’t been able to help them.”

The neighborhood is a food desert. An apartment complex replaced the grocery store that used to be within walking distance. The larger neighborhood consists of numerous restaurants and hotels.

Diane Linton
Riverview International Center

“I was excited right away. … This garden will also provide green space that people can go and walk around on.”

Ken Freedman

“It’s pretty exciting stuff. … We’re actually starting the process of bringing in the materials to grow that 100,000 plus pounds of food a year.”

Dr. Michael Dennis

“When we heard about the Mid-Ohio Farm at NBC4, we couldn’t say yes fast enough. … We saw this as a chance to embrace diversity, which we believe makes us stronger and improve the lives of those families.”