Mon 1/1 @ 10AM-3PM
The annual New Year’s Day Hair of the Dog fundraiser finds Community Greenhouse Partners founder and executive director Timothy D. Smith merging his two passions: Not only does he love to promote urban farming, but once a former omelet chef, always an omelet cook.
CoolCleveland talked to Smith about the nonprofit farm, its popular intern program and the Hair of the Dog fundraiser taking place Mon 1/1 at its Superior Avenue location in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood.
CoolCleveland: Here we are again talking about urban farming while all of the while thinking about those tasty omelets.
TS: It’s great. At last year’s Hair of the Dog we had about 85 to 90 people show up. We made a lot of omelets and raised a lot of money, which helped pay the bills. I’ve actually been doing this for close to 30 years. It’s probably has to do with just the fact I’m one of those people who believes that the people you spend the first of the year with are the people who will have the biggest impact on your life. So I try to surround myself with lots and lots of really good people. And new people are always cool too. I’ve always said bring a friend, bring a stranger, bring whoever.
CC: Tell us about the fundraising aspect.
TS: It’s not the kind of thing that would make or break the future of the organization if we don’t make a lot of money, but it helps. The winter months are lean for a farm, obviously. So anything that can help us bring in a couple of bucks and help us pay the light bill and gas bill is worth it. We take whatever food that comes in, the stuff we buy for the event, whatever we don’t use, we store. We save. We freeze. And then that is food for the interns to use over the next few weeks.
CC: How important are interns to the Community Greenhouse Partners experience?
TS: This is what makes us kind of unique. We have a residential internship program where people live at the house and the farm. They work 25 or so hours a week and in exchange they get a room, meals, facilities and the use of the computer. Everything they need is provided in exchange for their labor. They’re also taught how to be urban farmers and how to build raised beds, hoop houses. How to grow food in the winter. How to deal with pests. And how to do this all organically. They get certification in a couple of different fields as well. We usually get a bunch of summer interns that are just with us for three to five months. Part of urban farming is it’s a year-round process, it’s not just when it gets warm.
CC: Regarding urban farming, is there a movement?
TS: Oh, absolutely, both locally and across the nation. We’ve got some really good programs going on here in Cleveland. You have the giant urban farm behind the West Side Market. There’s a wonderful program that’s connected to the Hitchcock Center for Women on Ansel Road. There’s all sorts of projects throughout town.
CC: Back to the omelets, how many eggs do you normally go through for the Hair of the Dog affair?
TS: Well, last year I’d say more than 250 eggs. I used to be an omelet chef. My favorite is sort of the everything omelet. It’s all of the meats, plus cheese, plus a little bit of microgreens just to pretend we’re being healthy.