project leader
McKinzy L
15000 Woodworth Rd
(East Cleveland)
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the project

I have worked with Food Strong since I was a student at Iowa Maple Elementary School in 2016. At that time, my siblings and I participated in Food Strong's School Garden program. Due to COVID-19, Food Strong built a Learning Garden at the Coit Road Farmers Market to serve as a consistently-available, safe outdoor learning environment where small groups of learners can convene and learn in in-person, meaningful activities. Right now, there are very few in-person, enriching opportunities for neighborhood youth to participate in. It is taking its toll on the mental and social health of my peers. This Learning Garden is essential for youth to gather to learn about gardening, nutrition, entrepreneurship, environment, community building and service, and much more. Food Strong ties all programming to the Farmers Market, where students practice selling and creating healthy dishes with their freshly-grown foods. This  Learning Garden space is still new and needs a lot of resources. We are looking to acquire a shipping container to securely store program materials and build out a composting toilet, covered thermal composting unit, vertical agriculture, and more. We will attach a pavilion to the shipping container under which students can learn in an open-air, pandemic-friendly environment. Check out our site design included on this ioby campaign page. As a student and partner of Food Strong, this project is giving me valuable skills I can use in the future and will give me a place to store the supplies my nonprofit distributes to the community at events such as Food Strong's Care-A-Van wellness program. This project is vital to the development and success of Food Strong's new Learning Garden program, which is poised to offer vital outreach to the most vulnerable populations of East Cleveland, Glenville, Collinwood, and other nearby east side neighborhoods.



the steps

Once we have raised the money we need from this project, we will pay for the acquisition and delivery of a 20 ft by 8 ft shipping container. We will then build our learning pavilion off of the container, as well as a composting toilet, rain collection, covered composting, and other constructions. We have a close partnership with Amish people from Garrettsville, Ohio, who will give us a great rate to build our pavilion. We will engage our Learning Garden students in the design and build-out of the space. We aim to complete construction by the middle of November 2020. This will allow us to have a safe, pandemic-friendly learning space to bring youth together for years to come.

why we're doing it

During my younger years, I had a really rough time adapting to the things changing around me. That problem causes larger issues such as getting kicked out of schools, fighting, etc. I moved to Cleveland in 2016. I started off going to Iowa Maple and made a few bad decisions before getting expelled. I started school at FDR and still didn't care for education. My siblings still attended Iowa Maple and they had the opportunity to join Food Strong's Green Team at the school. They invited me to the meeting and I didn't make a great first impression at all. I fought as soon as I met Ms.Sara. She allowed me to cool down and still attend the meeting. I continued attending the meetings because it provided a place to clear my head, I was surrounded by loving people, and I had no reason to be angry. The whole Food Strong experience changed my whole perspective on how I look at life, it showed me that I could use my anger and change the problems I saw instead of creating more problems and hurting others by the actions I was taking.

I started my own project called Golden Stepping Stones, for which I help those in need and from broken homes. My target is youth but I am very open to helping everyone. I've held multiple events such as clothing giveaways, school supplies gives aways, book giveaways, and a large event where I brought in multiple resources such as Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Greater Cleveland Foodbank, Cleveland Metro Parks, Job and Family Services, National Gaurd, etc. We also gave the youth in the neighborhood to promote their talents to record labels, dj’s, and many producers. After my large events, I attended many radio shows and conferences to promote my project. While doing that I was still volunteering for many nonprofits around the city including Food Strong. I've written several grants for my project with Food Strong supporting me as my fiscal sponsor.

The reason I am very passionate about this project is I want to be able to help provide the community I live in with vital needs. I have witnessed firsthand the impact that Food Strong can make. This shipping container will not only allow the organization to store its many program supplies and construct various agricultural additions around it, but it will also bring socialization and much-needed in-person education into the community. It will help Food Strong continue to will also support access to fresh foods in an area where it is really needed (East Cleveland). This will also help teach people the importance of agriculture during times like the Covid-19 Pandemic when food insecurity continues to rise. I am also very passionate because this gives me the opportunity to continue doing what I love which is helping people. Food Strong will allow me to store my materials for Golden Stepping Stones in the container so that I can continue to offer resources to those in need (and the need continues to rise due to the pandemic). We don't know where life is going to take us, but I want to help people prepare.



Disbursed budget:

$2000- Purchase and deliver a shipping container 

$2000- Supplies to construct a composting toilet, attached awning for shade, wood, solar panels, covered composter

$250- Shelves to organize supplies in container

$1,828- Labor to set the project up (with more funds, we are able to hire more professionals in building out our shipping container)

TOTAL RAISED = $5,991.00 $5,991.00
ioby Platform Fee waived $35.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $89.85 $88.80
TOTAL TO DISBURSE= $5,901.15 $5,867.20

Original budget:

$2000- Purchase and deliver a shipping container 

$1000- Supplies to construct a composting toilet, wood, solar panels, covered composter

$500- Labor to set the project up

ioby Platform Fee     waived
"ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) (Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)"    $59
TOTAL TO RAISE =    $3,559
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.    


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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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