REAP the Benefit 2015, “Night on the Farm” welcomed 350 guests into the Ohio City Farm to benefit The Refugee Response in Northeast Ohio.
Cleveland Dames Paula Hershman, Marla Monzo Holmes, Maggie Harrison, Shara Bohach, and Carol Hacker lended their hands as volunteers throughout the evening.
The Refugee Response empowers refugees to become self-sufficient and contributing members of their new community. Services offered by The Refugee Response include home tutoring, an academic scholarship program and the Refugee Empowerment Agricultural Program (REAP). Managing sites at both the Ohio City Farm and Urban Community School, the organization employs farm trainees. These trainees have cultivated and distributed more than 20,000 pounds of produce and have supported the weekly delivery of food to 119 community supported agriculture (CSA) members this past year. Produce grown on the farms is available to trainees and their families, donated to hunger centers, sold on-site at a retail stand and purchased by contract from a host of local restaurants.
Several of the chef and restaurant partners attended the “Night on the Farm” to prepare seasonal cuisine. Music and dance was provided by members of Cleveland’s Bhutanese and Burmese communities. The highlight of the evening was the introduction of Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, who has dedicated his life’s work to spreading the philosophy of non-violence. A journalist, activist, author and “peace farmer,” Arun Gandhi’s work in social and economic justice has touched millions throughout the world.