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Liberty Avila and Sophia Buggs are Revitalizing Youngstown, Ohio with Farming - Farm Aid


Magical things are happening in Youngstown, Ohio, a city recovering from the loss of industry and looking for a fresh start. It’s a unique city, one with a strong gardening culture. As Farmer Hero Corey Maizel noted, the great location and reasonable real estate costs make it an ideal spot for farmers to start new businesses. To learn more about the exciting agricultural endeavors happening there, we talked with Liberty Avila of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) and Sophia Buggs of Lady Buggs Farm. Both are important champions of the local food movement. YNDC was founded in 2009 to revitalize the community. Not only do they renovate houses to make them available for sale and rent, they also provide business consulting for local entrepreneurs, run a local farmers market, and repurpose vacant land for community use, among other initiatives. With dedication and hard work, they are leading the effort to make Youngstown a thriving, welcoming place. Liberty, YNDC’s Land Reuse Director, was instrumental in the establishment of their urban farm, Iron Roots Farm, and continues to manage their CSA program. About a mile and a half down the road is another inspiring effort. Sophia Buggs started Lady Buggs Farm after inheriting her grandmother’s house on the South Side of Youngstown. Cultivating an urban farm was just an idea until her internship at YNDC’s Iron Roots helped to make it into a reality. Now in its seventh year, Lady Buggs Farm leases additional land from the Mahoning County Land Bank and grows produce and herbs on plots that adjoin Sophia’s house. With her daughter Passion’s help, Sophia is transforming her city. To read the full story from the Farm Aid website, click here.