Mansfield Frazier is tackling food deserts, racial inequality, and urban decay. And he’s doing it all at once, in one block of Cleveland, which he has dubbed Chateau Hough. The plot of land is a vineyard and greenhouse managed by the nonprofit, Neighborhood Solutions.
Frazier, a reformed convict, has taken one block of blighted land in Cleveland and turned it into a vineyard and the world’s first biocellar—something Frazier describes as “a root cellar crossed with a greenhouse.” The biocellar is repurposed from the basement of a house that used to stand on the property. Now cold-weather plants such as kale, mushrooms, and spinach thrive there. “It’s about growing crops in the wintertime, revitalizing local neighborhoods and creating wealth in the inner city,” he says.
But Frazier is doing so much more than growing grapes and mushrooms; he is changing lives. Chateau Hough employs formerly incarcerated people. As the author of From Behind the Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race, Frazier outlines how difficult it can be to transition to life outside of prison. Chateau Hough gives recently-released prisoners a chance to learn new job skills and make a living.
Chateau Hough also has its own Little Free Library. Tomorrow I will have the privilege of seeing the fruits of Mansfield’s efforts and donating a few books to the library. To learn more about the good work he is doing, visit http://chateauhough.org/ and check out this profile in Conscious Company Magazine.