A farm adjacent to the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland is providing organic food to event attendees, and helping the venue’s sustainability efforts. Levy Restaurants, the exclusive food and beverage provider for the venue, started the venture in 2014 with three beehives on a strip of land adjacent to the ballroom. Executive chef, general manager and urban farming enthusiast Matt Del Regno, has since expanded the number of hives to 16, producing enough honey to satisfy all the convention center’s tea and coffee needs, desserts, salad dressings, and even a line of lip balms.
Around 30 chickens provide 25 percent of the Center’s eggs, the vegetable garden provides fresh basil and thyme, 5 pounds of tomatoes a day during the summer, and all the lettuce and green beans the Convention Center needs. The most recent arrivals are three Hungarian Mangalitza hogs, named Eddie, Honey, and Sage. Originally destined to be sausages, Del Regno says, “We are urban farmers, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to kill anything to add to the menu.” The woolly-haired pigs are now part of the Center’s effort to cut down on food waste by consuming between 15 and 20 gallons of scraps a day.
The farm has been so successful that this summer, in conjunction with Ohio State University, it took part in a study on inner-city bees and pollution.