TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – if you live in Toledo, you have probably driven past it several times. It is farmland right in the middle of the city.

The man with a mission is Thomas Jackson.

“Let me beautify my neighborhood, redevelop my neighborhood, grow the food that’s going to change the eating habits of my neighbors, and to acquire the wealth from it,” said Jackson.

He began urban farming here in Toledo about 10 years ago, buying vacant lots in a neighborhood near Auburn Ave.

He is turning them into what he calls “beds” for fresh produce.

Last we spoke with Jackson in 2022, he only had four beds, now he has six. He says he is hoping soon, there will be 10.

Recent success has not come without its road blocks, though.

Some neighbors have pushed back against the urban farming initiative and according to Jackson, some local leaders.

“People just don’t like change,” Jackson said.

Now, federal leaders are acknowledging Jackson’s success.

“This is more than a fad. This is likely to be something that is going to catch on and be an important part of our food system and so we just need to support that,” said Dr. Dewayne Goldmon, Senior Advisor for Racial Justice and Equity to US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I think just the ability to compare and contrast and help people find solutions to problems that come up it’s going to be a likely positive outcome from the visit here today.”

“I always saw the light at the end of the tunnel it just brought the tunnel closer,” Jackson said.

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