We are an art and ecology based non-profit that stewards the EcoGarden, an organic community permaculture garden at the cusp of Over-the-Rhine and Mount Auburn, Cincinnati. You can find our garden at 1718 Main Street and our kitchen at 1636 Main Street.
Visit us! The EcoGarden is open for foragers and visitors at all times of the year. Permaganic has transformed the once farm-style plot into a urban permaculture paradise with fruit trees, native plants, berries and labyrinths. The garden also includes annual fruits, greens and vegetables.
We address food insecurity through the distribution of nutritious and free food. Our youth program provides a paid, hands-on educational experience to youth in our neighborhood in the design, science, business, service learning, and ecology of growing, preparing, and distributing healthy food.
The EcoGarden from seed to fruit
Our story takes place in Over-the-Rhine, a neighborhood of Cincinnati that historically faces dilapidation and vacancy of buildings, high crime rates, and lack of accessibility to assets necessary for well-being, such as green space and grocery. In 1998, the community and its partners took action. Turner Farm, the Civic Garden Center, and IMPACT Over-the-Rhine collaborated to build a community garden on a third of an acre located at 1718 Main Street. This small but mighty piece of green was born as a space to bring people together under the healing power of nature and real food.
Much more than green space, the EcoGarden is direct community empowerment in an area that was named the most dangerous neighborhood in America at the time. In 2004, two DAAP graduates, Luke and Angela Ebner, walked into the picture as youth program teachers. They fell in love with the garden and the youth! The garden deepened and expanded under their guidance. Luke continues to be inspired by the principles and practices of permaculture, a movement to follow nature’s cycles and patterns to accelerate biodiversity and abundance in our ecological and human communities.
Stewardship of the EcoGarden passed hands from community activist organizations: from IMPACT OTR, which merged into Memorial Inc, and finally to the non-profit Permaganic, founded by the Ebners in 2010 to continue the life of the garden. Permaganic and its partners have persevered through the threat of losing the garden to housing development plans in 2007, 2012, and 2014. Despite the challenge, we have accomplished so much!
Our successes include youth training and adult training and certification programs, farmers market produce sales, CSA shares (free produce boxes for families experiencing food insecurity), and frequent free meals and groceries served from our community kitchen. The kitchen allows youth in the EcoGarden programs to stay involved all year long, and for us to serve the neighborhood every week, offering a space for both healthy food and welcoming community.
Luke Ebner is the current Executive Director of Permaganic, co. After graduating from UC in 2004 with a Fine Arts degree, Luke jumped right into the EcoGarden. Since co-founding Permaganic in 2010, he has helped to transform the garden into a developed food forest with many fruit trees and perennials.