Growing Wellness in One Cleveland Community

Cleveland Glenville Garden Wheatgrass shots Trotter Juice Bar

One of the most time-honored tenets of natural farming is the understanding that sometimes you have to destroy unhealthy crops in order to create fertile soil for new growth.

That’s what Victoria Trotter is doing as she grows her Glenville garden and Young Entrepreneurs for Global Change program. It hasn’t been easy, but it is powerful – especially when you hear her talk about always listening to yourself, following your path and trusting the universe. It’s as if she’s advising others and herself at the same time.

“You can plant a seed,” she said, “and then wait for it to harvest.”

Trotter has done exactly this. She tried her hardest to leave Glenville, where she was raised in her family business, Trotter Cleaners.  But plans to move to Atlanta halted when her mom, Claire Naylor – who was running the cleaners – worked herself to exhaustion and got sick. So, in 1990, Trotter started working at the cleaner part time and commuting to classes at Akron University, where she earned a full scholarship to the law school.

Strained but determined, Trotter started juicing and going to the gym. The only problem was, there wasn’t a gym nearby, and fresh juice, when available, was way too expensive for anyone to afford on a regular basis. This is what inspired her to put up the two existing hoop houses that can function all year long. Now she’s ready to start building garden boxes and educating the community.

May 19 is the 1st annual Glenville Choose Wellness Day kicking off this project (changed from April 21).

Trotter’s calling on the community to help her build a garden to provide produce, like ginger and wheat grass, to be turned into juice to nourish the neighborhood, which will plant and tend the garden, creating more open and nurturing neighbors capable of empowering young leaders who just need their own fresh start. It’s simple, really.

“The hope is to get started with at least 10 beds,” Trotter said. All funds raised or grants received will go toward the entrepreneur program, which includes a design studio.

It’s been over a year since Trotter made the hard decision to close her 48-year-old family business, but she was done with the cleaner’s.

“Nobody understood it; even me,” she said. “I’ve never been more uncomfortable in my life, but I never felt so free.” It was her mom – happy, healthy and remarried in Texas – who always showed her how to follow her dreams. She also guided Trotter by example in always helping the community.

Another passion of Trotter’s is educating people about climate change and the impact of living greener lives. This is why she’s trying upgrade the cleaner’s boiler with solar panels to power the hoop houses. There’s also a stage on her property, which will allow anyone with important messages to share their ideas. Ideas, after all, are what shape the world and everything in it.

“The real reason for this is the youth incubator,” Trotter said.

Her message to young people is: “Let me show you how to start your own job with your own imagination.”

  • Comment below and let Victoria know you’d like to help bring her dream to life! Or fill out the contact form here, and we’ll pass on your message of support.
  • Grow a community garden on the 1st annual Glenville Choose Wellness Day, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ages 8 to 17 and adults over 18 years old are encouraged to participate. Learn to grow your own food and herbs, eat to live and connect with your community at 11401 St. Clair Ave.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story indicated April 21 was the date of the Glenville Choose Wellness event. We were notified by the event coordinators of a date change to May 19, same times as previously listed.

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