Operation Vegetables: SuperHero Edition

Children's Vegetable Garden at Memorial Nottingham Library, Designed and Painted by Linda Zolten Wood, Rain Barrel Painted by Michael Greenwald

Operation: Vegetables - The Giant Board Game of Yummy Health

Grand Unveiling - Free Family Event:

Noon to 3pm in North Collinwood, at

Memorial Nottingham Library, 17109 Lakeshore Blvd, Cleveland, 44110

Saturday October 8th, 2016

* Fresh Bites from Local Chef Kimberly Homan, Instructor at Sur La Table

* Splice Cream Truck, Collinwood Family Histories Recorded & Mixed by Ballot Box Grantee, Ben Smith

* Live Acoustic Guitar by Local, Award-Winning Musician, Doug Wood

* Visit Memorial Nottingham’s New Children’s Vegetable Garden Box

* Play the Game & or meet new friends: Reserve the Game for your group or club for the Winter!

* Meet Mem/Nott’s New Children’s Librarian and discover her programming for families!

* Renew Your Library Card - Check out Books, CD’s, DVD’s and Blue-Ray!

The Ballot Box Project is a gift to local artists, funding projects that engage youth, healthy eating, vacancy problems and community history. ArtPlace America and Northeast Shores Development Corporation teamed to offer this unique mechanism for creative self-employment opportunities, which also serve forgotten segments of our community.

As the director of The Collinwood Painted Rain Barrel Project, Linda Zolten Wood hired local artists to create beautiful water conservation barrels as works of visual art, not unsightly hunks of polyvinyl. After the barrels toured Cleveland’s science and nature centers for the last two years, she donated one of the barrels to Memorial Nottingham Library, painted by artist Michael Greenwald. Michael’s design is based on bold graphics and was compatible with the color palette of Memorial Nottingham’s bright architectural elements of greens and blues. 

As a result of so many beautiful rain barrels full of free water, Zolten Wood discovered the joy of gardening, experimenting with engaging intergenerational families, encouraging the elders to pass on knowledge to the younger ones to foster a pride in nurture and harvest; willing to try freshly grown foods, where processed ones hold us captive. She became a frequent and loyal farmer’s market and community supported agriculture customer.

She hired local carpenter Peter Quinn to build a tall 4’x8’ raised bed garden to be wheelchair accessible and purchased vegetable and herb plants from Cavotta’s Garden Center on East 185th street. Quinn built a similar garden box for her in 2015, located at the Rose Senior Center on Lakeshore Blvd., along with a custom painted rain barrel by Zolten Wood, funded by Collinwood Health & Arts Grant through NSDC.

The deer were eating the tops of the tomato plants, so she decided to rig a bamboo fence lined with upcycled CD’s dangling from strings to act as a shining  scarecrow: the twirling mirrored surfaces, which also block their heads from access to the vegetable plants, seem to be unnerving to the hungry animals. The Garden box is to the left of the front door of the Memorial Nottingham Library and is open to anyone who wants to water, tend and pick vegetables now throughout the Fall until the first frost. Check in with Children’s librarian, Libby Hampton in person, or call (216) 623-7039.

Children from 1st through 5th grades attended workshops at Mem/Nott, Salvation Army Summer Camp and Collinwood Branch Library designing ‘Veggie Superheroes and Villains’, having fun with positive associations with their favorite fresh produce. The kids were served healthy snacks and received vegetable seeds, tote bags from Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (which they got to decorate) and gift certificates to shop for produce from Coit Road Farmer’s Market.

Zolten Wood has been painting in the early morning hours before the sun bears down and scorches the site. The kids’ hilarious and varied characters are serving as inspiration to decorate the garden box, positioned directly outside of the children’s section windows of the library, echoing the accent colors of the rain barrel and of Mem/Nott’s architecture. During the winter months, children will be able to see the painting from their comfy seats while they read and play.

Her progress is being recorded on a new facebook page, “Operation Vegetables” on a daily basis, and will continue as the giant board game begins to be assembled, designed and painted within the library.

The giant game will be painted on a 12’x12’ primed canvas and the children with become the game pieces. The game’s target completion date will be in October, with a grand opening event on Saturday, October 8th. Families and groups will be able to reserve the game for group play within the circular meeting room at Memorial Nottingham Library, at any time, for years to come.

2 smaller versions that will be produced for the Salvation Army and the Collinwood Branch Library’s use in late Fall, dates to be announced.

Contact Linda Zolten Wood at:




Julia DiBaggio

Linda Zolten Wood earned her BFA from Cleveland Institute of Art in Painting. She received a Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, Artist in Residence Grant in 2013 for her Collinwood Painted Rain Barrel Project. She was honored to receive Mayor Jackson's Sustainable Hero: Champion Award at the 2014 Sustainability Summit and has received Neighborhood Connections grants in 2015 and 2016 to serve Rose Center of Living Well and mix in Salvation Army students for Arts programming.

Contact her at:


See her work at:




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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 1:19 PM, 08.11.2016