Mezzacello – Columbus | 33 north 20th Street, Columbus, OH 43203 | 614-542-7427

Goals & a Mission:

A Roadmap for Urban Gardens in Communities


Understanding and Exploring the Role of Balance in Our Relationship with the Natural World – Especially as We Relate to the Natural World in the Built Urban Landscape

Explore the Challenge of an Urban Garden Understand Energy and Ecology Systems

Build a Community

Like a Garden

Create a Learning


Build a system for easily converting land, determining waste streams and materials use and conservation. Use off the shelf tools and info pulled from various sources to secure a reliable food source and work to offset food costs by 20-25% while growing a model to teach others to do the same.Educate the public in the science of energy conservation and the

Educate the public in the science of energy conservation and the relationship of energy to the various important ecological cycles found in nature. Specific focus would go into helping farms make informed decisions in regards to the way various natural ecological processes affect the garden and the gardener over time.

Leverage the methods, systems and tools available to a garden that is shared by a community to start

building a connected community of caring neighbors and friends.

Emphasis will be placed on growing a community like one grows a garden and improving the area and the properties around the garden.

Develop methods and practices to transform these tools, practices and knowledge into systems that can

support communities. Labs will focus on adapting to multigenerational users, ease of use,

sustainability and scalability. Each garden has its own ecological niche, so special care will be given to

understand site and land constraints.

  • Farming and Tools Basics
  • Greenhouse Basics
  • Wormeries and Recycling
  • Aquaponics and Hydroponics
  • Composting and Ecology
  • Nutrition and Dietary Needs
  • Security and Pest Prevention
  • Rainwater Use and Collection
  • Urban Soil and Land Concerns
  • Waste Management
  • Mathematics in Nature

The Balance of Power

Cycles in Nature & the City

Air, Water, Minerals & Soil

Animals, Insects & Bacteria

The Periodic Table of Elements

The House Always Wins

Computing Biomass by Area

Continuous Improvement

Entropy, Death and Rebirth

Seed Distribution and Sharing

Understanding Soil Entropy

Fertilizer and Soil Ecology

Calendar and Planting Cycles

Raising and Keeping Animals

Training Fruit Trees and Vines

Creating Healthy Urban


Accessibility and Infrastructure

Teaching and Learning in Nature

Creating a Site Plan

  • Community Citizenship
  • Building and Mending Fences
  • Neighborhood Watch Basics
  • Understanding Motivations
  • Neighborhood Pride
  • Tolerance and Diversity Tools
  • The Power of Shared Systems
  • Protecting Children and the Elderly
  • Compassion and Understanding
  • The Economics of Good Neighbors

About Jim Bruner & Mezzacello

Jim Bruner is a designer, a web developer and an urban-ecology crusader. While building a career in instructional design and technology education his interest in food and ecology was just like any of us: food is food and you get it from a store. In 2007, afflicted with a genetic autoimmune disorder that resulted in a life-threatening infection, open chest surgery and a four-month medically induced coma. After waking from the coma, he was blind, paralyzed on his left side and unable to eat any longer – he no longer had an esophagus.

“Eating” now meant taking liquid feed through a feed pump that passed through his skin and muscle and directly into his stomach.

For the two years he spent in his eating exile he explored, researched and dreamt about food and learning about our complicated, social and precarious ecological connection to food. With a passion he learned everything he could about the food cycle, nutrition, food deserts and how our lack of knowledge about the secret life of food was putting us at a disadvantage and in danger.

Eventually a surgery performed by the Cleveland Clinic gave him a second chance. Refashioning his stomach into a connected tube positioned inside his ribcage and nestled between his heart and lungs the stomach attached to his throat and mouth. Now he could eat – but with severe restrictions: no processed food or sugar, no easy to prepare meals, soda or fast food. Eating was possible, but what he ate was critical. In addition, his now vertical stomach required that when he ate, he eat no more than 1.5 cups of food (can’t block the heart and lungs) and that he position himself flat for 30 minutes to allow gravity to digest the maximum amount of nutrition in his stomach.

Every one of these 30 minute digesting sessions is spent in reflection of what could be done locally to change the way we as a local community think about food, nutrition and ecology.

He bought a house in downtown Columbus with two vacant attached plots and started Mezzacello, an urban garden, farm and ecological laboratory for urban gardening and raising animals that share an ecology with humans and the built environment. The goal is to create a food and health oasis in the heart of a major urban city. He has dedicated himself to exploring and advocating nature, gardening, creating food webs and dependent ecosystems and the reality of building a healthy, robust green ecology in an urban footprint. He produces high-quality food, systems and soils to feed him and his dream. Seven years after near death, he eats – and he’s hungry to learn and teach more.