Request for Proposals

Energy-Efficient Refrigeration for Local Food System

Proposals Due: Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Download application here (Word) or here (PDF).

Overview: Green Umbrella is pleased to announce this funding opportunity designed to financially support energy-efficient refrigeration for the local food system. This funding, provided by the Duke Class Benefit Fund, will simultaneously advance regional sustainability goals related to local food, food waste reduction, fresh food access, and energy-efficiency. The total amount of funding available is $75,000.

Background: Refrigeration is one of the most costly parts of the local food supply chain and yet essential to maintain quality, meet food safety requirements, and avoid waste. In order to strengthen regional distribution of local food, we must increase institutional, retail, and restaurant purchasing of local food, and refrigeration is key to advancing that effort. According to Green Umbrella’s The State of Local Food in the Central Ohio River Valley report, while the region has a strong conventional food distribution infrastructure, most large-scale distributors currently do not work with small-scale local producers, who may lack the quantity and consistency of product that the distributors need, and have fewer resources for meeting new food safety requirements. While opportunity exists – especially through two newly established food hubs – to increase the amount of local produce that moves through distribution channels, it will take a variety of changes – including improved refrigeration infrastructure – to significantly increase the distribution of local food. According to FamilyFarmed, one of the most important aspects of successful wholesaling for farmers is proper postharvest handling, including temperature control and maintaining the cold chain. This can - and often does -make the difference between securing business relations or losing them based on the consistency and quality of harvested produce.

Eligibility: Any Green Umbrella member* (non-profit, business, government entity, university or school) that:

    • Distributes and/or aggregates local food** (i.e. food hubs, food banks, food retailers including grocery coops or corner store initiatives, incubator or community kitchens, community supported agriculture organizations, farmers’ markets, etc.);
    • Serves Southwest Ohio counties of Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and/or Warren; and
    • Was a Duke Energy Ohio rate payer (customer) during 2005-2008, or has services which benefit Duke Energy Ohio rate payers (residential or commercial) who were customers during 2005-2008.

*To learn more about membership benefits or to become a Green Umbrella member, please visit For a list of current Green Umbrella members, please visit

** We define local food as food produced within 100 miles of Cincinnati.

To Apply: Email your completed application to by or on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Notification and grant awards are expected to occur in April 2017. A brief final narrative and financial report will be due by December 15, 2017.

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