Green Umbrella in the News

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • June 02, 2023 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Movers & Makers Cincinnati

    Ryan Mooney-Bullock of Green Umbrella

    Ryan Mooney-Bullock has been told she’s “always on brand.” If she’s not working in her role as executive director of Green Umbrella, Greater Cincinnati’s regional sustainability alliance, she’s probably taking a hike, spending time outside with her family or tending to their urban homestead in Spring Grove Village. Its 11 acres are home to a large vegetable garden, fruit trees, ducks, chickens, bees and goats, which help with invasive plant control (although Mooney-Bullock still spends plenty of time chain sawing honeysuckle).

    “Climate (and) environmental work isn’t just my job,” she said. “It’s how I live and truly guides almost every decision I make.”

    That lifestyle is fitting for the leader of an organization working to create a “resilient, sustainable region for all,” as its mission reads. Green Umbrella brings together hundreds of member organizations and individuals who share Mooney-Bullock’s passion for improving our region’s environmental health.

    “The organization really serves as a connector,” Mooney-Bullock said. “I like to think of myself as a spider in a big web, sensing who is touching down, what they’re interested in and how I can connect them.

    “I really love being able to ignite people’s interest in environmental issues and then figure out how they can plug into what’s going on, whether as an individual or as an organization … so they can all help create what’s coming next,” she said.

    Mooney-Bullock’s own interest in the environment sparked at a young age and was fueled by her family, her faith and lots of time outside.

    Growing up on the East Side of Cincinnati, she spent hours playing in the little ravine behind her home. She even joined a regional environmental club for kids. (Recycling was a hot topic back then.)

    “I always just felt some level of connection with the natural world, and I was pretty outraged that people would treat it like garbage,” she said.

    In her social justice-oriented, politically active family, those early environmentalist tendencies both fit with the dynamic and set her apart, giving her an issue she could take on as her own.

    Faith also helped shape her environmental ethic. “I recognize the divinity in the whole world, and that helps inspire me to take care of it and connect with it,” said Mooney-Bullock, who attends services at Christ Church Cathedral.

    From early interest to career

    It might seem as if Mooney-Bullock’s environmental career was a foregone conclusion, but that wasn’t her first inclination. She started at the University of Chicago with the goal of being an overseas doctor. Getting into the pre-med coursework, though, she realized it wasn’t for her. So she switched to environmental studies, another major that combined her interests in science and social justice.

    A summer internship with the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a Chicago-based sustainability think tank, morphed into a full-time job after graduation.

    “It was focused on how can urban spaces be really sustainable, and how can we advocate for policies that create sustainability within urban spaces?” she said.

    After a few years, though, she realized she didn’t want to spend all of her time at a computer doing research and writing.

    “I wanted to be speaking to people who weren’t already convinced about these issues and helping to raise the next generation of environmental activists,” Mooney-Bullock said.

    So she headed back to school, earning her master’s in environmental science with a teaching certificate at Antioch University New England. When she finished her degree, she and her husband, Jesse, moved back to Cincinnati to be closer to family and to the hills and trees they loved so much. (They met in 1995 while students at Walnut Hills High School and have now been married for 21 years.) She spent the next three years teaching science at Princeton High School.

    After a few years at home to start her own family – she and Jesse have four kids, ages 6 (in May) to 16 – she made the transition from formal to informal education by joining the staff of the Civic Garden Center. There, she launched the Green Learning Station, an environmental education center, and helped craft education programs. That’s also when she got to know Green Umbrella, serving on one of its action teams.

    Chad Edwards, principal at Emersion DESIGN and a former Green Umbrella board member, recalls meeting Mooney-Bullock back then. The architect was teaching a seminar about sustainability at the University of Cincinnati and invited Mooney-Bullock to speak.

    “She was super passionate, exceptionally knowledgeable and really high energy, so the students really engaged,” he said.

    “I get energized when I get to be in front of people and share my passions,” Mooney-Bullock said, tracing her love of public speaking back to her high school years as a “theater kid.”

    In 2017, after a few more years at home with young children, Mooney-Bullock joined the Green Umbrella staff as communications and program manager. When she applied for the executive director role a year later, Edwards, who was on the hiring committee, recalled their previous interaction and took notice.

    He’s since been impressed with the organization’s growth under her leadership.

    “The way she’s been able to adapt and grow into the role has been, in my mind, pretty tremendous,” he said. “She’s been able to take us to the next level.”

    Wade Johnston, executive director of Tri-State Trails, agrees. He worked with Mooney-Bullock first as a colleague and then with her as his supervisor at Green Umbrella. (Tri-State Trails became its own nonprofit in February.)

    “She has a really great pulse on the sustainability movement here in Greater Cincinnati,” he said. “Under her leadership, Green Umbrella has matured a lot and become more sophisticated … I’m impressed by what she’s accomplished.”

    Growing an organization

    New initiatives launched or adopted during her tenure include:

    The 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan, lead by city and county officials with strong support from Green Umbrella on plan development, including co-facilitating community engagement efforts and co-designing the equity framework.

    Cincinnati 2030 District is a network of healthy, sustainable and high-performing buildings.

    Common Orchard Project plants orchards around Greater Cincinnati to provide fresh food, tree canopy and green space.

    Greater Cincinnati Regional Climate Collaborative connects government entities seeking to address climate impacts and become more sustainable.

    CPS Outside connects local organizations focused on providing outdoor experiences and environmental education for Cincinnati Public Schools students.

    Faith Communities Go Green mobilizes religious communities interested in climate change (now co-supported by EquaSion).

    All that growth required people. When she took the reins, the organization had a staff of four; today, they’re at 13, not counting four Tri-State Trails employees who were formerly Green Umbrella staff. It also took money: Green Umbrella increased its annual budget from $720,000 to $2 million under her watch.

    Mooney-Bullock is proud of the work they’ve done but recognizes there’s a lot more to do. “I try to pause and celebrate our successes, but I’m always thinking about the next thing, because there’s so much to do,” she said.

    And although Green Umbrella focuses on organizations, advocacy and policy, its work really comes down to people.

    “Pretty much everything we do is around how does this affect people?” she said. “I think people want to know how the work we’re doing is going to make their community better in a lot of ways: health, quality of life, economic impacts.”

    As an example, she pointed to planting trees and decreasing emissions to improve air quality – which helps people living with asthma.

    That way of framing things brings together diverse groups of people with a range of political beliefs, Edwards said. Green Umbrella works in a 10-county region that includes audiences ranging from urban to suburban to rural.

    “She has been very mindful of helping people understand that (sustainability) is something we can all agree on and rally around; this does not have to be divisive,” Edwards said. “She’s been able to pull people together … and show them that we can all work together for the common good and for each individual’s good.”

    Johnston remarked on Mooney-Bullock’s optimism in a field where “it’s easy to be frustrated and feel cynical or hopeless. Ryan is upbeat and genuine and leads from her heart,” he said.

    “I’m really encouraged by human resiliency and our ability to come up with amazing solutions,” Mooney-Bullock said. “We have most of the ideas we need to really create a more sustainable future. We just need to be all hands on deck going in that direction.”

    Cincinnati is apparently a good place to be doing environmental work, for a few reasons.

    “The City of Cincinnati has had a climate and sustainability plan longer than most cities, especially Midwestern cities,” she said. “My assessment is that people are pretty impressed when they hear what’s going on in Cincinnati.” The region has a huge amount of green space, an asset that must be protected, she said.

    Additionally, the region is considered a “climate haven,” meaning experts predict the impacts of climate change won’t be as devastating here as in other parts of the country, she said. “We are expecting a significant increase in population for this reason.”

    Mooney-Bullock hopes Green Umbrella’s continued work connecting people and organizations to work on sustainability will help our region produce solutions that no one entity could tackle on its own.

    “I hope that we are successful in making Greater Cincinnati a region where everyone has access to health and environmental quality and that it’s a beautiful place to live for generations,” she said.

    What you can do

    Mooney-Bullock offers a few easy ways anyone can make an environmental impact:

    Plant trees, especially native ones

    Take advantage of “green” incentives for energy and transportation

    “Green up” your commute by walking, biking, taking the bus or driving an electric vehicle

    Make small adjustments to your home’s temperature

    Be more intentional about how much food you buy, and use what you buy to avoid food waste that will end up in the landfill and produce methane.

  • May 23, 2023 3:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: City Beat

    Going Green(er): Cincinnati Researchers are Focusing on the Climate Challenges that Intimately Affect Residents

    This story is featured in CityBeat's April 5 print edition.

    The number of eco-minded businesses – from plant-based delis to secondhand clothing stores to zero-waste refilleries – is growing in Cincinnati. These establishments make it easy (and, for some, fun) for consumers to reduce their carbon footprints.

    But what about the region’s sustainability efforts behind closed doors, when direct profit isn’t even in the equation?

    A member of the 2030 Districts Network, Cincinnati is one of 23 (and counting) urban cities across North America that have publicly committed to reducing energy consumption, water use and transportation emissions by at least 50% before scientists say it’s too late. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2030 is the year that “unprecedented” action would need to take place to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.

    The Cincinnati district features a group of 49 member organizations that include breweries, museums and universities, all pledging to do their part. The group’s 18 founding members, like Cincinnati’s government and the Cincinnati Zoo, collectively are committing more than 7 million square feet to the district.

    So why aren't Cincinnati’s climate efforts common knowledge?

    “I think other parts of the world acknowledge our climate progress more than Cincinnatians do,” Ollie Kroner, director of Cincinnati’s office of environment and sustainability, tells CityBeat.

    In a February story in The Guardian, Cincinnati is noted as one of the global cities using Panorama, a national climate action plan tool designed to connect climate action to financing and ultimately to turn ideas into a plausible course of action.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the city’s current efforts, Kroner says.

    “We are laser-focused on the climate crisis: how it will impact city government, how it will impact the quality of life of the people that live here and what we’re gonna do about it,” Kroner says.

    A new green plan

    The latest iteration of the Green Cincinnati Plan is slated to be revealed this spring. Spearheaded by the city’s office of environment and sustainability, it’s an all-encompassing environment plan for the city that has been reimagined and updated every five years since 2008.

    “The Green Cincinnati Plan is an action plan. It analyzes where all our carbon emissions come from and then presents a strategy to move toward carbon neutrality by 2050,” Kroner says. “Cincinnati was actually among the early U.S. cities to adopt climate action back in 2008, so we have some practice of this.”

    This will be the fourth iteration of the plan, updating on a five-year rhythm.

    “As you might imagine, the science keeps improving; politics evolve; the technology we have available to think about continues to progress,” Kroner says, noting that carbon neutrality is a big goal.

    According to the Green Cincinnati Plan, committing to carbon neutrality is a goal, but in the fight for climate justice, the environment isn’t the only factor. In partnership with Groundwork Ohio River Valley and Green Umbrella, two esteemed sustainability allies, Cincinnati’s office of environment and sustainability has created a climate equity indicators report that looks at 55 different metrics, helping the office understand how the climate crisis plays out differently from one community to the next. The data collected from this report reveals how some communities are more vulnerable than others.

    “We had some funding to actually pay members from that community to come forward and treat them as the subject matter experts on their community and the way that climate is impacting them,” Kroner says. “As our data improves, we are able to zoom in at the city level, zoom in at the neighborhood level, we’re starting to zoom in at the block level – and when you have that kind of data paired with the lived experience of our community members, you can develop real-world practical solutions.”

    Kroner says the climate conversation can’t exist without considering those who are affected by it.

    “Our steering committee embraced an equity commitment acknowledging inequities [that] government has helped drive historically, addressing those and committing to community voice in the process,” Kroner says.

    Leading this steering committee is Cincinnati City Council member Meeka Owens. In kickstarting the Green Cincinnati Plan refresh, Owens says the framework has revolved around sustainability, resilience and equity.

    Owens and other officials kicked off the Green Cincinnati Plan’s refresh last May, and 42 community engagement events took place shortly after. Since then, 50 out of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods have held feedback sessions.

    “We are doing the work of continually getting this message out there and really focusing on communities that have not been a part of the climate conversation and being really intentional there,” Owens says.

    Feedback gathered from the sessions was woven into a draft of a cohesive action plan that the public then reviewed and commented on in January and February. Residents provided more than 600 comments, and Owens and the office of environment and sustainability now are integrating that feedback into a final plan to be unveiled later in April.

    Kroner says residents can expect to see a focus on housing in the Green Cincinnati Plan.

    “Housing is a loud theme from the community. Why would I care about climate when I’m being evicted next week?” Kroner says. “Designing programs to help reduce utility costs, specifically for people who are renting, is one of our core focuses.”

    Kroner says he anticipates a major challenge ahead.

    “All of the climate models show that we need to begin to electrify everything. What can we do to help encourage or incentivize the move to electric homes that can be powered by clean renewable energy?” he asks.

    The plan also prioritizes transportation.

    “About a third of our emissions in Cincinnati come from transportation,” Kroner says. “We’ve just passed this momentous bus study, so we have funding to really make major improvements. What can we do as a city to maximize those [state] dollars and encourage development along transit corridors to help connect communities, help reduce that transportation carbon footprint?”

    Kroner says that to accomplish the goal of a greener Cincinnati, climate change must be approached from its effects on the environment and the people living in it. It’s a transition that could take decades, but it’s an opportunity he feels must be maximized now.

    “We really feel like this is our moment. We have strong leadership from the mayor-council, we have tremendous community support, and the federal government is making funding available in a way that we’ve never seen before. In some ways, the stars are aligning right now and we feel like we have to make the most of this window of opportunity.”

    Around one-third of Cincinnati’s emissions come from transportation. - Photo: Aidan Mahoney

    Around one-third of Cincinnati’s emissions come from transportation.

    Cincinnati’s local climate challenges

    Some experts assert that a human health perspective is important when studying climate change. That’s what Susan Pinney, the director of the University of Cincinnati’s Center for Environmental Genetics, is doing.

    “We feel we’re one of the best-kept secrets of Cincinnati,” Pinney tells CityBeat. “The focus is research on the health effects of environmental exposures.”

    Cincinnati faces a number of climate challenges, Pinney says, adding that addressing how these issues affect residents’ health is crucial for the researchers at the Center for Environmental Genetics. She says there are two significant weather events exacerbated by climate change on her radar: floods and tornadoes.

    “Floods can actually stir up waste deposits along the river, and we especially worry about the Ohio River. Floods can also cause mold in homes, which is a huge health problem,” Pinney says, noting that with the high traction brought in by activities like boating and kayaking, it’s imperative for the Ohio River to be safe.

    After experiencing a flooding disaster in her own home in New Richmond, Pinney says she understands first-hand how time-consuming and costly it can be to repair a flooded home and actually rid it of all debris, from the carpet to the walls.

    “People who don’t have a whole lot of resources can’t do that. Although the visible mold may be gone, there is mold that is invisible and they’re living with that the rest of their lives and the health effects of that,” Pinney says, adding that her team at UC is working to change that.

    With climate trends and their deviations vital in helping inform future decisions at the Center for Environmental Genetics, Pinney notes that the characteristics of tornadoes have begun to shift.

    “Data seems to suggest the number of tornadoes has not changed throughout the years, but what has changed is the power of the tornado – the intensity of these tornadoes – and where they’re located,” Pinney says, mentioning tornado touchdowns in irregular locations like Philadelphia in recent years. “What are the airborne exposures that are created by a tornado?” We wanna get into that. A tornado comes around, buildings are demolished and such, houses have asbestos in them, they have metals like lead in the paint, and now it’s in the environment.``

    Pinney says she especially is concerned about the rain that follows a tornado.

    “Things get saturated. Buildings that have been damaged but are still standing, [they] don’t have a roof and get saturated with rain, and then later on they end up with mold,” Pinney says.

    Pinney’s department is able to carry out its mission through its partnership with the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, which provides necessary funding.

    ”It’s money to improve our capacity to do research, by improving our labs, by improving the expertise of our scientists, by encouraging young faculty, giving them some salary support so they can build their research program.”

    Pinney notes the department’s recent work on air pollution.

    “We’ve got around the problem of school buses idling while they’re waiting to pick up kids – that’s an example of something that research drove the change and then members of the general public insisted on the change, and so that’s made a substantial change in exposures to kids.”

    Pinney says it’s important to her to make Cincinnati’s air and water safer.

    “If we’re encouraging people to use our bike trails, to use our walking trails, to run in marathons here, we really have to pay attention to our air quality,“ she says. “In clean air, people can participate more in sports. In clean air, we have more fun.”

    Looking to the future

    Studying and teaching net-zero energy building at the University of Cincinnati and its College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, Anton Harfmann designs homes to be energy efficient from layout to materials to appliances. To help combat climate change, he combines his architectural engineering background with design.

    “Architectural engineering is that middle ground between the very creative side of architecture and the very practical side of engineering and tries to bridge that chasm between ideas and materials,” Harfmann says.

    Harfmann studies and teaches net-zero energy building – designing homes to be energy efficient from layout to materials to appliances. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, residential and commercial buildings account for 40% of all U.S. energy consumption. Putting his expertise and passion into practice, Harfmann has turned his 1834 farmhouse into somewhat of a lab, challenging himself with converting it into a net-zero residence while preserving its historic charm.

    His architecture and engineering students were able to visit this “lab” to gain hands-on learning, helping them prepare for future net-zero projects and, ultimately, do this work on a much larger scale in the community, Harfmann says.

    “Teaching this next generation, I have 50 voices now that are out there clamoring for this kind of stuff and who understand it and are able to then move forward with it on their own, as opposed to me doing one thing right. I can do my house, but that’s only one,” Harfmann says.

    Harfmann says there’s a difference between greening up older and newer homes, though.

    “The older homes are really difficult to solve this energy equation on,” Harfmann says. “New construction, it’s not as difficult because we have double-pane or triple-pane windows with low emissivity coatings and argon filled in between, and they’re extremely efficient compared to single-pane glass that is 170 years old.”

    While building new has its eco advantages, Harfmann acknowledges that not everyone has the resources to do so. In fact, he says that using buildings that already exist in Cincinnati can be the most energy-efficient option, so he was determined to prove that a sustainable old home was possible.

    “The idea is to match energy being consumed with energy being produced. If we can bring the energy consumption down as far as we possibly can, then that’s less we have to produce,” Harfmann says. “With the 1834 farmhouse, the problem is there’s only so much you can do in terms of energy consumption before you hit a brick wall – literally, because the walls there are just two or three [layers] with some brick.”

    Harfmann says he even found horsehair that was sprinkled into the plaster, which was used to prevent cracking as it expands and contracts.

    To make this older home more energy efficient, Harfmann started with LED bulbs and insulated where he could before moving on to the windows.

    “There were no storm windows when I moved in, so now suddenly I have two panes of glass and a little bit of air space, which helped tremendously. The windows are your weakest spot,” Harfmann says. “The windows are your weakest spot.” Harfmann says he patched the gaping holes and insulated his windows, reducing the amount of energy flowing through the walls, coming in from the summer heat or escaping the winter.

    Harfmann notes while many individuals are interested in making the switch to renewable energy options like solar, they often don’t see it as a good financial investment. To him, that’s a flawed model. While paying off a solar array could take years, Harfmann claims that adopters still save more in a year than they’d be accumulating in interest from money sitting in a savings account.

    “If you rethink, when will it pay off and think alternatively, how much interest am I making every year? How much am I not paying in utilities? This is tax-free income, and it’s immune to future energy cost rises,” Harfmann says.

    “The incentives that they’ve put out to insulate your home, buy better appliances, get storm windows, get a better water heater, buy an induction stove, buy an electric car are all there,” Harfmann continues, noting that the federal Inflation Reduction Act offers a rebate of up to $14K per household for converting to sustainable energy options.

    Back in City Hall, council member Meeka Owens says she believes that no effort is too small in the fight against climate change.

    “We’ll start at the micro level because it’s important that we’re all doing our part – are we recycling? Are we avoiding tonnage to the landfill by doing so? Are we composting?” Owens asks.

    Over at the office of environment and sustainability, director Oliver Kroner is working on large-scale changes throughout the community and agrees that everyone has an important role in addressing the climate crisis.

    “I think a lot of people think corporations are causing climate change and they point at corporations as the responsible party. Corporations definitely play a role, but absolutely individuals do also,” Kroner says.

    He urges individuals to consider the environmental impact of their day-to-day lives, from their purchases to their food.

    “Those small daily choices do accumulate in a very major way, and I think that we need to own that as individuals and make the right choices, and the organizations we’re a part of will follow suit,” Kroner says. “Behavior is contagious, so leading by example is where we need to be.”

  • May 23, 2023 3:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Spectrum News 1

    Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit attendees work to address climate change in Cincinnati, beyond

    CINCINNATI — Green Umbrella has spent the past 25 years working to draw attention to the greater Cincinnati region’s need to embrace and prepare for climate change.

    Over the past quarter-century, the nonprofit has brought together elected leaders, subject experts and the Average Joe to discuss the region’s most challenging environmental problems. One of their primary vehicles for those conversations over the past decade has been the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit.

    On Friday, Green Umbrella convened its 10th summit at a new, bigger location at Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati.

    What You Need To Know

    • A group of 600 people gathered in downtown Cincinnati last week for the 10th Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit
    • The group spent the day attending workshops, taking part in panel discussions focused on addressing climate change
    • Duke Energy Convention Center hosted the summit this year to accommodate the record number of attendees

    A key component of the event is networking

    A group of 600 attendees spent the day in more than 20 breakout sessions, panel discussions and workshops. Some topics discussed included government policy, transportation, food systems, climate justice, eco-friendly infrastructure and the green economy.

    The third floor of the convention center served as an important gathering spot before, during and after panel discussions. (Spectrum News 1/Casey Weldon)

    The third floor of the convention center served as an important gathering spot before, during and after panel discussions. (Spectrum News 1/Casey Weldon)

    The third-floor space also featured an art show with interactive exhibits, a virtual reality space, and a healing and wellness area, according to Charlie Gonzalez, member relations and events manager for Green Umbrella.

    The summit moved downtown this year because it offered a better Cincinnati experience for out-of-town guests, Gonzalez said. He also said there were people visiting from Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and “everywhere else in Ohio and Kentucky.”

    But the move also had a practical component, Gonzalez said. This year’s registration was 50% greater than the previous record year, and they also saw increases in exhibitors and advertisers.

    That growth is emblematic of the commitment the region has made to sustainability efforts, he said.

    “We want people to think about possibilities of what’s possible if we get this right,” Gonzalez added. “This is a passion movement here in Cincinnati and we want to help empower people to find their place and creating a better world.”

    The theme of this year’s summit is “imagine what’s possible.” It was a powerful touchpoint in the keynote speech delivered by Katharine Wilkinson, executive director of The All We Can Save Project and a bestselling author.

    “The mind-boggling part of climate decision-making, and climate action is that it is happening everywhere all the time so we need leadership on this topic from everywhere,” said Wilkinson, named one of 15 “women who will save the world,” by Time magazine.

    “From different departments within a city government to different corporations operating in a city to community groups and neighborhoods — there’s such a need for climate leadership and all those spaces. But it’s unusual for those different corners to be in a shared space and have a chance for dialogue and to work together,” she added. “Spaces like this, where we can have some genuine dialogue, are really important.”

    Andy Holzhauser, a Green Umbrella board member, recalled attending the first Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit more than a decade ago.

    “It was a small group of passionate people,” said Holzhauser, a partner and the CFO of Cincinnati-based Donovan Energy. “You need to have that passion, but if it stays small, you’re never going to have the teach needed to make a difference.”

    Over the years, the event has grown into an attraction that draws CEOs of companies, government lobbyists, climate scientists, elected officials, and community leaders. He mentioned commitments from companies like Procter and Gamble and Fifth Third Bank. But they haven’t forgotten about “Jim from down the street,” he said.

    The event brought together field experts, politicians and residents to work on efforts to prepare the community for climate change. (Spectrum News 1/Casey Weldon)

    The event brought together field experts, politicians and residents to work on efforts to prepare the community for climate change. (Spectrum News 1/Casey Weldon)

    Having everyone at the table is critical, Holzhauser said, because they need every voice to speak up and weigh in to get anything done.

    “There’s a lot of work to be done. To do that, the rooms must be bigger, and we have to engage more people,” he added.

    Sherry Nicholas, a Cincinnati resident, made the trip downtown to learn about electric vehicle charging. Her condominium complex wants to install one, and she wanted to talk to people like Holzhauser to go through the options.

    While most interested in the panel on electrification, she found discussions on food sharing and sustainability through the community.

    “It was so interesting,” she said. “Glad to have stuck around for the other panels.”

    Nicholas voiced excitement over the number of government leaders, corporate partners, nonprofits and subject experts in attendance. She especially appreciated the scheduled networking time before and after the event.

    “We’re moving in the right direction,” Nicholas said of the Queen City. “I believe the grassroots movement locally is pushing corporations toward sustainability efforts as opposed to the other direction. I’m happy the big wigs are here to listen, and truly, sincerely, have a conversation.”

    One of the elected officials in the room was Cincinnati Council member Meeka Owens, chair of the Climate, Environment and Infrastructure Committee. She called the summit an “important part” of the city’s climate action planning because it connects experts and advocates with the needed people and resources.

    One exhibitor in the room was Blue Ocean Solids, a sustainability-focused water treatment company based in Loveland, Ohio.

    Kathleen Collier, the company’s director of sales and marketing, called the Sustainability Summit a key opportunity for Blue Ocean to expand its network. She described the water treatment market as a “this is how it’s always been done” situation. The summit gave her team a chance to “meet people that are looking to do the same things we are,” she said.

    “It’s just a wonderful community,” Collier added of those in attendance Friday.

    This summit is a gathering of the region’s sustainability community and “thought leaders,” said Oliver Kroner, director of the city of Cincinnati’s Office of Environment and Sustainability. He described it as an opportunity to connect and hear about emerging work in climate change preparation.

    He called it “energizing” to see how the different local efforts weave together and support each other.

    Members of Kroner’s team were at the Duke Energy Convention Center to “share and learn,” he said. Along with elected leaders, Kroner took part in a panel on the recently approved five-year update to the Green Cincinnati Plan, the city’s climate action plan. They also discussed the many city-led and community projects underway to make it a reality.

    Examples include the largest city-led solar array in the country and Cincinnati’s 2030 District, a commitment by businesses, developers and the city to cut carbon use by the year 2030.

    Other members of his panel included Owens, Council member Liz Keating and Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus.

    “Cincinnati continues to receive national and international attention for urban climate work. Of course, sustainability is not a competition; it’s work that requires collaboration and innovation,” Kroner said. “The summit is an opportunity to showcase all of this good work and inspire more.”

    “Our goal was for everyone in attendance to walk away with a sense of hope and understanding of how they individually fit into the collective climate effort,” he added.

  • May 23, 2023 3:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WCPO

    West side school uses nature as a teacher in a unique way

    CINCINNATI — Over the last four years, students at nearly 20 Cincinnati Public Schools have been able to experience nature in a way they may not always get to in the city.

    Recently, Rees E. Price Academy planted trees to add to the canopy at the school in East Price Hill and soon they will have an all-new outdoor garden, a space where they will learn how to grow their own food and more.

    It is fitting for the school where "kindness is the culture," and Principal Tiffani Maher said, "bringing in a garden, the culture of our teachers, cultivating that in our kids we can't go wrong."

    This is part of a partnership with the Green Umbrella CPS Outside Impact Team.

    Cynthia Walters is the Green Schoolyards coordinator.

    "The main goal is to get more students outside and to create school teams, meaningful professional development, integrated curriculum, and really connect kids with nature. Not only that, but also create a pathway to add education, workforce skills development, and just really instilling for every CPS student, the benefits of tree canopies and benefits of growing food and good air quality for neighborhoods. Schools have a big, big role in doing that."

    Principal Maher said the data shows that these programs do help children.

    "We are in an urban oasis if you will and every last one of our kids here has experienced some sort of complex trauma. Being outside in the garden helps them to, to relax and to be calm and to help them get their hands dirty. Getting them outside breathing the fresh air, and then learning how to grow their own food and to cultivate things that are going to bring beauty and joy to them. It was I'm just glad that they chose us to be a part of this, this wonderful movement, planting trees for the tree canopies…it's a wonderful thing."

    Maher said it also builds community.

    it helps to build community, when you have teachers as amazing as ours are, they help the children realize like if you plant a tree in your community, you can come back in 1015 years later, and say, I planted that tree and sit in second grade. And that was one of the things that we did here, they're going to be able to come back to their school with their children, with their grandchildren. And say, we planted that tree right here when I was eight years old.

    Maher added, "to be able to say I helped, and I contributed to the backyard garden or the front yard garden or my community garden. Those are life changing little nuggets that we're planting in kids so that they will be able to move forward and do great things."

    Walter said this is just the beginning of further site improvements, school yards into parks, more visual pathways for a greener future. She wants to see it spread further.

    "It needs to be a district wide effort, we have to put things in place that really sustain it, support teachers. It has to be an equitable distribution of resources. I also want to see the city involved. I really want this to be in an amazing partnership, especially with the new green Cincinnati plan. There is such potential, and we're beginning that right now and that's going to really set a precedence for the years to come and really inspire our next generation because they really need to be in control of what happens next."

  • May 09, 2023 2:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WCPO

    Growing Green: How Building up the Urban Canopy Can Help Cincinnati Create a Sustainable, Cooler Future

    CINCINNATI — Crystal Courtney has a vision for Cincinnati's 52 neighborhoods. As the division manager of natural resources for Cincinnati Parks, she wants to see a future with more trees, better air quality and less flooding.

    "More voices saying the same thing affects change more quickly," she said. "It just feels like the whole world is becoming more environmentally conscious."

    For the last few years, Courtney said the city conducted study after study, and talked with hundreds of residents about what they wanted to see come out of a climate action plan. What they found, is that it all starts with trees.

    "To see exactly where canopy is needed to support the communities that need it most, the communities that may not have the resources to mobilize some of the benefits that come from tree planting," Courtney said. "It's a plan that is guiding the future of the next 10 years of how we actually build out our communities to make them more resilient long term."

    The city's already seen a boost in tree cover, up from 38% in 2010 to 43% in 2020.

    "All the neighborhoods that were below the canopy goals are all increasing as well," Courtney said. "So we see good trends happening."

    But according to Courtney more needs to be done.

    Residents from various neighborhoods across the city met in groups to create climate safe neighborhood plans. The goal, according Green Umbrella Climate Action Director Savannah Sullivan, is "to understand what their experience with environmental impacts, climate impacts are, and what solutions they want to see in their neighborhood."

    Green Umbrella brought in people from the Beekman Corridor (Millvale, South Cumminsville, North Fairmount, South Fairmount, and English Woods), Bond Hill, Roselawn Avondale, Paddock Hills, Carthage, Over-the-Rhine, West End and Camp Washington.

    "We've engaged 11 neighborhoods so far. And what we've heard from residents is that they're really experiencing flooding, not just on their property, but in their basements. So, sewer overflows are a huge concern. They're also experiencing extreme heat, and associated air quality issues," Sullivan said.

    There are a lot of partners working to get the green plan moving. Groundwork's Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson said, "Not only do we talk about climate change, but we do talk about historic segregation and racism as well. And what that looks like within our community, why their community looks the way it does, because of those policies. Our community engagement process focuses on these neighborhoods first because they are not only the most underserved, but they are most urgently in need of the types of resources that we can use to improve heat conditions, reduce flooding, and so on."

    Those concerns are big, over-arching ones. Anthony Smith, who was in the Beekman Corridor group, said "I got involved, because I wanted to make a change in the community and in the world itself. "

    Smith said his main goals for his neighborhood is "to see more trees. I want to see more community gardens so people can get fresh fruits and vegetables. It's coming together. But it's coming slowly. The more people we get into it, the faster it may come to existence."

    Bond Hill's Margaux Roberts was part of the climate advisory group and said her biggest takeaway is that her neighborhood was one of the hottest in the 52. On any given day Bond Hill and Roselawn can be 12 degrees hotter than other neighborhoods with more tree canopy.

    Heat is just one part of the problem.

    "We have a major problem with stormwater. We deal with flooding and that's been a key component of some of the frustration with the residents is we need help with this, Roberts said. "So, people need to understand that trees help with that. And it's a natural way to be able to, to help with that stormwater to help with just being able to give back to the community."

    "It's really nice to be able to say that I've done something that can impact my community," Roberts said, but she also wants to impact her 15-month-old son, "so this work is really critical to me thinking about what will be helpful to him."

    You can find more about the entire 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan here.

  • May 08, 2023 2:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WCPO

    ‘Healing the Land’: Tri-State Organization Plans to Create 100 Orchards in the Region

    MOUNT HEALTHY, Ohio — For hundreds if not thousands of years, communal spaces to grow food meant camaraderie, comfort and sustainability. Now, an organization here in Greater Cincinnati wants to bring that back.

    The Common Orchard Project, part of Green Umbrella, has 30 orchards in our area with plans to build ten a year until they reach 100.

    "We're trying to put it into production for community. So, like a lot of people can eat from a fruit tree, you don't need many fruits yourself from one tree. So why don't we plant some fruit trees and get a bunch of people together to enjoy that?" said Chris Smyth, the director of the project.

    "Really, we're trying to reactivate unused or vacant spaces. Maybe a lawn next to a church or a field next to a community garden."

    Smyth said that in five to seven years, they should be producing around 1,000 pounds of food.

    "I would say it's a really high return. But it takes patience. And if we're investing in our places, like we're all going to be here in five years, like let's invest in it, plant fruit trees, and keep showing up each year."

    One orchard is growing in Mount Healthy's Tikkun Farm. They already planted fruit trees, but the project came and added more. Staff at the farm are learning how to better care for the trees.

    "So it's good to bring the networks together and connect people in the environmental community to share knowledge," said Isabelle Booker. She is the urban farming instructor for the job training program at Tikkun Farm. She is also now the orchard steward.

    Booker said, "This year, I really hoped to focus on bringing the fruit to a free market, where we have shoppers come three times a week, and then being able to have access to produce that was locally grown here on site.

    Smyth said that is another part of the process.

    "We're also trying to help people who've had the good intention to start fruit trees to kind of come alongside guide and mentor them and to how to better care for these trees."

    At Tikkun Farm the orchard, and the fruit borne from it in the coming years just means they can give back even more to neighbors.

    "Creation care is what we consider all of this, which means healing the land," said Booker. "So being able to educate people and get them involved in the service projects that we do around here weekly, is how we keep this sustainable."

  • April 03, 2023 2:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Spectrum News 1

    Green Cincinnati Plan: City unveils playbook for creating more climate resilient, equitable city

    CINCINNATI — After more than a year of planning, more than three dozen of community meetings and thousands of comments from residents, the city of Cincinnati has unveiled its framework for preparing for climate change over the next five years.

    On Monday, elected officials, environmental agencies and city staff debuted the 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan (GCP) update at the Civic Garden Center on Reading Road. Considered the city’s playbook for climate action, the 172-page document includes 30 goals, 40 strategies, and 130 actions aimed at making Cincinnati more sustainable and resilient.

    The last update in 2018 created a path for meeting the city’s previous goals for carbon reduction, she said. That included creating a 100-megawatt array in Highland County, Ohio, to power city-owned buildings.

    The city of Cincinnati placed an emphasis on equity in its five-year update to the Green Cincinnati Plan. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    The city of Cincinnati placed an emphasis on equity in its five-year update to the Green Cincinnati Plan. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    But recent science shows more needs to be prepare the city to deal with them, said Council member Meeka Owens, chair of the Climate, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee.

    The 2023 GCP plan reasserts the city’s desire to cut local carbon emissions in half by 2030. But for the first time, the city is committing to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

    The City Planning Commission approved the draft plan in mid-March 17. It’ll go before Owens’ committee on April 11. The goal is to have a full vote on City Council to approve it the next day.

    “The continuing growing threats of climate change will require all of us to do something differently and demand more from ourselves,” the first-term City Council member said.

    Creating a more equitable and resilient city

    Climate change is a clear and present danger to all residents, Owens said. But she stressed it won’t affect everyone in the same way. She noted the quality-of-life of those who are Black, brown or live in low-income neighborhoods face greater risk of health issues, or financial hardships related to climate change.

    New this year, City Council asked the administration to place an emphasis on climate equity and environmental justice. The team targeted feedback from residents of those “frontline communities” to improve long-term health outcomes and create more resilient neighborhoods overall, Owens said.

    Priority actions outlined in the plan include increasing funding for neighborhood gardens and urban agriculture, ensuring all rental housing has at least one room with adequate air conditioning and addressing brownfield properties.

    Brownfields are abandoned or under-used properties, such as industrial and commercial facilities, where redevelopment or expansion may be complicated by possible environmental contamination.

    City leaders stressed Monday that climate change tends to impact Black, brown and low-income neighborhoods more than others. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    City leaders stressed Monday that climate change tends to impact Black, brown and low-income neighborhoods more than others. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    The recommendations are broken into eight focus areas: Buildings and Energy, City Operations, Community Activation, Food, Mobility, Natural Environment, Resilience and Climate Adaptation, and Zero Waste.

    The document has strategies for things such as adapting to clean energy and improving pedestrian and bike safety. Ollie Kroner, who leads the city’s office of Environment and Sustainability (OES), voiced a desire to take better advantage of the region’s recent public transit levy to make it easier to live in Cincinnati without a car.

    Kroner voiced excitement about available federal dollars for those efforts from 2021’s $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It committed billions of dollars toward clean transportation and other infrastructure projects around the country.

    “Bringing in some of that federal money will allow us to invest in neighborhoods by making improvements to homes and businesses here,” he said.

    It’s not just federal dollars either, Kroner said. City Council provided $4 million for environmental projects in the last year’s budget. That money is going toward infrastructure and renewable energy needs, but also what he called “frontline” or priority communities experiencing high levels of energy poverty or neighborhoods that don’t have enough tree canopy.

    Cincinnati’s “urban heat island” areas — those with a lot of impermeable surfaces like parking lots and large buildings — can get up to 12 degrees warmer than those with more tree canopies and green spaces.

    “The structure for deploying those funds is still coming together, but we have more momentum here than we’ve ever had. We really want to make the most of it,” Kroner said.

    While most of the talk was about safeguarding against the negative effects of climate change, Peter Blackshaw, CEO of Cintrifuse, referred to the Green Cincinnati Plan to showcase the city as a hub of environmental innovations.

    Green and climate technology is a $2.7 trillion business, said Blackshaw, executive director of Cintrifuse. He mentioned several green startups that call the region home — Donovan Energy, Electrada, GoSun, Blue Ocean Solids and 80 Acres Farms. He views the plan as having the power to attract more talent and eco-friendly businesses to Cincinnati.

    The Green Cincinnati Plan has the potential to transform the city into a “green lab of the future,” Blackshaw said. He views it as a job creation tool as well.

    “This is the signal we want to send to (businesses) as they figure out where to invest the federal dollars to unlock the innovation, we need for jobs inclusivity and more,” he added.

    Giving voice to the people of the city

    Kroner described the plan is the community’s long-term vision for how Cincinnati can achieve sustainability, equity and resilience.

    His team used feedback from nearly 3,800 residents. They collected it during a “robust” outreach campaign that included 42 community meetings over the past nine months. They also allowed the public to comment online.

    Joining the collection of elected leaders and project partners on Monday was a group of residents. One of them was Larry Falkin, who led OES for nearly 13 years until 2020.

    Falkin worked with then-Mayor Mark Mallory in 2007 to bring a resolution through City Council asking the administration to create the city’s first Cincinnati climate plan. They did a public engagement process throughout the year, leading to the adoption of the first Green Cincinnati Plan in 2008.

    Since then, the plan has received an update every five years to reflect changes in climate science and technology, as well as the changing needs of the community. The timeline, he said, provides enough data to set ambitious goals.

    Residents attended more than 40 community meetings and provided thousands of recommendations. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    Residents attended more than 40 community meetings and provided thousands of recommendations. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    “What we’ve seen is that each time we do a five-year plan, by the time you’re two or three years into it, half of the things you set out to do are done and another small slice of the things may have turned out to be impractical,” Falkin added.

    Falkin feels one reason people are more engaged this year is people are realizing climate change isn’t “just in California, where it’s burning and, on the coasts, where the hurricanes are,” he said.

    As of last April, Cincinnati had experienced nine 100-year rainstorm events in the past decade, according to data from OES. The city had spent more than $150 million to address basement flooding and hill-slide issues related to excessive rainfall in recent years.

    “It’s gotten to where that connection has become very visceral, and communities, and it’s inspiring people to want to become more involved,” Falkin said.

    The city set a “pretty high bar” in 2018 in terms of public engagement with 30 public meetings and in terms of the ambitiousness of the plan, Falkin said. He was “blown away” by how the group took this update to the next level this time around.

    “I didn’t know there was another level, but they reached it,” Falkin said with a laugh.

    Owens and Mayor Aftab Pureval praised the community outreach used to get feedback from residents. Much of that was led by Groundwork Ohio River Valley, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit focused on environmental justice.

    The organization worked with Green Umbrella, an environmentally minded nonprofit, to support the broadest community engagement effort in the history of the Green Cincinnati Plan.

    The kickoff meeting took place on June 1 at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Since then, events took place in areas around the city. Staff also visited frontline neighborhoods to ensure their viewpoints made their way into the final document.

    Thousands residents contributed feedback to the draft version of the plan. The city plans to continue working with residents over the next five years to ensure the recommendations are being executed. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    Thousands of residents contributed feedback to the draft version of the plan. The city plans to continue working with residents over the next five years to ensure the recommendations are being executed. (Casey Weldon/Spectrum News 1)

    Residents submitted more that 600 comments on a working version of the draft posted online between January and February. They got only 18 responses during that same period for the 2018 update.

    “It’s been a long year,” said Tanner Yess, Groundwork’s co-executive director.

    “A lot of comments, a lot of data, a lot of opinions, a lot of feelings, a lot of advocacy work, and really a lot of emotion,” he added, “but now the work begins.”

    Groundwork Ohio River Valley is leading the way on Climate Safe Neighborhoods partnership with the city and Green Umbrella. Through that, they’ll work to receive feedback from residents to learn about specific needs there.

    “We have the data and know the hard science, but it needs to be paired with the lived experiences of residents,” he said. “They’re the ones experiencing the effects of climate change in their communities every day and have great insights into what can be done to address those things.”

    Ashlee Young, chair of the Equity Committee, praised the work of the Green Cincinnati Plan for its work to assemble the update. But she emphasized a lot can happen over the course of five years.

    She told residents to continue to talk to leaders at City Hall about what they’re seeing or not seeing in their community. She reminded city leaders of the importance of continuing to be purposeful about their engagement and to “invest in the people and communities most impacted by environmental injustices.”

    If not? “Hold them accountable,” she added.

    To help with transparency, the city partnered with a Swedish company called ClimateView. The company created a dashboard platform specifically for climate action reporting, to help with accountability efforts, Kroner said.

    The dashboard will feature real-time data about local carbon emissions, strategies being used, and GCP milestones.

    Cincinnati is the first major city in the United States to use it, Kroner said.

    “I will tell you that members of the Green Cincinnati team have poured themselves into this work,” he said. “We experience tremendous pressure to get this right — to meet this moment of urgency and opportunity. But together, I believe we can achieve these goals.”

  • January 14, 2023 2:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: The Enquirer 

    Marching for Justice on Mlk Day Displays Compassion Through Action

    On Monday, we will commemorate the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., our country’s most revered civil rights icon. Our community will do so with a series of inspiring events that call upon all of us to work for a "beloved community."

    Among the events on MLK Day will be a march that fittingly begins at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center at 10:30 a.m. Amid the hundreds of marchers that day will be persons of faith, of many faiths, whose respective religious teachings instruct them to pursue compassion and justice for everyone, believers and non-believers alike. More than 14 world religions, both eastern and western in origin, encompassing three dozen distinct traditions that worship here in our community share this moral mandate. They are brothers and sisters for a compassionate and just Cincinnati. On Monday, we will march in solidarity.

    The nonprofit EquaSion through its several interfaith programs has brought them together. Its annual Festival of Faiths has fostered greater awareness, understanding and respect among our diverse faiths. Its "A Mighty Stream" racial justice program has given them an avenue for sacred activism. And, its Faith Communities Go Green initiative, a collaboration with Green Umbrella, engages our diverse faiths in common cause of caring for creation. Together, these and other activities serve EquaSion’s motto of "compassion through action."

    Marcus Parrish, with Sinai Temple No. 59, from East Walnut Hills, center, listens to a prayer at the end of the 47th Annual Commemorative March to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on MLK Day, Jan. 17, 2022. The march started at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and concluded at Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.

    One such action is marching for justice on MLK Day. Why do we march? What’s the point of this seemingly mild gesture of good will in the face of our highly polarized and politicized environment that discourages our aspirations and mutes our hopes for ever achieving a beloved community in Cincinnati? What can we marchers accomplish?

    In truth, it’s a lot. By getting out of our comfortable homes and joining others at the Freedom Center on a winter’s morning, we achieve some important purposes. Here are some that I have experienced:

    I have been inspired by the warm camaraderie from walking with others who share my social values and hopes, comforted in knowing that I’m not alone.

    I have felt a measure of religious integrity for acting on what my good book tells me to do.

    I have felt that I am making a modest contribution to a righteous cause by my taking of a public stand for justice (in stark contrast to the postings of anti-social tropes on social media).

    Despite the freezing temperatures hundreds participated in the 47th Annual Commemorative March to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on MLK Day, Jan. 17, 2022. The march started at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and concluded at Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.

    This simple gesture of participating in the MLK Day march has motivated me to do more for the cause of social justice. History tells us that marching leads to stronger actions. Moreover, as part of a large assemblage of justice-seekers, I have felt, as other marchers for justice and freedom have before me, some political power in this exercise of protesting the unjust inequities that persist in our society. The forces of division and hate must be reminded that we exist, we persons of faith, and that we represent the predominant values of our community.

    These and other benefits of marching on MLK Day await all those who want to be counted, who want to live out their faith, by showing up at the Freedom Center on Monday at 10:30 a.m. We look forward to seeing you there.

    Chip Harrod is the executive director of EquaSion, a nonpartisan, civic nonprofit informed by interfaith dialogue that promotes inclusion, equity, and justice for everyone in Greater Cincinnati. For more information:

  • January 13, 2023 2:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Highland County Press

    10th Annual Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit Announces Keynote Speaker; Is Accepting Submissions, Nominations

    Green Umbrella’s 10th annual conference for environmental advocates, the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit, will take place May 12 at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati and feature keynote speaker Dr. Katharine Wilkinson.

    The Midwest Regional Sustainability brings together hundreds of visionary leaders to share inspiring, forward-thinking and solution-oriented ideas that propel us toward a healthier, more resilient, sustainable and equitable future.

    Green Umbrella is accepting submissions from those interested in presenting short talks, leading workshops, participating in panel discussions or displaying art at the Summit.

    This year’s Summit theme of “Imagine What’s Possible” invites us to explore possibilities that empower and motivate us to build a more vibrant and equitable region. Submissions may explore this theme through a variety of climate-related topics, including but not limited to: healthy & resilient communities, local food systems, justice & equity, green workforce development, high-performing infrastructure and clean transportation.

    Nominations for the 2023 Summit awards are open now. Organizations, individuals, businesses and communities that make strides in the areas of impact, innovation and leadership can be nominated for recognition of their accomplishments at the Summit. Summit submissions and nominations will be accepted through Jan. 31.

    This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, is a bestselling author, strategist and teacher. She leads the All We Can Save Project and co-hosts the podcast A Matter of Degrees. Her TED Talk on climate and gender equality has over 2 million views and she has been featured by Time magazine as one of the 15 women leading the fight against climate change.

    Learn more about the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit by contacting Charlie Gonzalez at

    Green Umbrella is Greater Cincinnati’s green alliance. It brings together businesses, governments, and organizations to make our region a green, healthy and beautiful place for people who live here now and for generations to come.

  • January 10, 2023 2:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Soapbox Cincinnati

    Group Touting Locally Grown Food Selected for Nationwide Project

    The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council has been selected to participate in an 18-month nationwide project that will explore how regional food systems work and how to improve. Fifty councils from around the country applied but only 11 were invited.

    The Food Policy Council is a collective impact organization, where many come together in a structured way to achieve change. The group works to get quality, locally grown food to people who can benefit from their services.

    The Council grew out of an alliance with Green Umbrella, the tri-state’s green sustainability organization. They currently examine ways to efficiently deliver locally grown food from a 10-county area of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana to clients in the area, and also how to benefit the growers. The main beneficiaries of the food network are institutions like schools and hospitals, as well as area chefs, farmers markets, and SNAP recipients.

    “A more competitive, fair, and resilient food system requires investment in regional supply chains, and food policy councils can play a critical role building bridges between rural communities and consumer markets,” says Tricia Kovacs, deputy administrator of the transportation and marketing program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Marketing Service.

    The council is working on a number of projects. They work with area schools to provide fresh food connections and instruction for their students. They also offer guidance about nutrition and food preparation guidance for parents and clients.

    “When we think about food systems, it makes sense for us to work regionally, as our food distribution networks cross state and city boundaries to bring food through the value chain,” says Maddie Chera, director of Cincinnati’s Food Policy Council (FPC). “We are excited that the timing of this community of practice coincides with the implementation of our new strategic plan, role changes in our Food Policy Council, and growth in our parent organization, Green Umbrella.”

    On the surface, it may appear to be a simple process to connect farmers to consumers, but there are often barriers, such as regulations or local policies that interfere, which complicates the process.

    FPC has had some success influencing policies in schools and local governments, Chere says. “Cincinnati changed zoning ordinances to offer more opportunities for urban agriculture," she says.

    In essence, they are using food to build better communities. Over a five-year period, Green Umbrella and the Food Policy Council's collaboration with partners saw annual sales increase from a baseline of $21,500 to $734,843 at the project’s completion.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software