Green Umbrella in the News

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  • July 26, 2022 11:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    Residents in Cincinnati’s Beekman Corridor Make Plans for Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change

    July 26, 2022

    Due to a history of socio-economic segregation, lower-income communities — including those that are predominantly occupied by people of color — have found themselves bearing the brunt of environmental issues. Those issues include the effects of climate change.

    But an initiative by Groundwork Ohio River Valley, Green Umbrella and the City of Cincinnati is looking to tap into the knowledge residents of some of those communities along the so-called Beekman Corridor just west of the Mill Creek have about their neighborhoods. How can places like Millvale, North Fairmount and South Cumminsville become more resilient in the face of climate change? Long-time residents who took part in a climate advisory group have some suggestions for the city.

    Joining Cincinnati Edition to talk more about the Beekman Corridor, Climate Advisory Groups and the City of Cincinnati's Green Cincinnati Plan are Darryl Franklin; Groundwork Ohio River Valley Community Outreach Coordinator Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson; and City of Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability Sustainability Manager Ollie Kroner.


  • July 25, 2022 10:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    Want to Take a Fun Summer Road Trip? Consider Getting Out on a Bike

    July 25, 2022

    Nothing says summertime like a good road trip. But you don’t have to jump in your car to get away for the day, the weekend or longer.

    There are plenty of great routes you can bike — if you take a little time to prepare for the ride.

    What do you need to do, physically, to work up to a longer ride? What should you do to make sure your bike is up for the trip? What should you bring? Who should you bring? What kind of bike is best for distance riding? And what are some fun destinations you can reach in a day or over the course of a weekend?

    Our bike experts will walk you through what you’ll need for your next two-wheeled escape. Joining Cincinnati Edition to talk about it are Tri-State Trails Communication and Events Manager Caitlin Sparks; long-distance cyclist Daniel Iroh; and Chair of the Village Green Foundation Board Nate Kemphues.


  • July 19, 2022 10:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: City Beat

    Cincinnati's 34-Mile CROWN Urban Trail Loop is One Step Closer to Completion

    By Allison Babka

    Aug 2, 2022



    The Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network (CROWN) surpassed a major milestone in June when it secured $6 million of an $8 million goal to complete segments of a 34-mile mixed-use walking/biking path.

    Led by Tri-State Trails (an initiative of regional sustainability alliance Green Umbrella), Wasson Way, Ohio River Way and a public-private partnership, CROWN aims to connect over 100 miles of pre-existing and to-be-constructed trail systems while boosting economic development, improving transportation options, stimulating businesses and promoting healthy activities.

    CROWN launched in August 2020 and has broken a lot of ground since. As it stands, 17 of the 34 miles are complete, five additional miles are completely funded and 12 miles await funding, says Tri-State Trails Director Wade Johnston. A number of public and private partnerships have come together to support CROWN, most notably United Dairy Farmers and Kroger Health (each contributing $1 million) and a capital campaign cabinet co-chaired by Wym and Jan Portman.

    “We’ve been interested for decades in connecting people to the outdoors,” says Jan Portman. “Not only for physical, but mental health. We have dreamed about this kind of urban loop in this city. It’s such a great idea; it connects with so many priorities for so many groups of people, like transportation. But I think most importantly, the CROWN is going to connect people to places that they care about and places that can improve their lives, like universities and grocery stores and parks and the arts and healthcare centers.”

    Currently mid-construction with various segments complete and open for recreation, Cincinnati’s first urban trail loop will enclose and connect more than 50 communities — that’s more than 356,000 people, according to CROWN’s website.

    It’s also notable that CROWN will serve as a “hub,” Johnston says, to access the Little Miami Scenic Trail, Ohio River Trail, Mill Creek Greenway, Wasson Way and Murray Path. It also will include downtown’s Smale Riverfront Park, which was named one of USA Today’s top 10 river walks in 2021, and Riverfront Commons in Northern Kentucky.


    The Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network (CROWN) surpassed a major milestone in June when it secured $6 million of an $8 million goal to complete segments of a 34-mile mixed-use walking/biking path. - Photo: Provided by Wade Johnston

    The Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network (CROWN) surpassed a major milestone in June when it secured $6 million of an $8 million goal to complete segments of a 34-mile mixed-use walking/biking path.

    “The CROWN loop will take advantage of some of the great things in Cincinnati that are unique to the Midwest,” says Wym Portman. “We have a beautiful river, we are connecting to one of the best park systems in America, and we have arts and culture connections to the art museum and Cincinnati Ballet and more.”

    As more segments begin to open for recreation, the benefits are revealing themselves. Jan and Wym Portman attribute the opening of a walk-up window at Busken Bakery along Wasson Way to the development of the trail, as well as a recently announced apartment project by PLK Communities LLC.

    “We call that ‘bikenomics,’ where we are seeing the economics of how much people care about trails and want to be close to them and are willing to support businesses along the way,” Jan Portman says.

    At about $1.5 million per mile (excluding bridges or retaining walls) Tri-State Trails’ Johnston says CROWN is a $50 million project that will leverage $42 million in federal funding in addition to the $8 million target in private donations.

    CROWN now needs to secure the remaining $2 million of that $8 million and has launched promotional programs such as July’s Ales for Trails to help.

    In July, a visit to MadTree Brewing Company, Fifty West Brewing Company, Streetside Brewing, Listermann Brewing Trail House, Big Ash Brewing, Dead Low Brewing or North High Brewing Company can benefit CROWN. Each brewery — all located along existing and planned parts of the path — paid CROWN a fee to participate. Ales for Trails offers a Trail Hop Card (like a passport) that can be obtained at one of the breweries or downloaded on CROWN’s website. Buy a beer, get a stamp. Get stamps from all seven breweries by July 31 to get a free Ales for Trails T-shirt and a chance to win a grand prize raffle.

    Johnston sees Ales for Trails as a part of CROWN’s goal coming to life, as it benefits both patrons and trail-adjacent businesses. He also notes countless coffee shops, ice cream parlors, restaurants and retail spots that exist on the path as possible participants in similar programs in the future.


    “This is what I envision will be the first of many types of programs like this that celebrate what is connected by the trail,” he says. “One of the things I’ve thought about is how along the Ohio River Trail there’s like five different local barbecue joints like Montgomery Inn Boathouse or Eli’s BBQ.”

    He says it’s especially important that anyone can participate in these initiatives by walking or biking instead of driving, which positively impacts the environment as well as individual health.

    “One of the coolest things about the trail network in my opinion is just seeing our city from a different perspective that you cannot see from your car,” Johnston says.

    Part of the trail that’s currently walkable is the portion of Wasson Way from Marburg Avenue in Hyde Park to Montgomery Road at the edge of Xavier University’s campus. ArtWorks’ 300-foot mural “Electric Avenue” dances along a portion of the path on the Duke Energy complex beside Montgomery Road. It colorfully celebrates sustainability, energy, movement and nature and was unveiled in summer 2020.

    While parts of the trail will highlight recreation, others — like the connection to the Uptown Innovation Corridor when Wasson Way is fully complete — highlight one of CROWN’s most pivotal benefits: equitable transportation options.

    “The connection to Uptown is going to touch Avondale, Evanston, Walnut Hills, and it’s going to link the trail into the Uptown Innovation Corridor, and that to me is a game changer,” Johnston says. “Because all of a sudden, the trail will connect to our region’s second largest employment hub, and you have all these densely populated residential areas along Wasson Way that are now going to be connected to the hospitals and the university and all the job opportunities in that area.”

    Specifically, according to Wasson Way’s website, 83,000 residents can benefit from this specific segment of CROWN plus gain walkable access to the 70 shops and restaurants in Rookwood. As of press time, three of the six phases of Wasson Way are finished, with phases four and five (1.25 miles, beginning at Marburg Avenue and ending at Old Red Bank Road) scheduled to be completed by winter and phase six (0.8 miles, beginning at Woodburn Avenue and ending at Blair Court) by 2024.

    The goal is to have the trail completed by 2025.

    “There are all kinds of destinations along the trail that are a part of our park system and all these different business districts that will be close by to the trail network,” says Johnston. “It’s such a cool way to celebrate the history and culture of our city.”

    To learn more about CROWN’s progress or to donate, visit crowncincinnati.org.


  • July 18, 2022 10:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    New Green Umbrella Collaborative Seeks to Bring the Tri-State Together on Climate Solutions

    By Tana Weingartner

    July 18, 2022

    Green Umbrella is launching a Regional Climate Collaborative to help governments, organizations and communities across the Tri-State work together on climate solutions.

    Climate Policy Director Savannah Sullivan says the collaborative will "serve as a network for public agencies to better understand our regional climate impacts, as well as prepare them to advance adaptation and mitigation solutions in their communities."

    She says that includes sharing information and best practices, creating opportunities to work together on projects, and get assistance with technical issues and securing funding.

    All municipalities, businesses, community members and governments in Green Umbrella's 10-county region — some 200 entities — are able to participate. The region includes: Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn and Franklin counties in Indiana.

    Sullivan notes local municipalities and local officials can sometimes be the first to experience and deal with the effects of a climate impacts. She points to issues such as extreme heat, flooding and severe storms.

    "These events increasingly are upending everyday life and the infrastructure that communities depend upon. While efforts to adapt to these impacts are certainly already underway, many local governments face severe funding and capacity constraints."

    Enter the Greater Cincinnati Regional Climate Collaborative to help find and fund communal solutions.

    Working together can also help out when an issue in one community affects another community. Sullivan uses stormwater as an example.

    "Climate equity issues exist across jurisdictional boundaries. If you're downhill from your neighboring jurisdiction, you will receive their stormwater in addition to yours. So how can you collaborate to figure out how to address the stormwater with your neighbor that you're receiving?

    "Similarly, as developers began favoring land that is less exposed to climate impacts, we will have to grapple with the effects at a regional level of climate gentrification, displacing marginalized community members within and outside of their current city," she adds.

    Examples of the collaborative in action are already underway. Sullivan points to Colerain Township, where local leaders as well as the chamber and several companies wanted to work on sustainability and climate issues, but lacked staffing and resources.

    Together they created "Team Up to Green Up."

    "Over the last year, we have already seen them take action to create an Adopt-a-Block waste program, where they worked with the township government and community partners and Rumpke to get folks to sign up for waste pickup along key corridors in Colerain. They have also taken steps to accelerate a street tree program to address extreme heat and beautification needs."

    They also recently got approval to build out a solar array to capture solar energy.

    Green Umbrella intends to kick-start the work by asking people to participate in a survey to help understand people's lived experiences, their needs and where their interests lie.

    "In order to transform public sector action, we really need a big picture of what are the impacts and how can we take steps towards a shared vision," says Sullivan. "From there, we look forward to creating different working groups."

    Another first step will be creating a "regional action playbook," which Sullivan defines as "a menu of tailored sustainability climate actions that people can pick and choose from as they figure out what they're able to implement in their jurisdiction."


  • July 12, 2022 1:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Soapbox Cincinnati

    Ales for Trails to Raise Awareness and Funds for the Crown Network

    July 12, 2022


    During the month of July, 10 beer makers in the Cincinnati region are participating in the annual Ales to Trails campaign to raise awareness about plans for the CROWN network.

    Tri-State Trails, the organization behind the CROWN plan, won’t receive any money from beer sales. Instead, each of the breweries has donated money to support the project and to help raise awareness. Tri-State Trails will accept private donations on its website.

    Visit Spectrum News 1 here to find out which breweries are participating and how you might become one of 100 winners of an Ales for Trails Buff and get entered into raffles for a chance to win brewery merchandise and gift cards.

    Read Soapbox's spring feature The Queen City receives her CROWN to learn more about the community-wide effort to develop an immense and inclusive multiuse trail.

  • July 11, 2022 1:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WCPO

    Buy a Beer to Support Cincinnati’s Trail Network

    By: Madeline Ottilie

    Jul 11, 2022 

    CINCINNATI — Local breweries are helping to raise money this July for the Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network (CROWN). The CROWN is a planned 34-mile urban trail loop that will connect existing and future trails throughout Cincinnati.

    It’s the second annual “Ales for Trails” fundraiser. This year, ten local breweries are participating.

    When you visit a participating brewery and buy a drink, you will earn a stamp to stick on a fundraiser passport. The first 100 people to visit each brewery and complete a full passport will receive a prize.

    The breweries donated money to take part, raising $5,000 for the project. The CROWN is being funded by state and federal grants and donations.

    When it’s finished, the CROWN will connect 54 neighborhoods and destinations like parks and museums. It will connect trails, while also serving as a hub for more than 600 miles of adjacent trails.

    “The CROWN is going to be reconnecting Cincinnati in a way that it hasn't been connected for the past 60 years,” said Wade Johnston, Director of Tri-State Trails.

    “When the highways were built in the ‘60s, it created a lot of divisions in our community. It created racial segregation and the trails are reconnecting these communities with a safe place for for walking and biking.”

    Johnston said the eastern half of the CROWN could be finished by 2026.

    The fundraiser runs until July 31. You can find a list of breweries taking part HERE.


  • July 02, 2022 10:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Spectrum News

    Ales and Trails Event Raises Money, Support for Transformational Crown Bike Trail

    BY CASEY WELDON 

    JUL. 02, 2022

    CINCINNATI — For years, breweries have served as popular gathering places for cyclists and running groups after logging considerable miles across greater Cincinnati. And now, those same breweries are helping to raise support to create the region’s first urban trail loop.

    What You Need To Know

    Ales for Trails aims to use a local love of beer and cycling to raise awareness and support for the in-progress CROWN bike path

    The plans to connect mixed-use paths across greater Cincinnati to create a 34-mile loop

    The projects to not only create recreational opportunities but also make local bike paths more safe and reliable forms of day-to-day transportation

    The event runs all month long at 10 participating breweries who've donated to the CROWN plan


    This July, 10 beer-makers across are taking part in the annual Ales to Trails campaign to raise awareness about plans for the CROWN network.

    CROWN, which stands for the Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network, is a planned 34-mile, multi-use paved, off-street trail that will connect more than 50 communities across Southwest Ohio.

    When complete, the CROWN will connect several key regional trails that are currently detached from one another — Wasson Way, Ohio River Trail, Little Miami Scenic Trail (often called the Loveland Bike Trail), Mill Creek Greenway and Canal Bikeway.

    To take part in the month-long Ales for Trails promotion, individuals need to first stop by one of the participating breweries to grab a Trail Hop Card or download one online. Then, with the purchase of a beer, they’ll get a stamp.

    The first 100 individuals who submit a completed “Trail Hop Card” by July 31 will receive an Ales for Trails Buff. They’ll also receive an entry into raffles for a chance to win brewery merchandise and gift cards.

    “Trails and breweries are places designed to bring people together,” said Caitlin Sparks with Tri-State Trails, the nonprofit spearheading The CROWN project.

    "There are many local breweries sitting right on the CROWN trail and some that are not far off,” she added. “We think this is an enjoyable way for people to come together, have fun and enjoy two of Cincinnati’s greatest resources — breweries and the trail.”

    Streetside Brewery took part in the inaugural fundraiser last year. Garrett Hickey, its managing brewer and owner, called it a “great community event” for an “amazing community asset. He expects this year to be even better.

    “Cincinnati is lucky to have something like this that promotes ease of transit and health of our citizens,” he said. “We’re excited to be back.”

    A year of growth, progress and bikes

    Now in its second year, Ales for Trails has grown from seven breweries to 10. Each of the breweries is on or near part of the CROWN trail loop — and they’re spread across the region. There’s even one in Northern Kentucky this year.


    The list of participating breweries:

    • Fifty West Brewing Company (Mariemont)
    • Listermann Brewing Trail House (Norwood)
    • MadTree Brewing Company (Oakley)
    • Sam Adams Cincinnati Taproom (Over-the-Rhine)
    • Streetside Brewery (East End)
    • Taft’s Ale House (OTR)
    • Taft’s Brewpourium (Spring Grove Village)
    • Urban Artifact (Northside)
    • Woodburn Brewing (East Walnut Hills)
    • Wooden Cask Brewing Company (Newport, Ky.)

    What’s unique about this event is that Tri-State Trails, the organization behind the CROWN plan, won’t receive any money from beer sales. Instead, each of the breweries donated money to support the project and to help raise awareness.

    Tri-State Trails will accept private donations on its website.

    Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails, said that besides fundraising for the construction of the trail, it will also increase support for the project and cycling overall.

    Tri-State Trails, an initiative under the environmental nonprofit Green Umbrella, advocates for bicycling as an important tool for enhancing the vibrancy and equity in communities.

    Once finished, the CROWN will connect to a number of parks, schools, employment centers, stores and entertainment options, such as breweries.

    “Just like the neighborhood breweries,” Johnston said, “the trail is a welcoming public space that connects people.”

    Giacomo Ciminello, the taproom manager at Woodburn Brewery in East Walnut Hills, sees “many joggers and cyclists” whizzing past the large street-facing windows on Woodburn Avenue. “It only made sense to give them a small respite while they’re out enjoying the day.”

    For Bobby Slattery, owner of Fifty West, the topic is a little more personal. While he’s reluctant to call himself “a cyclist” because he “doesn’t ride 120 miles a week,” he has a passion for the sport and rides, even taking part in a few triathlons.

    Since opening a decade ago, his east side brewery has been a regular stop for cyclists in part because of the Little Miami trail that now runs behind it.

    “It wasn’t always in our backyard,” he said. “We spent about 10 years working with all the different agencies to help pull that trail together. Now, we get thousands of cyclists and runners every month.”

    Fifty West actively sponsors local running groups and cycling teams. Slattery wanted to find an “active way” for people to get involved in the community.

    Grabbing a cold beer — and one of Fifty West’s popular burgers — is a great way to get a few carbs and calories back after a long run or bike ride, too, he joked.

    “It’s a social thing first and foremost,” Slattery said. “There’s not a better way to kick back after a 30-mile ride than having a beer with your friends and just talking about the experience or really just life in general.”

    Over the course of a month, Fifty West will have “thousands” of hardcore cyclists and runners make their way through the taproom. What gets Slattery most excited, though, is seeing the casual riders enjoying a weekend together out on the trail.

    “What’s neat, for us, is to see the families that decide to head out for a ride and then stop at our brewery for a snack after their ride,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

    Building a network of trail network that’s fun and useful

    The CROWN project has received support from a collection of supporters, including Wasson Way, Ohio River Way, the City of Cincinnati and Great Parks of Hamilton County. There’ve also been a collection of corporate partners.

    Tri-State Trails will use $44 million in public funding, plus another $10 million in private donations to bring the dream to life.

    So far, the trail connection process is about halfway done.

    Katie Varatta is a “big fan” of the CROWN proposal. The 42-year-old has been cycling for more than 15 years, starting back when she lived in Chicago.


    Now in Anderson Township, Varatta’s typical ride takes her from her house in Anderson Township to Salem Road and down Eastern Avenue. She’ll pass both Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium before turning around and heading back.

    “More often than not,” she’ll stop at Streetside on Eastern for a beer (or two) on the way home.

    “Every time I stop after a ride with a group of people or even by myself, there are always other cyclists doing the same thing,” she added. “It definitely adds to that feeling of community."

    Colin Groth, a downtown resident, loves the local cycling scene — the local bike shops; the growing park system and trails; the camaraderie of the ever-increasing number of riding groups and the regular meetups at local business, whether they’re coffee shops like Deeper Roots or a local brewery. He often parks at Fifty West before hitting the Loveland Trail.

    Safety remains a concern, though.

    “We have some great amenities in our trailways like Lunken, Loveland and the Ohio River Trail, and I enjoy it once I get to the trails, but it’s definitely still a challenge sharing the road (with cars and trucks),” he said.

    A distracted driver hit Groth while he was riding his bike near Findlay Market in OTR a few years ago. He noted specific areas, like Riverside Avenue on the east side, Central Parkway in downtown and other areas with unprotected bike lanes.

    The CROWN will help ease some of those travel risks. It would offer riders an entirely off-road, paved path.

    As part of the Trails for Ales promotion, Tri-State Trails will promote not only the CROWN but a general advocacy for the needs of cyclists.

    “This isn’t just about raising money. It’s about raising awareness about bicycling as both recreation and a mode of transportation,” Sparks said. She sees the promotion to “get people to talk about the topic over a beer.”

    More information about the CROWN plan and the Ales for Trails event is available on the event’s website.

  • June 30, 2022 3:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Magazine

    Get on the Green Team

    By John Fox

    June 30, 2022

    A surprisingly vast array of experts across Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are ready, willing, and able to help you go green.

    Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit

    The annual get-together for swapping sustainability ideas among business, nonprofit, and community leaders is June 16 at Xavier University’s Cintas Center. Students and the general public are welcome as well, and there’s a virtual ticket for livestreams. The keynote speaker is Kristin Baja of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, who helps cities identify strategic ways to advance climate resilience planning and implementation. Panelists include experts from local groups like Cincinnati Parks, Community Matters, Groundwork Ohio River Valley, and Queen City Commons.

    Common Orchard Project

    This nonprofit installed and maintains 12 public orchards in Camp Washington, Mt. Auburn, North Fairmount, and Price Hill to increase access to fresh food, tree canopy, walkable greenspace, and community building in neighborhoods experiencing disinvestment. Supported by Green Umbrella and the national Giving Grove organization, plus dedicated volunteers, more orchard planting is planned. Workshops can also teach you to plant locally adapted fruit trees in your own yard.

    Hamilton County R3Source

    This county government unit provides recycling and waste reduction services for residents, schools, and businesses. Apply for a $10,000 grant to fund new reuse, food rescue, or composting ideas. They train commercial kitchens to track food waste and safely set up donation programs. They’ll connect you with recycling solutions for waste and by-product materials. They’ll host an enrichment program at your workplace, organization, club, or event. They seriously want to help!

    Carlie Trott, University of Cincinnati

    The assistant professor of psychology researches and teaches how to use transformational social change to advance environmental justice and sustainability. In other words, how do we get everyone to understand that climate change impacts equity and justice in underserved communities and then collectively do something about it? Outside of the classroom, she’s active with the UC Center for Public Engagement With Science.

    Transportation Troops

    Dozens of local groups and companies would love to help you substitute cleaner, greener options for gas-guzzling car trips. Tri-State Trails advocates for bike paths and protected urban bike lanes to promote “active transportation”. Red Bike offers e-bikes for rent at 57 stations on both sides of the river. The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber promotes better public transit to connect people to jobs. Mike Albert Subscribe enables you to lease a different new car, including Teslas, every month.

  • June 30, 2022 3:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WXVU

    Why It Gets Hotter in the City Than It Does in the Suburbs

    By Ann Thompson

    June 30, 2022

    With another mid-week heat blast coming, residents are doing all they can to stay cool. It’s easier for some than others, according to University of Cincinnati’s Design, Architecture, Art and Planning Assistant Professor Pravin Bhiwapurkar.

    Bhiwapurkar studies how urban development contributes to the heat island (UHI) effect. He got a fully funded Ph.d. fellowship researching this, and since then has been trying to help cities and communities experiencing higher heat. UHI affects building energy needs, microenvironments and human health — especially older populations and the very young.

    What causes the temperatures to rise Downtown?

    “Their heat exposure is much higher there because of the low tree canopy cover, high impervious surfaces, to also the community proximity to the freeways and industrial areas, which can also transport a lot of heat to that area,” says Bhiwapurkar. Black roofs and heat created by building air conditioning units also are contributing factors.

    Bhiwapurkar began working with the city of Cincinnati in 2015 and credits the current administration, as well as previous ones, for taking steps to cool things down. WVXU’s Becca Costello reported on a climate change public hearing in Bond Hill last month.

    He also appreciates the work organizations like Groundwork Ohio River Valley and Green Umbrella, with its equitable climate solutions plan, are doing. Here is one example on WVXU’s Cincinnati Edition.

    Other solutions

    Bhiwapurkar recommends “opening more cool centers in the communities where people can access those buildings with air conditioners; some water misters at bus stops and some public spaces. Socially, there is a neighborhood watch program where people can watch (check-in) with their friends, families and relatives.”

    The city of Cincinnati says it is committed to addressing extreme heat. On its Environmental and Sustainability (OES) page, it says it organized community volunteers to collect heat data on August 10, 2020, using heat/humidity sensors attached to vehicles. The study also included additional jurisdictions: Elmwood Place, Lincoln Heights, Norwood and St. Bernard.

    OES received the results of this campaign in late October 2020. Read the Heat Watch Cincinnati report here.

  • June 23, 2022 3:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: USDA

    Green Umbrella Regional Sustainability Alliance

    USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

    June 23, 2022

    Our Seeds of Success series highlights the accomplishments and lessons-learned from Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) grant recipients. Learning from one another, we can build stronger local food systems across the nation.

    Green Umbrella, a non-profit in Cincinnati, Ohio, was originally formed in 1998 to address what the founders saw as “diminishing natural areas and biodiversity in the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana region.” The organization has continually evolved to meet the environmental sustainability, food, and health needs of the region. In 2011, Green Umbrella adopted a collective impact model and began working with other organizations in the Cincinnati area. In 2015, the group launched the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council. Through this work, the organization started working with two food hubs that were looking to grow.

    Why FMLFPP

    In 2017, Green Umbrella sought to grow their work with two regional food hubs: Ohio Valley Food Connection (aka Local Food Connection) and Our Harvest Cooperative. Their goal was to increase farm sales, increase access of locally produced agricultural products to institutions and wholesale markets, and increase the number of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified farms. By combining resources and expertise, the food hubs would be able to develop efficiencies and grow in ways that may not have been possible when operating individually. While both food hubs had enjoyed success, operational limitations along with challenges in expanding sales into the institutional and wholesale markets threatened the long-term sustainability of these two food hubs. Green Umbrella received a Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) grant for $322,483 to support these goals and address the limitations.

    To increase sales and optimize market positioning, Green Umbrella intended to use its LFPP grant to develop a formal collaboration with the two food hubs. Grant funds helped the Ohio Valley Local Food Hub Project to pursue its goals of developing new wholesale market opportunities and cost-saving efficiencies. Technical assistance provided through the project would allow farmers to meet food safety requirements and improve warehousing and transportation capabilities.

    Impact

    The collaboration between the two hubs has resulted in comprehensive and significant improvements for food distribution in the region. These improvements impacted producers; distributors; institutional, wholesale and household buyers; and others affiliated with the distribution network. During the grant period:

    Annual sales increased from a baseline of $21,500 to $734,843 at the project completion.

    The number of new institutional clients purchasing food through the Local Food Connection Food Hub grew from 8 to 126.

    Local Food Connection further developed its culture of food safety excellence, growing to 23 USDA Good Agricultural Practices audited producers.

    Local Food Connection merged with What Chefs Want! in 2019, a regional distribution company, enabling the hub to leverage the marketing, distribution, storage, processing, existing food service management contracts, customer service, and other factors contributing to success and growth.

    Local Food Connection and Our Harvest Co-op co-located allowing the two food hubs to share the same space and common expenses of warehousing, dry and cold storage, and utility costs. Their complementary logistics schedules optimize the space utilization.

    Lessons Learned

    Institutional clients want education with their local food. Institutional buyers requested that employee engagement and education be paired with the purchase of local food for their menu.

    Values-driven frameworks creates the road map buyers need. Institutions, such as Cincinnati Public Schools and the University of Kentucky, have established policies in their contracts that promote the purchasing of local food and support the regional food system.

    Distributors are influential in setting prices and making local food available to institutional buyers. Distributors are powerful and may source regionally and nationally, combining produce from many farms to meet bid requirements including local produce, which may not have had a market otherwise.

    Efficient crop planning is key. Maintain a high level of communication with farmers on crop availability, volumes, and any changes in crop plans that might affect a buyer’s plan.

    Smaller producers may be able to respond quickly to supply chain disruptions. Lauren Marlow, the Cincinnati Public School’s Manager of Nutrition, shared that in her experience “smaller producers had more flexibility to overcome hurdles, unlike the bigger producers who had labor shortages for producing and trucking produce to distributors and customers.”

    Where are they now?

    Technology has become a vital next step for the project work, especially with the efficiencies developed during the merger between the Local Food Connection and the larger distributor, What Chefs Want! It is becoming increasingly important to seamlessly integrate local products into larger orders by institutions and corporate clients. The grant enabled Green Umbrella to continue to grow support from institutional buyers for the local food system. Our Harvest is expected to grow through the expansion of buying co-ops; an employer supported CSA program; and increasing small scale retailers in low food access neighborhoods.


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