Green Umbrella in the News

  • August 28, 2020 11:03 AM | Anonymous

    By: Hanna K. Sparling

    Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

    West Siders have a new place to ride their bikes along the Ohio River.

    It’s part of the Ohio River Trail West. The new section is short, a 0.6 mile stretch that runs along the river from Evans Street to State Avenue.

    Eventually, it will be part of a three-and-a-half-mile path that goes east to Riverside Park.

    And further down the line, it will all be part of a 26-mile path to Shawnee Lookout Park on the Indiana border.

    That’s the long-term, 10- to 20-year vision, said Tri-State Trails Director Wade Johnston, but getting the first 0.6-mile portion done is “kind of putting a stake in the ground and saying, ‘OK, we’re doing this.’”

    The city has allocated funding for two of the three segments of the three-and-a-half-mile project as well as a small section at the end that is already complete. The cost for those first two segments is about $2.4 million, with about $1.8 million coming from grants.

    The second segment will be completed in 2021. 

    The third segment is not yet funded.

    The first 0.6-mile segment of the Ohio River Trail West is complete. When all segments are done, the trail will be 3.5 miles long.


    The new trail comes at a time when there is renewed interest in biking in Cincinnati and across the nation, one of the side effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

    An Enquirer report earlier this month, however, revealed that the city is far behind its own goals regarding bike infrastructure. By now, according to the city’s plans, Cincinnati should have about 170 miles of on-street bike infrastructure such as bike lanes. In reality, only about 30 miles actually exist.  

    For off-street infrastructure, such as bike paths and trails, the city’s goal was to have close to 50 miles by now, compared to just over 33 miles that actually exist.

    The Ohio River West Trail is a step toward those goals and toward bringing some focus to bicycling on the West Side, Johnston said. The East Side of Cincinnati has a lot of trail projects, but the West Side has historically been left out, he said.

    “We want to bring that same opportunity over to the West Side,” he said.

    The trail is open already, though the city is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday near the intersection of River Road and State Street. For more information, visit the Ohio River Trail West Facebook page.




  • August 26, 2020 11:01 AM | Anonymous

    By: Green Umbrella

    Source: The Clermont Sun

    Climate policy is often most effective at the local level, but most local governments in the Greater Cincinnati region lack capacity to build climate resiliency. Now those governments will receive assistance through Green Umbrella’s Climate Policy Lead, who will serve as a point person to support and increase collaboration on responses to the effects of climate change.

    Green Umbrella, the regional sustainability alliance, has created and is hiring the Climate Policy Lead position with the support of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation and the Murray and Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation. Though the Cincinnati region is home to over 185 local governments, only one of those, the City of Cincinnati, currently has a Green Plan.

    The Climate Policy Lead will help local governments prepare their communities for transformations in transportation, energy and climate, while protecting their most vulnerable populations from the harmful effects of pollution, flooding and heat. The Cincinnati region is seeing more extreme heat days, heavier rain and more frequent heavy rain due to changing climate patterns.

    The increased rain causes flooding, landslides and increased water pollution, which local governments must pay to fix, and hotter summers cause more heat-related deaths and air quality alert days.

    People of color or with low incomes are hardest hit because they are more likely to live near air-polluted highways, in flood zones, in homes with frequent sewer backups, and without air conditioning.

    “When we listened to our stakeholders last year, we heard loud and clear from elected officials and government staff that they wanted to connect with each other and share solutions around reducing their communities’ climate footprint and planning for the effects of climate change,” Ryan Mooney-Bullock, executive director of Green Umbrella, said.

    Green Umbrella supported the City of Cincinnati through the development and renewal of the Green Cincinnati Plan and is one of the key partners on the implementation of the Plan’s strategies.

    Since most local governments in the region are small, they often lack the staff support or budgets to carry out sustainability goals, even when elected officials champion them. “When local governments prepare for climate change they see more predictable spending, the health of their residents improves, and their infrastructure responds well to the shocks and stresses of a changing climate,” says Jerry Newfarmer, board President The Agnes and Murray Seasongood Good Government Foundation.

    “The Climate Policy Lead will equip community leaders to make meaningful change and encourage collaboration – further strengthening regional resiliency,” Sunny Reelhorn Parr, executive director of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, said. “Unlocking solutions and removing barriers at the local level are often most effective to help lift up the community.”

    Green Umbrella is seeking candidates for Climate Policy Lead position through Sept. 14 and is committed to recruiting a diverse candidate pool. Find the job description here.

    Green Umbrella leads collaboration, incubates ideas, and catalyzes solutions to create a resilient, sustainable region for all.

  • August 19, 2020 5:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Press Release                                                                                                    

    For Immediate Release  

    For more information contact:

    Anne Schneider, Anne@greenumbrella.org, (513) 262-0366

    Farm to School Coordinator, Green Umbrella                             

    Farm-to-School Educators Workshop Will Connect Kids to Farm-Fresh Food

    Cincinnati – While the phrase Farm to School conjures up images of fresh, local produce served to happy, healthy kids in a school cafeteria, getting kids to be happy with eating healthy food can be a challenge. The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council will address that challenge head on at the Farm to School Educators Workshop, a virtual workshop scheduled for Sept. 19 from 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. The workshop is designed to support teachers working to institute farm-to-school practices at their schools whether in person or virtual.  In the past three years, 25 school districts around the Greater Cincinnati region purchased produce from local farms and served it in their cafeterias.

    “Being able to offer students healthy, local foods is a huge success,” says Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council director Michaela Oldfield, “but we have to couple access with education. Education on how food is grown and tastes is key to getting students to eat and enjoy local produce.”

    The workshop aims to train to K-12 teachers and educators to integrate agriculture and food education into the school, classroom and extra-curricular activities. Panelists will address in-person and virtual resources and how they are making impacts during the COVID-19 period. Topics will include using school gardens and cooking classes for STEM, social studies and literacy education as well as a variety of ways educators can involve other parts of their school community in supporting farm to school education.

    According to the National Farm to School Network, “Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education settings.”

    “Farm to School education is the social justice work of our time,” believes Mary Dudley, Agriculture Educator at Gamble Montessori High School. “A child's engagement with the world of agriculture through healthy, nutritious meals and an experience of cultivation provides the power of resilience for a positive future.”

    The cost of this event for teachers is covered by Green Umbrella with support from the USDA Farm to School program. Certificates will be provided for continuing education credits. Registration is required online at https://greenumbrella.org/event-3772372

    Organizing Partners are Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and 4-H; University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; Gorman Heritage Farm; Northern Kentucky Health Department and Eat Healthy NKY and the Civic Garden Center.

     

    ###

    The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council is an initiative of Green Umbrella. It facilitates collaboration to create systemic solutions for healthy, equitable, sustainable food access. Learn more at greenumbrella.org/food-policy.


  • August 18, 2020 10:37 AM | Anonymous

    By: Hannah K. Sparling

    Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

    "Cincinnati, like other cities around the nation, is experiencing a bike boom as people look for new methods of entertainment and exercise during the coronavirus pandemic...ut as new riders hit the streets, is Cincinnati ready to accommodate them?"

    "10 years into the city's 15-year bike plan that was supposed to make cycling “an integral part of daily life.” By now, according to the plan’s timeline, Cincinnati should have around 170 miles of on-street bike infrastructure, including more than 80 miles of bike lanes and 20 miles of climbing lanes, specific space for cyclists as they ride up hills."

    "What do we actually have? About 30 miles, according to an analysis from Tri-State Trails."

    "Several people mentioned that the city’s off-street trails do seem to be nicer than the on-street bike lanes...That’s kind of been the tradeoff, said Wade Johnston, a bike commuter and director of the bicycling advocacy group Tri-State Trails. While Johnston is disappointed parts of the 2010 bike plan have gone unfulfilled, he’s encouraged by the work going into off-street trails, such as Wasson Way and the Ohio River Trail."

    "According to the 2010 plan, Cincinnati should have 49.4 miles of off-street bicycling infrastructure by now. The city actually has 33.3 miles, with funding secured for another 11.2 miles. That’s much closer to goal than the on-street portion."

    Read the entire article at: 
    https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2020/08/13/bicycling-cincinnati-city-ready-influx-new-riders/5485280002/ 


  • August 14, 2020 11:04 AM | Anonymous

    Press Release: For Immediate Release

    For more information contact: 

    Rashida Manuel, rashida@greenumbrella.org, 513.541.3410

    Director of Public Engagement, Green Umbrella

    Green Umbrella Awarded Funding to Advance Climate Planning with Local Governments

    Cincinnati, OH — Climate policy is often most effective at the local level, but most local governments in the Greater Cincinnati region lack capacity to build climate resiliency. Now those governments will receive assistance through Green Umbrella’s Climate Policy Lead, who will serve as a point person to support and increase collaboration on responses to the effects of climate change.

    Green Umbrella, the regional sustainability alliance, has created and is hiring the Climate Policy Lead position with the support of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation and the Murray and Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation. Though the Cincinnati region is home to over 185 local governments, only one of those, the City of Cincinnati, currently has a Green Plan.

    The Climate Policy Lead will help local governments prepare their communities for transformations in transportation, energy and climate, while protecting their most vulnerable populations from the harmful effects of pollution, flooding and heat. The Cincinnati region is seeing more extreme heat days, heavier rain and more frequent heavy rain due to changing climate patterns. The increased rain causes flooding, landslides and increased water pollution, which local governments must pay to fix, and hotter summers cause more heat-related deaths and air quality alert days. People of color or with low incomes are hardest hit because they are more likely to live near air-polluted highways, in flood zones, in homes with frequent sewer backups, and without air conditioning.

    “When we listened to our stakeholders last year, we heard loud and clear from elected officials and government staff that they wanted to connect with each other and share solutions around reducing their communities’ climate footprint and planning for the effects of climate change,” said Ryan Mooney-Bullock, executive director of Green Umbrella.

    Green Umbrella supported the City of Cincinnati through the development and renewal of the Green Cincinnati Plan and is one of the key partners on the implementation of the Plan’s strategies. Since most local governments in the region are small, they often lack the staff support or budgets to carry out sustainability goals, even when elected officials champion them. “When local governments prepare for climate change they see more predictable spending, the health of their residents improves, and their infrastructure responds well to the shocks and stresses of a changing climate,” says Jerry Newfarmer, board President The Agnes and Murray Seasongood Good Government Foundation.

    “The Climate Policy Lead will equip community leaders to make meaningful change and encourage collaboration – further strengthening regional resiliency,” says Sunny Reelhorn Parr, executive director of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation. “Unlocking solutions and removing barriers at the local level are often most effective to help lift up the community.”

    Green Umbrella is seeking candidates for Climate Policy Lead position through September 14 and is committed to recruiting a diverse candidate pool. Find the job description at https://greenumbrella.org/Green-Jobs/9148693.



  • August 07, 2020 11:08 AM | Anonymous

    Source: WCPO - Cincinnati Scripps

    New grant aimed at fighting, solving food insecurity in Cincinnati.

    Green Umbrella, Freestore Foodbank and other groups plan to use $100,000 grant to work together to address root causes of food insecurity in Cincinnati.


  • July 31, 2020 11:14 AM | Anonymous

    By: Carrie Blackmore Smith

    Source: Cincinnati Magazine

    There’s never been a better time to try locally produced fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, eggs, and herbs. And now, thanks to the COVID-19 shutdown, you can get almost everything delivered to your doorstep.

    Heyyyyy, cow!” Jeremy Boswell yells from the all-terrain vehicle he’s using to give a tour of his 132-acre farm in New Richmond. And here comes the herd—caramel colored with long shaggy hair and long horns, light tan with short hair and short horns, one black and white—stampeding over a fairway on the former Lindale Golf Course.

    Jeremy Boswell raises beef, pork, chickens, and turkeys at Emmett Ridge Farm.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    Boswell has been raising cattle and other animals for nine years, beginning on a small homestead in the area with enough meat and produce to feed his family. He owned a successful tree-trimming business at the time, but felt himself pulled toward farming after studying where our food comes from. Boswell decided to become a full-time farmer and, with his wife Lauren’s support, began leasing farmland from his in-laws in Georgetown, Ohio, and built a small customer base. But the Boswells felt a calling, from both God and their consciences, to serve more people, so they bought the golf course just 25 minutes from downtown Cincinnati.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    Zipping around his property, Boswell points out a pond where he wants to try aquaculture to raise tilapia or other fish for consumption. He’ll stock one of the ponds with catfish, his favorite. There’s an area that should be good for a fruit orchard, and he’s going to lend some of his land to a local farmer to plant a produce garden. “Our mission early on was to help lead the charge to a vibrant, sustainable food system locally,” Boswell says. Emmett Ridge Farm—named after their eldest son, whose name means “strong, hardworking, industrious leader”—now provides up to 150 area households with monthly subscriptions for assortments of grass-fed beef, pasture-raised and heritage-bred pork, and pasture-raised chickens and turkeys. An 18-pound order is $140 a month. Their boxes, delivered to customers’ doorsteps, can now include fresh produce from nearby Foxtail Farm.

    The Boswells represent one cog in a local food system that’s better organized and more accessible than ever. Convenience used to be the enemy of local farms, but innovative farmers are adding delivery, on-farm markets, and other ways to connect with consumers.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    The truth is, if you’re privileged with extra time, a form of transportation, and a little wiggle room in your budget, you can get all your fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, breads, and so much more from producers in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. And you can get to know the farmers and support staff who do the actual work.

    At the same time, our local system is far from living up to its potential, says Michaela Oldfield, director of the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, an initiative of Green Umbrella, the region’s environment and sustainability alliance. “The thing is, local and regional food systems are not luxuries,” she says. “They’re essential for us to be resilient to things like COVID-19. If we had good interconnected systems, we could compensate when one market collapses or one region doesn’t produce. That’s what’s so great about a strong local food system nested in a strong national and global system, which we don’t have yet.”

    On a warm spring morning, Estevan and Toncia Chavez pack black cooler bags inside a barn on their 68-acre property in Felicity, Ohio. They bounce between the walk-in and standing fridge, stuffing frozen meat, microgreens, eggs, and other items from local farms into bags, checking off items on lists. Five drivers for their company, ETC Produce & Provisions, are ready to take roughly 150 orders to homes across Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

    Toncia Chavez sells 500 dozen eggs every week through her company, ETC Produce & Provisions.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    The Chavezes got the idea for ETC while living on an organic farm in Oregon. They met as chefs at a Louisville restaurant and worked in the food industry much of their careers. Toncia managed food departments (bakery, wine, and meat counter) for a large grocery chain, while Estevan worked with his Cincinnati-based family business, opening and managing parking lots. “We never saw one another,” says Toncia. “We were exhausted all of the time.”

    They decided they had the resources to make a major change, so they hit the road and lived in a camper for a few years “WWOOFing” across the country. That’s Willing Workers on Organic Farms (or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, depending on who you ask). “We really used the time to reconnect to life,” Toncia says, and they began to formulate a plan for their own farm. They wanted a child and decided to move back to the Cincinnati area. The couple looked at more than 100 properties around Lexington, Louisville, and Cincinnati before finding this one in Felicity. Soon after, they welcomed a son, Nicodemous, into the world.

    Toncia says, at first, area farmers were confused with the ETC concept. “They were like, You want to sell my stuff?” she says. “We had to build some street cred.” That was April 2017. They’d secured a table at the Findlay Market weekend farmers’ market and started a chicken operation producing about 12 dozen eggs a week. Today they sell roughly 500 dozen eggs per week through their delivery service and a brick-and-mortar space inside Findlay’s Market House, along with items from roughly 100 local purveyors. “We want to be the Amazon of local food in Cincinnati,” says Toncia, who envisions having several storefronts around the region one day.

    Roughly 55 percent of the fruits and 32 percent of the vegetables eaten by Americans today are imported from another country, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. There have always been two streams within our food chain, says Oldfield of the Food Policy Council: one for big farms and one for medium to small farms. The nation’s supply chain doesn’t make it easy for the latter to get a piece of the retail market. Nevertheless, she says, Cincinnati’s local food system is gaining ground.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    Oldfield knows this because of a 2018 report the policy council completed on the state of local food, updating a similar report from 2013. It shows that we’ve made significant progress in distribution, consumption, and access. For example, two local food hubs, Local Food Connection and Our Harvest Cooperative, now connect producers to restaurants, institutions, and individual consumers and provide resources for those working in our food system. Both formed in 2015, and by 2018 they reported a total of $1.3 million in local food sales—a pipeline farms just didn’t have before.

    The Food Policy Council, also created in 2015, has been working with the hubs to commit schools, universities, museums, company cafeterias, conference centers, and other institutional buyers to acquiring a portion of their food from local producers. Our region also has two incubator kitchens now—Incubator Kitchen Collective in Newport and Findlay Kitchen in Over-the-Rhine—providing shared equipment and space for member artisans to create items like jams and baked goods. More and more grocery stores carry local produce.

    “Even small behavior changes can be really meaningful,” Oldfield says to those thinking about buying more local food. “If 10 percent of the Greater Cincinnati population shifted 10 percent of its food budget to local products, it would infuse about $66 million into the local economy annually.” For a local family, that 10 percent equals roughly $15 a week on local foods, she notes.

    Under pink grow lights, the tomatoes at 80 Acres Farm are otherworldly. Growing in aisles suspended off the ground, their stems wrap around and around their bases and suck up nutrients from natural soil substitutes such as peat moss or coco coir. “They grow about a foot a week,” says farm supervisor Zach Burns, standing in the 30,000-square-foot facility that was a former Miami Motor parts plant in downtown Hamilton. Since February 2019, it’s been a hydroponic farm.

    80 Acres produces more than 3,000 tomatoes each week at its indoor farm in downtown Hamilton.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    The operation captures, cleans, and reuses 97 percent of its water. Pesticides or herbicides are never applied. They produce an average of 3,000 tomatoes weekly, which are sold by Madison’s at Findlay Market, Butler’s Pantry in Covington, 10 local Kroger stores, Jungle Jim’s, and Whole Foods.

    Something else is different about these tomatoes. While outdoor plants produce tomatoes for three to four months, these can produce as long as 16 months. It took years to create such a perfect tomato, says Mike Zelkind, who cofounded 80 Acres with business partner Tisha Livingston in 2015. The company regularly tests its tomatoes in the lab, and tissue samples always show high levels of vitamins and minerals, says Zelkind. “Instead of genetically modifying a plant to survive in some environment, we take the most natural heirloom seeds and create the best environment for them to grow,” he says. “The tomato industry is producing these perfectly red tasteless tomatoes that have no nutritional value and taste like teddy bear stuffing instead of this yummy local stuff. That’s the problem with our country’s food system.”

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    80 Acres grows lettuce mixes, cucumbers, microgreens, and herbs year-round, too, and its newest facilities are mostly automated. “Technology enables agriculture to do things we couldn’t have imagined before,” says Zelkind. “We decided that we had to build what 10 years ago was literally science fiction and five years ago you couldn’t make profitable.”

    Alice Chalmers, founder of the Local Food Connection hub, agrees that our local food supply chain has evolved quickly in just a few years. She arrived in the Cincinnati area from Maryland in 2014. Her family has roots in Kentucky, and she moved back for personal reasons, but Chalmers brought along an idea to build a food business that could help “everyone find what they want” and promote local sustainable agriculture at the same time.

    She started by working with a handful of farmers and a handful of chefs—it’s our restaurants that should be credited, she says, for really getting the local food economy going. With a master’s degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania and a 20-year career in strategic planning behind her, Chalmers knew she needed to scale up. “I wanted proof of concept that it could be fiscally sound,” she says.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    By year three, she was in the black. Local Food Connection is now operating in Dayton, Louisville, and Lexington and was just acquired by Creation Gardens, a midsized food distributor, which allowed for expansion into Columbus, Indianapolis, and Nashville. “As you increase in volume, you need more trucks, more infrastructure, more storage space,” says Chalmers. “They were able to count on us to do local food aggregation. Each of us saw the value of that partnership.”

    COVID-19 altered everything, Chalmers says, with food being redirected where it could be as restaurants and schools stopped buying. So Local Food Connection expanded its delivery service to Cincinnati and Lexington households in early May.

    My first Local Food Connection order finally arrives at my house, with three pounds of Kentucky-raised veal short ribs destined to become a meal for five in my Instant Pot; a plastic grocery bag stuffed with hydroponic kale that will last more than three weeks in the fridge; a washed-rind–style cheese; a pound of multicolor radishes; and a pound of candy-yellow onions. Total damage: $60, including a $5.99 delivery charge. The ribs, a bit of a splurge, cost $35.74 alone.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    Six days later, my ETC order arrives: beets, green onions, mint, apples, sunflower shoots, sweet potatoes, a dozen eggs, whole wheat flour, Kentucky stone-ground white grits, a kombucha from Cincinnati and one from Indianapolis, locally made deodorant, and two chicken breasts. I ordered the organic artichokes from California because, well, spring artichokes shouldn’t be missed. Total bill: $93.50. Both orders come directly to my house near downtown, dropped safely behind my coded gate in cooler bags.

    Other than the artichokes, everything I bought was produced within a 50-mile radius of Cincinnati, including from growers within a 100-mile radius whose items can be purchased inside those 50 miles. That’s the definition of “local food,” according to the Central Ohio River Valley (CORV) Local Food Guide, released each spring. We’re talking about small- and medium- sized farms and community gardens commonly following organic, sustainable, or regenerative (the new buzzword) methods. Old, conventional farming practices have wrecked the soil for generations; regenerative farming ultimately means adhering to growing and grazing practices that rebuild the organic material in soil and restore degraded biodiversity.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    Inside the 50-mile Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky foodshed, there are now more than 50 small farms, more than 40 farmers’ markets, and more than 20 community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, according to CORV. CSAs are farm memberships selling a share of what’s grown. At Carriage House Farm, for example, a popular CSA in North Bend, members choose between a $500 standard share for 24 weeks of vegetables or a $300 work share with the same amount of vegetables and a requirement to work 24 hours on the farm.

    Alan Wight, an assistant professor and service learning coordinator at The Christ Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences, has spent the last several years studying and mapping our local food system as part of his master’s and doctoral studies at the University of Cincinnati. He teaches a course on nut and fruit production at Cincinnati State and is leading an effort to put the history and data he’s collected from the Central Ohio River Valley’s local food system into a book called Edible City: An Art Atlas.

    The local foods landscape is changing so quickly now that Wight says it’s hard to keep up, and many challenges remain. Farmers are aging out in this country and are often woefully underpaid, he says. In reporting this story, I heard from lots of people making low wages, even a CSA farmer who got IOUs for months in lieu of payment. “You don’t make money farming,” says Wight. “A farmer’s equity is all tied up in his or her land. Most farmers have off-the-farm jobs to survive.”

    It’s also highly volatile work, Wight says. A week of spring nights below freezing, and you can lose an entire crop of strawberries or asparagus. Super wet falls might destroy harvests that prefer dry conditions. These unreliable conditions are one of the unfortunate consequences of climate change, which Chalmers sees as the biggest threat to farmers. Meanwhile, large grain farms and livestock operations are underwritten by massive federal agricultural subsidies, says Wight, while produce farms pay low wages to migrant workers. “We have an ag system that’s paying people to grow huge amounts of corn and soy for animal feed or additives to the rest of the food system,” he says. “I’m not going to say, Take that away, but if you allocated a small percentage of that money to grow local fruits and vegetables and paid growers equally for their produce, that would help.”

    Toncia and Estevan Chavez sell locally grown produce via home delivery and at their ETC Findlay Market stand.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    That sort of policy shift could also help Americans eat healthier. We live in a nation with both an obesity crisis and a lack of access to healthy food (14.1 percent of Hamilton County residents were rated as “food insecure” in 2018, including more than 35,000 children). Many problems are related to our overconsumption of processed foods. Humans have actually processed food since they first put meat on a fire millions of years ago, because “processed” simply means it was altered—think baked, frozen, dried—meaning that not all processed foods are unhealthy; in fact, processed foods like Greek yogurt are healthy.

    Today, though, “processed” usually refers to a food product made of more than one ingredient with added salt, sugar, or fat—or a mix of the three. Think boxed stuff like breakfast cereals, chips, and crackers; canned goods; frozen, microwavable, and stovetop meals; candy bars; and hot dogs. Convenience foods. And it was convenience that amped up America’s production and desire for processed foods in the early 1900s, because it took less time than cooking everything from scratch. Society shifted based on necessity, too, during the Great Depression and World War II, when fresh food was either scarce or needed to be nonperishable.

    Then came microwaves and TV dinners in the late 1960s, and, well, we know how the fast-food movement took off. Between 2013 and 2016, nearly 37 percent of adult Americans ate fast food on any given day, according to the most recently released report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    One of the greatest healthy steps Americans can take is to eat more fruits and vegetables, according to the CDC. Statistics show we’re eating more than we were in the 1970s, but most of us eat well below the recommended 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

    If you’re hoping to eat more local food, you must consider the seasons, says Abby Lundrigran, crop production manager of Turner Farm in Indian Hill. Like many young farmers, the 2010 Walnut Hills High School graduate was on another course entirely—studying art history in Chicago—when she was inspired by the sustainable agriculture movement. She became interested in urban agriculture while working for a nonprofit that tended a network of beehives around Chicago via bicycle. Then she attended a conference focused on rural agriculture. “I remember turning to my friends on the car ride home and saying, Does anyone else just kind of want to be a farmer now?” Lundrigran says. “It had never occurred to me. I was 21, 22, and I felt so inspired.”

    Abby Lundrigan and her Turner Farm colleagues are helping consumers learn to eat seasonally and locally.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    Nonprofit Turner Farm is one of the more well-established small farms in Greater Cincinnati. Its internship and veteran farming programs have been pumping out organically and sustainability trained farmers for years, including Lundrigran, who started there as an intern.

    Last year, she and her team harvested about 40,000 pounds of crops, which go to Turner’s roughly 60 CSA members, onto Turner’s farm market shelves, and to the weekend farmers’ market at Findlay. It also goes out on Local Food Connection trucks and into Turner’s meal prep kits, prepared foods, and cooking classes held on the farm. “I’ve come to feel really strongly as a consumer myself to try and eat seasonally and locally,” says Lundrigran. “Sometimes it’s really inconvenient. It requires you to put more planning and time into what you eat, but we need a mindset shift.”

    To get there, she experiments with preserving and freezing food, using it however she can. Food from a farmers’ market or farm will often last longer because it’s just been picked, she says, so that’s a plus. “It takes being willing to make mistakes and make some terrible food, but also some really good food.”

    Growing her own food transformed Lundrigran’s relationship with it, she says. “Right now, I’m not buying tomatoes at the grocery store—it’s become second nature—and that’s going to make that first tomato of the season infinitely more enjoyable. It makes you appreciate things, but it also led me to having really special relationships with, say, the person I get my milk from.”

    PHOTOGRAPH BY DEVYN GLISTA

    In the spring and summer of COVID-19, most small farms were thriving. CSAs at Turner, Carriage House, Emmett Ridge, and other local farms had waiting lists longer than they’d ever seen. ETC’s sales tripled within the first few weeks of state stay-at-home orders, and many places, including 80 Acres, started on-farm drive-through pickup services.

    Some farmers struggled, though, says Oldfield. They couldn’t find buyers fast enough when restaurants and institutions stopped ordering, which further exposed cracks in our system that had been forming. The meat-processing pipeline, for instance, had backed up before COVID. By mid-June, Boswell at Emmett Ridge Farm was getting desperate, because it had been several weeks since he’d been able to get his animals butchered. “We have business starting to really fire, and now I could be out of business in three months,” he says. He’s hoping to connect with investors and build his own meat processing plant.

    He admits that he and farming colleagues wonder if consumers will stick with them as the pandemic wanes. “When the real world opens back up and it’s back to soccer practices and this and that, people may decide they don’t have the time,” says Boswell. “Will people forget these foundational things?”

    “Heyyyyy, pig!” Boswell hollers from the four-wheeler. We’re at the pen where the swine stay when they’re not roaming wild. “This, at one point, was a manicured putting green that somebody spent approximately $40,000 to build, and now it just collects pig shit,” he says, grinning wide. “It’s a really great septic system—sand, pea gravel, drain tile, pea gravel, clay. Perfect.”


  • July 30, 2020 11:23 AM | Anonymous

    By: Carrie Blackmore Smith

    Source: Cincinnati Magazine

    There are countless ways to access locally grown food these days and become friends with real, live farmers. They haul their wares to farmers’ markets in city neighborhoods and small towns every summer and fall, or you can swing by their properties and buy directly. In the COVID-19 era, several farms have created or expanded delivery services, bringing orders directly to your home. You can also join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) membership program that entitles you to fresh food throughout the growing season for an upfront fee. Dig in!

    ILLUSTRATION BY EMMA THEIS

    OHIO

    Butler County
    1. Double J Farm CSA
    3070 Wehr Road, Hamilton, doublejfarmohio.com

    2. Fairfield Farmers’ Market
    Wednesdays through October
    411 Wessel Dr., Fairfield, fairfield-city.org/market

    3. Hamilton Historic Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays through October 3
    101 High St., Hamilton, HamiltonsHistoricFarmersMarket.com

    4. Harris-Miller Farm
    6578 Fairfield Road, Oxford, sites.google.com/site/harrismillerorganic

    5. Just Farmin’ CSA
    6887 Devon Dr., Liberty Township, justfarmin.com

    6. Liberty Farm Market
    Thursdays through Saturdays
    Princeton Road, Liberty Township, LibertyFarmMarket.com

    7. Oxford Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays year-round
    E Park Pl, Oxford, OxfordFarmersMarket.com

    8. Schaefer’s Farm Market and CSA
    Jacksonburg Road, Trenton, schaefersfarmmarket.com

    9. 7 Wonders Farm
    Oxford Milford Road, Somerville, 7wondersfarm.com

    10. West Chester Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays through October
    Centre Pointe Dr., West Chester, WestChesterOhioFarmersMarket.org

    Clermont County

    11. B&D Goats
    2644 State Route 132, New Richmond, (513) 553-1422

    12. Emmett Ridge Farm
    1805 Lindale Nicholson Road, Amelia, emmettridgefarm.com

    13. Farm Beach Bethel CSA
    1938 State Route 133, Bethel, farmbeachbethel.com

    14. Grey Fox Farms
    3620 State Route 222, Batavia, grayfoxfarmsohio.com

    15. Milford Farmers’ Market
    Wednesdays and Saturdays through October
    1005 Lila Ave., Milford, MilfordFarmersMarket.com

    16. Mt. Carmel Farmers’ Market
    Tuesdays through October
    453 Old State Route 74, Mt. Carmel, MilfordFarmersMarket.com

    17. Pringles Orchard
    2697 Pringle Road, Goshen, (513) 625-9866

    18. The Organic Farm at Bear Creek
    460 Bear Creek Road, Felicity, organicfarmatbearcreek.com

    Hamilton County

    19. Anderson Township Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays through October
    8101 Beechmont Ave., Anderson Township, AndersonFarmersMarket.org

    20. Blue Ash Farmers’ Market
    Wednesdays through September
    4335 Glendale Milford Road, Blue Ash, SummitParkBlueAsh.com

    21. Carriage House Farm CSA
    2872 Lawrenceburg Road, North Bend, carriagehousefarmllc.com

    22. Delhi Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays through August
    5125 Foley Road, Delhi, delhi.oh.us/delhi-farmers-market

    23. Fibonacci’s Mt. Healthy Farmers’ Market
    First Sunday of the month
    1451 Compton Road, Mt. Healthy, Fibbrew.com

    24. Fab Ferments Kombucha Taproom + Store
    611 Shepherd Dr., Lockland, fabferments.com

    25. Findlay Market
    1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, findlaymarket.org

    26. Gorman Heritage Farm CSA
    10052 Reading Road, Evendale, gormanfarm.org

    27. Greenacres Farm CSA
    8255 Spooky Hollow Road, Montgomery, greenacres.org

    28. Hyde Park Farmers’ Market
    Sundays through October
    2700 Erie Avenue, Hyde Park, HydeParkFarmersMarket.com

    29. Hollmeyer’s Orchards
    3241 Fiddlers Green Road, Mack, (513) 574-0663

    30. Lettuce Eat Well Farmers’ Market
    Fridays through October
    4040 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, Lewfm.org

    31. Loveland Farmers’ Market
    Tuesdays through October
    205 Broadway St., Loveland, LovelandFM.com

    32. Madeira Farmers’ Market
    Thursdays through October
    8000 Miami Avenue, Madeira, MadeiraFarmersMarket.com

    33. Montgomery Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays through October
    9606 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, MontgomeryFarmersMarket.org

    34. Northside Farmers’ Market
    Wednesdays year-round
    4222 Hamilton Ave., Northside, NorthsideFM.org

    35. Our Harvest Cooperative CSA
    969 North Bend Road, Finneytown, ourharvest.coop

    36. Sayler Park Farmers’ Market
    Tuesdays through August
    6600 Gracely Dr., Sayler Park, Facebook.com/SaylerParkFarmersMarket

    37. Turner Farm CSA
    7400 Given Road, Indian Hill, turnerfarm.org

    38. WestSide Market
    First Saturday of the month
    3719 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, WestSideMarketCincy.com

    Warren County

    39. Deerfield Township Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays through October
    4188 Irwin Simpson Road, Deerfield Township, DeerfieldFarmersMarket.com

    40. Irons Fruit Farm
    1640 Stubbs Mill Road, Lebanon, ironsfruitfarm.com

    41. Lebanon Ohio Farmers’ Market
    Thursdays through October
    121 W. Main Street, Lebanon, LebanonOhioFarmersMarket.com

    42. Peace Angel Farm
    416 W. Pike St., Morrow, peaceangelfarm.com

    43. The Goodlife Farm CSA
    2290 E. Lower Springboro Road, Waynesville, goodlifefamilyfarm.com

    KENTUCKY

    Boone County

    44. Boone County Farmers’ Market
    Almost daily year-round
    6028 Camp Ernst Road, Burlington, BooneCountyFarmersMarket.org

    45. Dark Wood Farm CSA
    2590 Lawrenceburg Ferry Road, Petersburg, darkwoodfarmstead.com

    Campbell County

    46. Alexandria Farmers’ Market
    Fridays through October
    7634 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria, Facebook.com/CampbellCountyFarmMarket

    47. Highland Heights Farmers’ Market
    Tuesdays through October
    3504 Alexandria Pike, Highland Heights, Facebook.com/CampbellCountyFarmMarket

    48. Idyllwild Farm
    2802 Ten Mile Road, Melbourne, idyllwildfarm.com

    49. Ft. Thomas Farmers’ Market
    Wednesdays through September
    950 Cochran Avenue, Ft. Thomas, FortThomasFarmersMarket.com

    50. Newport Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays through October
    709 Monmouth St., Newport, Facebook.com/CampbellCountyFarmMarket

    Kenton County

    51. Covington Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays through October
    300 Greenup Street, Covington, RCov.org/CovFarmersMarket

    52. Crestview Hills Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays through October 17
    2833 Dixie Hwy, Crestview Hills, Facebook.com/CrestviewHillsFarmersMarket

    53. DCCH Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays through October
    75 Orphanage Road, Ft. Mitchell, DcchFarmersMarket.com

    54. Dixie Farmers’ Market
    Thursdays through October
    116 Commonwealth Ave., Erlanger, (859) 727-2525

    55. Independence Farmers’ Market
    Saturdays through October
    5272 Madison Pike, Independence, Facebook.com/SKFarmersMarket

    56. Rains & Sun Hilltop Farm CSA
    10050 Marshall Road, Independence, rainsandsun.com

    57. Rising Phoenix Farm
    14093 Madison Pike, Morning View, risingphoenixheritagefarm.com

    58. Tewes Farm
    2801 Crescent Springs Pike, Erlanger, tewesfarm.com


  • July 30, 2020 11:12 AM | Anonymous

    By: Carrie Blackmore Smith

    Source: Cincinnati Magazine

    Green Umbrella hosts a detailed local timeline on its website, A Cincinnati Farming and Food History, that’s highlighted below. Authors Alan Wight and John Metz call it a “living project,” and readers are invited to send their edits, corrections, and additions to be incorporated into the timeline.

    Settlement and Growth: Water Transportation

    From 1788 to 1869, this region undergoes major settlement and colonization by European Americans. Water transportation dominates with the completion of the Ohio-Erie Canal in 1833. Important developments include an explosion of public market houses and the establishment and proliferation of a national pork industry based on the disassembly line. The urban population grows, and artisanal and cottage industries transition into larger capitalist and organizational units of production.

    Railroads and Refrigeration

    From 1870 to 1915, railroads take over as the primary method for transporting goods and Chicago becomes the Midwest’s agricultural and resource hub. The development of railcar refrigeration transforms how far agricultural products such as beef and peaches can be shipped. In Cincinnati, incline rail and streetcar transportation allow people and industry to break out of the Mill Creek and Ohio River basins. Food industry developments include the creation of the Kroger (1883) and Castellini (1896) companies.

    The Automobile, Home Refrigeration, and World War II

    From 1915 to 1950, automobile development revolutionizes transportation and greatly impacts city and regional planning. As the city of Cincinnati grows and early suburbs expand, home refrigeration units begin to change Americans’ relationship to food and farms. Households keep perishable items longer and are able to consume more fruits and vegetables, often at lower prices.

    Post WWII, Suburbanization, and Fast Food

    From 1950 to 1969, the U.S. experiences tremendous population growth and change as the interstate highway system supports suburban sprawl. Grocery store chains grow and consolidate, and the modern fast food system emerges alongside the mass production and slaughter of livestock. The 1960s see the counterculture and environmental movements that will challenge societal norms and rebel against mass standardization and socialization. The Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) is formed.

    The Reemergence of Local Food

    Starting in 1970, when the first Earth Day is celebrated, healthy and local food movements take shape across the U.S. Seed, pesticide, and biotech companies introduce Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Farm consolidation accelerates, while there’s a continued growth of new farmers’ markets and CSAs (introduced to the U.S. in 1984). Findlay Market is preserved as catalyst for new development in Over-the-Rhine, and food-based cooperatives and environmental and agricultural nonprofits are established, such as the Imago Earth Center, the Greater Cincinnati Nutrition Council, Sunrock Farm, Homemeadow Song Farm, Greenacres, Turner Farm, and Gorman Heritage Farm. Green Umbrella is founded in 1998, followed by the Enright Ecovillage in 2004 and the Central Ohio River Valley (CORV) Food Guide in 2007.


  • July 29, 2020 11:25 AM | Anonymous

    By: Carrie Blackmore Smith

    Source: Cincinnati Magazine

    One in six American children is “food insecure,” with no consistent access to healthy, affordable food. These local efforts are trying to change the narrative.

    Local food is clearly more accessible today than, say, five years ago, for residents with extra time and buying power. But what about everyone else? What about the 18.7 percent of children in Hamilton County, 14.2 percent of children in Campbell County, and 27.3 percent of children in Adams County—along with other children and adults throughout our region—with food insecurity?

    PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDRII ZASTROZHNOV/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

    Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle.” One in nine Americans is in that category, according to Feeding America, a hunger-relief organization that’s tracked American food consumption since 2011. If you’re a child in America, your chances are one in six. There are local efforts underway to improve accessibility to good, affordable food for all. Here’s how:

    We now have a voice devoted to improving our food system.

    The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council was created in 2015 to advance a healthy, equitable, and sustainable food system for all within Greater Cincinnati’s 10-county region through policy, systems, and environment change. Its vision is to get good food to all people—by their definition, food that’s healthy (nutritional), green (produced in a sustainable manner), and fair (meaning no one was exploited in its creation).

    The council works with governments, schools, businesses, and other organizations on food access, but also on food waste, soil health, and other topics related to a healthy food system.

    Those among us on government food aid can buy local in more places.

    What started at a few markets in Cincinnati in 2014 is now a statewide nutrition incentive program for all of Ohio called Produce Perks Midwest. The nonprofit serves any Ohioan who qualifies for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps, and allows recipients to use their dollars on food from Ohio farms, farmers’ markets, and other places where healthy local food is sold. From 2011 to 2018, Produce Perks Midwest grew the amount of SNAP dollars used in its program by nearly 1,500 percent, from $16,574 in sales to $264,268.

    In addition, the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program now has an initiative that provides $5 coupons to WIC recipients for use at farmers’ markets and farm stands, such as Findlay Market. For more information, contact your county WIC office.

    Community gardens and edible forests are growing.

    Community gardens are plentiful around the region and have a low bar for entry. A plot at Westwood Community Gardens costs $25, for example. The Civic Garden Center maintains a list of community gardens.

    Then there are the efforts to create public edible forests, like one along the Mill Creek Greenway on the western portions of the Cincinnati neighborhoods of Northside and Spring Grove Village. Giving Trees is an organization that installs edible fruit and nuts plants to create food forests; in 2017 and 2018 they planted 466 trees and bushes that produce food at area churches, schools, community centers, and elsewhere.

    Freestore Foodbank produce pop-up markets.

    The Freestore Foodbank has made it a goal to get more fresh produce to the people it serves in Greater Cincinnati by launching Produce Pop Ups in 2017. Over the next year, Freestore held 464 Produce Pop Ups across a 20-county region, distributing more than 1 million pounds of produce.


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