Green Umbrella in the News

  • June 30, 2017 1:50 PM | Deleted user

    Source: PLAN4Health

    Last year, the Kenton County Plan4Health Coalition (KCP4H) held a food policy summit to kick off the start of the local food policy council. The Summit brought together over 20 exhibitors, with each exhibitor showcasing healthy and nutritious eating habits as well as local food production and consumption. There were several featured panel discussions about regional food system issues and the local food resources that were available.

    The Summit also featured the local chefs collaborative preparing meals with a twist using local sourced foods and environmentally sustainable dinnerware. The event began a dialogue around food system gaps and how to take action to create healthier communities.

    This year, in celebration of the work of the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, the Council scheduled two food system tours to educate policymakers, the media and planners on the positive impacts that a food system had on their community. The goal was to provide key partners with a perspective of food system policy being important and a part of the policy portfolio that needed to be addressed.

    The tours focused on two geographic areas: sites within Cincinnati and sites throughout Northern Kentucky. Tours included short stories from site managers about their successes, challenges, and the programming offered. The tour participants met and visited many stakeholders, including farmers, gardeners, distributors, processors and emergency food providers to better understand the rich array of programs and activities that support economic development and food security in communities.

    The tours took attendees to these stops:

    1. Gabriel’s Place: Attendees learned how to operate a community garden, participated in cooking classes and experienced a farmer’s market. Gabriel’s Place provides seed to table food education in Avondale.

    2. Freestore Foodbank: Freestore Foodbank is one of Ohio’s largest food banks, distributing 23 million meals annually through a network of 350 community partner agencies that serve 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. These community partner agencies include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, community centers, program sites, senior centers and daycare facilities. Freestore also operates a culinary job training program, a community farm, the weekend Power Pack program and after school meals programs.

    3. Our Harvest: Our Harvest is a farmer-owned cooperative that distributes local produce year-round throughout Cincinnati. Through the creation of farm jobs that pay sustainable wages and utilizing responsible growing practices, Our Harvest is strengthening the local food system in Cincinnati. Through strategic partnerships and advocacy they make access to fresh, local food possible in all of Greater Cincinnati.

    4. CincySprouts: CincySprouts is an entrepreneurial-based learning project that began in order to provide farmers and gardeners in the Cincinnati area with plants and seedlings that had been grown locally without the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers. The seedlings are germinated in a nursery or on one of the farms that remains within the city of Cincinnati, Ohio. CincySprouts offers several wholesale options for local growers and customizable retail purchase options for gardeners.

    5. Jubilee Farm: Working to eliminate food scarcity in Cincinnati with fresh, locally grown produce, Jubilee uses outdoor gardens, indoor herbs and hydroponics. They also provide job training and community building.

    The 2017-2019 policy agenda of the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council is divided into four buckets:

    • healthy food access and consumption
    • distribution and procurement
    • production and land use
    • assessment, planning, zoning, and food waste

    If you’d like more information about the work of the food policy council, check out the Green Umbrella Regional Sustainability Alliance.

    Learn more about the work of the Kenton County Plan4Health Coalition.

  • June 28, 2017 1:46 PM | Deleted user

    Source: CityBeat

    A plan to link Cincinnati’s scattered cycling infrastructure could empower low-income riders

    The proposed network of trails could one day connect nearly every Cincinnati neighborhood.

    Rick Perryman is a bike mechanic, bike infrastructure advocate and hardcore cyclist.

    That description might make you picture a guy of a certain income, maybe even of a certain race, in spandex, advocating for a trail in Hyde Park, or a fixie-riding Millennial pushing bike lanes in Over-the-Rhine. 

    That’s not Perryman. But he is definitely a cyclist. 

    “It’s the best way to get around,” says Perryman, who lives in Winton Hills and goes by the nickname Yo. “I didn’t start driving until I was 29, but I’ve always had a bike.”

    For years, he rode back and forth 10 miles between Winton Hills and his job at Bakery Craft, a cake decoration factory in Glendale. Bakery Craft shut down last year, and Perryman, in his late 50s, doesn’t ride as much these days because of asthma and other breathing issues. But he has found other ways to stay involved in cycling. 

    Perryman and others — like Winton Hills Community Council President Nikki Steele and community engagement coordinator Dazree Boyd — are working to get a bike and walking trail built in their neighborhood. They’ve gotten help from the Cincinnati Health Department and nonprofits Interact for Health and Groundwork Cincinnati, which has done extensive work to bring trails to the Mill Creek Valley.

    The segment of trail would fill a 1.3-mile gap between bike lanes on busy Este Avenue and the Mill Creek Greenway Trail near Spring Grove Cemetery, giving Winton Hills residents better connection to groceries, jobs and recreation.

    “I see a group of riders riding down Este all the time,” Perryman says. “The bike lane just kind of ends. Where could we go from there?”

    For groups like Groundwork advocating for the trail, that question is part of a larger, more ambitious plan called Cincinnati Connects that could give residents in low-income neighborhoods better access to the city as a whole.

    Discussion around bike paths and lanes usually centers around the idea they’re amenities for recreational cyclists or drivers of urban revitalization designed to lure young professionals who want to commute to their downtown jobs. But those aren’t the only people using bicycles in Cincinnati and other cities across the country.

    According to 2015 Census data, about half of the people who commute to work by bike make below $25,000 a year. Granular data for Cincinnati isn’t readily available, but cyclists like Perryman will tell you low-income riders are more common than most people realize, especially in places like Winton Hills where levels of car ownership are far lower than average.

    Adding cruel irony to the hurt of economic disadvantage, neighborhoods where people would be most likely to need to rely on bicycles are often the least likely to be served by bike infrastructure. 

    “Walking or biking to work for some people is something extra, but for others, it’s a necessity,” Megan Folkerth of Interact for Health says about her organization’s interest in bike paths in the Mill Creek Valley and Cincinnati Connects generally. “Our focus and real interest is in making sure that, for people for whom that is their main form of transportation, we make it safe and accessible for them.”

    A grant from Interact, the Health Department and Groundwork created Boyd’s position as project manager for the bike path last year. She hit the ground running, organizing planning sessions and trips to scout out possible trail routes last summer. 

    “It almost feels unfair,” Boyd says of the disconnect Winton Hills faces. “People want to get out into other neighborhoods, go to parks and trails, see other parts of the city.”

    Working with Perryman and other Winton Hills residents, including a number of bike-obsessed neighborhood youth, Boyd and her crew plotted an ideal path and worked with experts to design the trail. Now they’re waiting for a final report from Groundwork and funding to fall into place. 

    “Basically, we wanted to see how best to connect our neighborhood with trails to make the grocery store and other places our neighbors need to go more accessible,” Steele says. “We want to connect our neighborhood the way every other neighborhood connects, and we want it to look as nice as any other neighborhood.”

    To fully grasp Winton Hills’ need for a bike path, you have to understand the neighborhood itself. Sitting at the northern crown of Cincinnati between Carthage and College Hill, the neighborhood is mostly made up of Winton Terrace and Findlater Gardens, both Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority developments. Those developments were first built in 1940s as white-only subsidized housing. By the 1960s, however, those racial separations were lifted and Winton Terrace quickly became majority black. 

    Today, the neighborhood is a prime example of Cincinnati’s pervasive racial and economic segregation. It is 90 percent black with a median household income of less than $11,000, Census data shows. It’s also an illustration of the environmental and transportation barriers low-income people often face. 

    Just 15 percent of Winton Hills’ 4,787 residents own their own cars, according to a report by the Cincinnati Health Department. On an average weekday, residents must make a 45 minute to one-hour bus ride to get to downtown, just six-and-a-half miles away. 

    The feeling of isolation residents can face is compounded by the neighborhood’s surroundings. A heavy fence of smoke stacks and industry, including chemical plants, auto salvage yards and fuel refineries, line the southern border of the neighborhood along with the clipped, unnatural hills of a shuttered landfill. 

    The Mill Creek itself has been something of an environmental hazard due to the industry around it. In 1997, the waterway was named the most endangered urban river in America by national conservation organization American Rivers.

    “Winton Hills is high-density public housing,” Groundwork Cincinnati’s Tanner Yess says. “It’s isolated geographically, it’s isolated by its physical environment. It’s right across the street from a landfill, right across the street from two or three chemical companies that are spewing whatever odorous gasses into the community.”

    But it’s not all gloom in Winton Hills. The neighborhood’s community center buzzed on a recent weekday as Perryman sat out in the sun talking about bicycles. He has become something of a community hub for all things two wheels. Steele, the community council president, would like to start a bicycle club with Perryman at the helm — but in many ways, he’s already there.

    Perryman is Winton Hills’ resident bike mechanic, working from his apartment to fix flat tires, change out seats and work free of charge on anyone’s bike who might happen to come by. He has a big bin of extra parts and a couple bikes of his own he tinkers with.

    He’s “old school,” he says, and brags that he can fix three or four flats with a single inner tube patch.

    His role as community bike doctor started seven years ago, he says. At the time, he was between homes, riding everywhere and carrying everything he needed, including bike tools, in his backpack. 

    “One day I caught a flat down the street at a friend’s house, and next thing I knew, here come five kids with their bikes. So I had five bikes plus mine sitting upside down waiting to be fixed,” he says, laughing. “Then I ended up getting a place here, and they come through to my house to get their bikes fixed now. It makes me feel good to see them riding. As long as they’re riding, I feel good.” 

    Perryman says he likes to pass along his excitement for biking to younger generations. He leads youth rides at nearby Spring Grove Cemetery and sees the potential trail as a way to extend healthy, safe recreation options for kids in a neighborhood without very many.

    He found his passion for bike trails a few years ago when he rode from Warren County to Yellow Springs with a friend. He says the trip opened his eyes to the possibilities of bike trails.

    “I really enjoyed that ride,” Perryman says. “It feels disconnected here because of how far we have to go to connect to other trails, like the Lunken Trail. Every community needs a trail, I think. I see a lot of older people riding their bikes, and we need to be connected.” ”

    Winton Hills’ disconnected, often-industrial landscape typifies Cincinnati’s Mill Creek Valley from north of the neighborhood south through Millvale, North and South Fairmount to Lower Price Hill near the Ohio River. The area’s health, economic and connection challenges are something Groundwork has been working to address.

    The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service founded the organization as an urban-centered community engagement effort. Cincinnati’s Groundwork branch started in 1994, and the program is now in 23 mostly post-industrial cities. 

    Groundwork Cincinnati started focusing on bike trails in 2004, Yess says, building a small section of trail northeast of Winton Hills at Caldwell Park in Carthage. 

    Another portion, the Mill Creek Greenway Trail, was created in 2008 and 2009. That trail now runs in segments — including a portion north of Winton Hills and a southern portion near Spring Grove Cemetery. The latter segment of trail runs all the way down to Ethel Taylor Middle School in Millvale. Much of the funding for those portions was provided by state grants associated with the Ohio Clean Trail fund, with Interact for Health or the city providing local matches. 

    Now, Groundwork, Interact, the Cincinnati Health Department and other groups are working on filling in the gaps in the trail, including the one going through Winton Hills. Eventually, they envision a 14-mile continuous path along the Mill Creek. 

    Neighborhood activists in Northside are working to fill another gap in bike lanes between that neighborhood and the southern part of the trail along Spring Grove Ave., an effort that has picked up momentum in recent months as the city works on redesigning the segements of the road near the I-74 overpass.

    But beyond filling the gaps in the Mill Creek Trail is an even bigger vision that will take years to attain. 

    In 2015, the organizations involved in the Mill Creek Trail, plus other local trail initiatives, Queen City Bike, the city and county parks departments and other groups released a blueprint for a comprehensive bike trail system called Cincinnati Connects. The plan would eventually create a 42-mile loop around Cincinnati, passing through 33 of the city’s neighborhoods and putting 81 percent of the city’s population within a mile of a bike path. 

    The plan looks to link together major bike trails underway or in the planning stages across the city. Those include the Mill Creek Trail, the Ohio River Trail and Wasson Way, an effort to eventually build a 7.6-mile trail from Avondale to Newtown. 

    That proposal is a good example of what can happen when cyclists advocate for bike paths— and also the need to link that infrastructure.

    The city of Cincinnati recently paid $12 million for a 4.1-mile stretch of railroad right of way between Montgomery Road and Wooster Pike and plans to start construction on that portion of the trail this fall. As much as another $11 million in construction costs are expected for that project. 

    Wasson Way, which will run through several affluent suburbs and Cincinnati neighborhoods like Hyde Park, has momentum behind it, a fact that illustrates both the potential for trails and the challenges they present. 

    “We notice the difference between amenities in neighborhoods where people are living until 80 versus neighborhoods where people are living to 66,” Folkerth, from Interact for Health, says. “It’s our responsibility as a community to do something about that. Wasson Way’s a great project. I think it’s fantastic. But what we as a community have spent on the Wasson Way, versus what we’ve spent on the Mill Creek — it’s been a struggle. Those communities that have higher incomes have money to advocate.”

    Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails, an advocacy organization run by nonprofit Green Umbrella, agrees. Johnston hosted a session on equity and bicycle infrastructure June 9 during Green Umbrella’s Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit at Xavier University. He says lower-income communities often don’t get as much of a say in decisions around cycling infrastructure because their opinions aren’t sought out enough — even though that infrastructure could help those communities the most.

    “A safe, strong biking and walking community produces significant social gains, reducing health disparities, lowering household transportation expenses, creating jobs, lowering air pollution, reducing mental health problems and reducing violence by increasing community cohesion,” he says. “But often, communities that could most benefit from those kinds of projects and infrastructure are the communities being neglected in the planning process.”

    Beyond the equity questions, Wasson Way illustrates the difficulties facing bike paths. Securing land rights from the myriad property owners along a trail’s path can be challenging, and trails are much more expensive to build than on-street bike lanes — between $500,000 and $1 million per mile, as opposed to just a few thousand dollars a mile for on-street bike lanes. Johnston says both are necessary to really create an efficient, sustainable cycling system that can allow riders access to the whole city.

    Advocates admit that linking up four major city trails — which themselves need more work — with six smaller connectors to create their 42-mile loop is a major lift. They’re looking toward federal grants, perhaps Transit Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, funds administered by the Federal Department of Transportation, as a possible way to provide much of the more than $21 million needed to complete the connector trails alone.

    The federal government has turned down applications by the city for TIGER funds for Wasson Way twice — but, advocates point out, it isn’t a city-spanning, comprehensive project, which the feds usually prioritize. 

    Linking the paths will allow the trails to go from recreational amenities to truly transformational opportunities for city residents, Folkerth says.

    “It’s great that we have these amenities, but if the Wasson Way has four miles that doesn’t connect to anything, and the Ohio River Trail doesn’t connect to anything and the Mill Creek Trail doesn’t connect to anything, how are people going to get around our city?”

    Other cities have completed similar comprehensive loops. One of the most notable is Portland, Ore. That city’s greater metropolitan area has more than 550 miles of off-street bike trails, and the city itself has more than 90 miles of on-street bike lanes and bike-friendly streets, according to Oregon Metro, the area’s regional government.

    But cities closer to home might be better comparisons, Groundwork’s Yess says. 

    “I think it’s more effective to look at places more like us that do this well. We can all look at Portland, but that’s not really realistic for Cincinnati.” 

    Yess cites Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Minneapolis as cities that have taken big strides in their bicycle infrastructure. 

    Indianapolis is a good example of the kind of connectivity Cincinnati Connects advocates are striving for. Its widely acclaimed Cultural Trail isn’t huge — just an eight-mile loop through the city’s downtown — but it connects to other trails that run farther out as well as the city’s 75 miles of bike lanes. The trail took six years and a $20.5 million TIGER grant secured in 2008 to complete.

    Minneapolis, Bicycling Magazine’s sixth-best city for bicycling last year, is on track to complete a 30-mile network of protected bike lanes throughout the city by 2020 and already has 40 miles of bike trails it began constructing in the 1990s. Despite harsh winters, the city has among the highest percentage of cyclists commuting to work in the country. 

    Even if Cincinnati were to get to the level of Minneapolis or Indianapolis in the near future, it wouldn’t solve all of the problems in neighborhoods along the Mill Creek, Yess says. But it would help empower residents there.

    “I think it’s useful to say that trails aren’t the answer, necessarily,” Yess says of inequities facing places like Winton Hills and Millvale. “Trails aren’t going to put food on your table. But they’re part of a system that can improve your quality of life. When you’re able to let people take the lead in these communities, then they can see the value in that and decide if it’s something they want to support. It’s always helpful to say, ‘Don’t you deserve that?’”

    For cyclists like Perryman, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

    “If we could have our own trails, quick access to where we need to go, we wouldn’t even need to be on the main roads,” he says. “I think we need it. I don’t know how long it will take, but I think it’s really worth it.” ©

  • June 21, 2017 1:43 PM | Deleted user

    Source: BusinessWire

    CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fifth Third Bancorp today announced its first operational sustainability goals that will promote a healthy and sustainable environment and help protect the planet for future generations. Fifth Third is formalizing and accelerating its environmental sustainability efforts by committing to the following operational sustainability goals by 2022:

    @fifththird commits to being environmental leader; sets bold sustainability goals.

    Tweet this
    • Reduce energy use by 25 percent.
    • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.
    • Reduce landfill waste by 20 percent.
    • Reduce water usage by 20 percent.
    • Purchase 100 percent renewable power.

    “Formalizing our operational sustainability goals is part of our broader commitment to make Fifth Third an environmental sustainability leader,” said Brian Lamb, executive vice president and chief corporate social responsibility and reputation officer, Fifth Third Bancorp. “By announcing these goals, we seek to raise awareness that considering sustainability issues can lead to better outcomes for our customers, our employees, and our communities.”

    “I applaud Fifth Third Bancorp for establishing environmental sustainability goals that will help strengthen our communities,” said Kristin Weiss, executive director of Green Umbrella, the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati. “Public commitments are important and demonstrate Fifth Third’s willingness to be transparent, report its progress and be held accountable. This is the kind of leadership that will bring sustainable, positive change.”

    Fifth Third recently completed a $4 million energy-efficient LED lighting installation project at facilities in four states. Ranking among the most substantial LED lighting projects in the financial industry, the project will reduce the Bank’s lighting-related energy consumption by 50 percent. This corresponds to an energy savings of 6.3 million kilowatt-hours per year, enough to provide 578 homes with electricity for one year.

    A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Partner, Fifth Third purchased 30 percent green power in 2016 and operates 28 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified locations. Last year, Fifth Third began introducing a “Recycling 2.0” strategy that will help increase recycling rates.

    More information about Fifth Third’s environmental sustainability efforts is available in Fifth Third’s 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

    Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. As of March 31, 2017, the Company had $140 billion in assets and operated 1,155 full-service Banking Centers and 2,471 ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending, and Wealth & Asset Management. As of March 31, 2017, Fifth Third also had a 17.8 percent interest in Vantiv Holding, LLC. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of March 31, 2017, had $323 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $33 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations through its Trust, Brokerage and Insurance businesses. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at Fifth Third’s common stock is traded on the Nasdaq® Global Select Market under the symbol “FITB.” Fifth Third Bank was established in 1858. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.


    Fifth Third Bancorp
    Stacie Haas, 513-534-5113

  • May 23, 2017 1:41 PM | Deleted user

    Source: Movers & Makers Cincinnati 

    Members of Green Umbrella, the regional sustainability alliance, are working to reduce food waste and improve fresh food access and energy efficiency through grant funding totaling $75,000, provided by the Duke Class Benefit Fund.

    Projects include:

    Our Harvest Cooperative and Ohio Valley Food Connection – Together, these two food hubs had $500,000 in local food sales in 2016, worked with 80 food producers and represented the majority of food aggregation and distribution in the region. With this grant, they’re increasing energy-efficient refrigerated storage capacity where they base their operations – Freestore Foodbank and Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen.

    La Soupe – In 2016, La Soupe rescued 125,000 pounds of food from going to the landfill and donated 95,000 servings to people living in food insecurity. With this grant, LaSoupe will add an onsite energy-efficient walk-in freezer to double the number of people it serves each week (currently 1,750). The goal is to rescue 300,000 pounds of food and transform it into 200,000 servings to donate by 2018.

    Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati – Located in Cincinnati’s urban core, Civic Garden Center aims to teach people to “garden anywhere and everywhere.” This grant will help the center get locally sourced food into the hands of residents by providing energy-efficient refrigeration and aggregation for Community Supported Agriculture subscribers who pick up their shares at the site. The center also will be able to refrigerate 1,000-plus pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables for community gardens seeking to donate to nearby food pantries.

    Gabriel’s Place – Gabriel’s Place will be able to expand its local food marketplace in Cincinnati’s Avondale neighborhood and provide access to the local food system, at prices that are affordable. The grant will especially help serve senior citizens and residents living below the poverty line.

    Dirt: a modern market – Dirt is Findlay Market’s local-only business that promotes local growers and producers within a 150-mile radius of Cincinnati. The grant will help distribute local food through the store and serve as a hub for Findlay Kitchen (a shared-use incubator kitchen), the Findlay Farmstand Program (which brings fresh, local produce to three food-desert communities with a population of 35,500) and Pop Up Markets (which take Findlay Market to local businesses).

    “Green Umbrella’s theme for Earth Month this year is Innovate: Activate: Celebrate. We’re thrilled to be giving out $75,000 to activate these member projects that benefit the health of our community and environment,” said executive director Kristin Weiss.

  • May 03, 2017 1:38 PM | Deleted user

    Source: CityBeat

    Green Umbrella’s Tri-State Trails initiative champions the region’s vast cycling options

    Danny Korman has long been one of the most recognizable faces of Cincinnati’s green movement. In 2007, he founded the inimitable Park + Vine green general store in Over-the-Rhine, which became a haven for environmentalists, vegetarians and cyclists alike. He’s been known to zoom his bicycle all over town in all sorts of weather — he’s Cincinnati’s quintessential conscientious urban nice guy.

    Korman closed Park + Vine early this year after nearly a decade in business, but his new venture looks right at home on his résumé: Tri-State Trails Ambassador for Green Umbrella, the main nonprofit advocating for a more sustainable future for the region. The Tri-State Trails initiative works to promote the region’s various trail networks to encourage “active transportation” and outdoor recreation. 

    CityBeat checked in with Korman to see how the new gig is going and to ask how we might better utilize these underappreciated resources. 

    CityBeatWhat is remarkable about the Tristate’s system of trails? Are our trails awesome or what?

    Danny Korman: Yes, our trails are awesome. Green Umbrella is collecting data that shows Greater Cincinnati as a mecca for outdoor recreation, which includes trails. We have more than 400 miles of trails. Everyone’s favorite — Little Miami Scenic Trail — is the third-longest paved trail in the country. A network of six cities in Northern Kentucky along the Ohio River is seeking Kentucky Trail Town designation.

    CBWhat type of variety are we talking about? Urban trails? Recreational? Commuter?

    DK: The ideal is to have a network that is welcome to all types of folks. Generally, the initial perception is that trails are for recreation. The changing perception is that trails are for transportation, too. It’s taking time to build a comprehensive network here that includes roads and reaches more places, including parks, business districts, employment centers and neighborhoods. The biggest advancement in local trail development is Wasson Way, the 7.6-mile mixed-use trail that will ultimately extend from Victory Parkway near Xavier University through 12 neighborhoods and connect to the Little Miami Scenic Trail. Land acquisition is usually the biggest hurdle when it comes to trail development. Roads already exist and make sense because they’re less expensive than new trails. The goal is to build it for everyone and to make Cincinnati healthier. We need the infrastructure to do this.

    CBWhat do people need to know before hopping on an urban or off-road trail?

    DK: I get a sense of the day’s weather forecast and plan accordingly for my rides to and on trails. There’s very little that stops me from riding, however, including rain and the cold. I make sure that I have some cash, a reflective garment, lights, a bike lock, my phone and all my keys. 

    CB: You’re a longtime urban bike commuter. What’s nice about hopping on a trail either as part of your commute or for a long ride through the wilderness?

    DK: I am primarily a road cyclist, because of where I live and what I’m used to. I’ll jump on a trail when I get the chance and to mix up a ride. It’s easy to get immersed on a long bike ride, and I build in those sort of adventures whenever I get the chance. It’s part of the human condition to ruminate. It’s important to actively do things that offset our tendency to over-think. Being in nature is the offset.

    CB: Last summer, your organization hosted a regional trails summit and the theme was “Making the Economic Case for Trails.” Share some of this case.

    DK: This panel included developers and representatives from Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and the University of Cincinnati. The purpose was to impress that trails have economic value. Trails positively impact communities because they add transportation alternatives and improve property values, which means more tax revenue. In 2011, a study showed that property owners within 1,000 feet of the Little Miami Scenic Trail around Loveland were willing to pay a $9,000 premium.

    CB: The Cincinnati Connects Urban Loop Trail is an ambitious plan that would connect several existing and planned trails from every side of town. How could this help with mobility and connectivity in the region?

    DK: Cincinnati Connects is gaining momentum. (Tri-State Trails Director Wade Johnston) and the committee are working with BLDG on developing a brand for the 42-mile urban loop trail that emphasizes both biking and walking. The exciting part of Cincinnati Connects is that it would make bicycling safe and comfortable for people of all ages and to people of color, who are underrepresented in many local transportation decisions. 

    CB: What should the average person know about cycling in general and the opportunities to get out on two wheels in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky?

    DK: There are a bunch of ways to get information and get riding. The best thing to do is find a friend who’s into bicycling and ride with them. It could be a simple ride around Spring Grove Cemetery or Lunken Airport, along Cincinnati’s riverfront parks or on neighborhood streets. May is National Bike Month and Cincinnati is loaded with supportive rides and events.

    CB: What is your No. 1 goal as you get up to speed in your new role?

    DK: I’m excited about returning to my roots of bicycling advocacy and working alongside Cincinnati’s diverse bicycle culture, which includes Tri-State Trails, Queen City Bike under the leadership of Frank Henson, Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance, Cincy Red Bike, multiple trail groups and 38 bicycle shops.

    CityBeat: Are there any other Tri-State Trails initiatives you’d like to mention?

    DK: As part of Bike Month, we’re hosting the Canal Bikeway Ride May 21 to highlight the full spectrum of bike infrastructure Cincinnati has to offer. This part of the city includes multi-use trails, protected and standard bike lanes and shared paths that provide safe connections with Metro bus lines and the Cincinnati Bell Connector between six neighborhoods.

    For more info about TRI-STATE TRAILS, visit

  • April 19, 2017 3:33 PM | Anonymous


    The year 2020 is quickly approaching and with it, the 50 anniversary of Earth Day.

    At Green Umbrella, we’re working hard to make Greater Cincinnati a top 10 metro area for sustainability before then. We’re already making progress. Our region has more than 101,000 acres of protected greenspace to date; we’ve seen a 55 percent increase in farmers markets in just the last three years; and there is now $191 million in slated funding for walkable and bike-friendly communities.

    The national recognition has also begun. Greater Cincinnati has ranked in the top 10 for our parks, trees, bike commuting, local food, and for our commitment to sustainability. This makes our region a great place for businesses to locate, and for people seeking an active outdoor lifestyle and a vibrant metro area.

    Green Umbrella’s Action Teams have 2020 goals for key areas of impact including: greenspace, outdoor recreation, local food, energy, waste reduction, transportation and water. Instead of resting when we exceeded two of our goals early, we set new ones.

    With Earth Day drawing near, it’s a great time to be part of our region’s sustainability goals by doing one or more of these things:

    1. Eat local: Support farmers, improve your health and our local economy by shifting 10 percent of your food budget to locally grown food. Find your local farmers market or sign up for a CSA.

    2. Save the food: 40 percent of food (about $1,500 per household) is wasted each year. Shop with a plan, and store to save food so it doesn’t go to the landfill.

    3. Drive less, live more: Download a free transit app to buy fares and plan your route. Bike or walk, especially for destinations within two miles.

    4. End littering: 18 percent of litter ends up in streams and waterways as pollution. Put trash in its place, and help pick up litter.

    5. Recycle: Paper and cardboard are still the largest part of our waste stream but yet are easily recycled. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

    6. Re-think energy: Switch up traditional light bulbs for LED – they use 90 percent less energy and last 15 years longer. Or Solarize - the cost of solar installation has gone down dramatically, and there are rebates and tax credits to help you go solar.

    7. #OptOutside: Get outdoors and submit your favorite green place to help us promote the value of greenspace and connecting with the wonders of nature.

    8. Plant natives: Native plants require less water and maintenance to grow. Plant a native tree and join our region’s effort to plant 2 million trees by 2020.

    9. Plan to attend: Learn how we can build a more sustainable and equitable region at the June 9 Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit.

    10. Join us: We’re working to unite businesses, nonprofits, local governments, universities and individuals in a collective effort to make Greater Cincinnati as environmentally sustainable as possible.

    To learn more, visit

    Act locally. You will make a difference.

    Kristin Weiss is executive director of Green Umbrella.

  • April 19, 2017 1:34 PM | Deleted user

    Source: CityBeat

    Green Umbrella's 10% shift to local food. Distributed by CityBeat in their Green issue. Click here to view guide.

  • April 18, 2017 1:30 PM | Deleted user


    Earth Day has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1970 as a national grassroots “teach-in” on the environment.

    Now observed worldwide, Earth Day, observed April 22, continues to focus on the environment but goes beyond teaching. Locally there are celebrations, service projects and special activities throughout the Cincinnati area. If you're looking for a way to celebrate, here’s a listing of opportunities to consider.

    Volunteers needed for food prep

    In the Cincinnati area hunger and poverty are significant challenges. In recognition of this, Indian Hill High School students are observing Earth Day by making enough soup to feed 10,000 to 15,000 people.

    In partnership with La Soupe, the students plan to prepare 5,000 quarts of soup over two days. To achieve this goal, they need your help. Adult volunteers are needed to work in 2.25-hour shifts. Volunteer opportunities are available on Wednesday, April 19 or during the main event Thursday, April 20 through Friday, April 21.

    To volunteer, visit

    Party for the Planet

    The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden hosts its eighth annual Party for the Planet 4 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20. Businesses and organizations from around the region will share their expertise and resources about sustainable living. Topics include solar energy, composting, recycling, energy efficiency, green building, rain gardens/barrels, and more.

    Speaking of rain barrels, the 5th Annual Rain Barrel Art Benefit Auction will be held during Party for the Planet. The silent auction is 6 to 8 p.m. Winners can take home their rain barrels at the end of the night. The band, Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, will be at Party for the Planet too for the weekly spring music series Tunes and Blooms.

    Additional details can be found at or by calling 513-281-4700.

    Seeds to save Monarchs

    The Save Our Monarchs Foundation is making a push ahead of Earth Day to encourage people to plant milkweed seeds. Milkweed is the only source of food for the monarch caterpillar.

    The monarch population is down 90 percent from what it was in 1992. Milkweed is also rapidly disappearing due to habitat loss resulting from land development and widespread spraying of weed killer on the fields where they live.

    If you wish to observe Earth Day by planting milkweed seeds, visit and place your order for seeds.

    Mill Creek Cleanup

    If you don’t mind getting a little wet and dirty, you might want to check out the Mill Creek Yacht Club’s 23rd Annual Stream Cleanup from Evendale to Lockland beginning at 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 21. Enthusiastic volunteers are needed to help collect litter in and along the stream. Last year about 25 people helped including volunteers from Procter & Gamble and J.M. Smucker.

    Seats in the canoes are limited to volunteers who are 18 or older. There’s plenty of room for the land-based effort that’s open for all ages. Volunteers will meet at Koenig Park in Reading. For information or to sign up visit the sign-up page at or call, 513-563-8800.

    Cincinnati Nature Center blends fun and education

    Free admission is offered Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23 to the Cincinnati Nature Center's Rowe Woods, 4949 Tealtown Road, Milford, for its Earth Day celebrations. Over the weekend, the center offers several family friendly activities.

    A native plant sale will take place on both days along with an opportunity to meet the artist Jaime Iliff from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Nature PlayScape will be the location of several child-friendly activities. For a complete listing of happenings, or to preregister for the program “Gardening for Wildlife,” visit the Cincinnati Nature Center’s website – or call 513-831-1711.

    Earth Day Haiku

    Looking to do something unique this year for Earth Day? Then head over to Fernald Preserve, 7400 Willey Road, Ross, to participate in the free Earth Day Haiku Hike 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 22.

    Organizers of this event decided to combine two celebrations into one, Earth Day and National Poetry Month. For information, visit their Facebook page at Earth Day Haiku Hike.

    The 47th Greater Cincinnati Earth Day Celebration

    The new Summit Park, 4335 Glendale Milford Road, in Blue Ash plays host to this ongoing and popular free, family-friendly Earth Day event noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 22. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Local Food.”

    Greater Cincinnati Earth Day features more than 100 vendors and exhibitors offering Earth-friendly products and interactive educational activities, live music, a beer garden, petting zoo and recycling games. In addition to the exhibits and entertainment, local food trucks and Rhinegeist “Cincy Made” craft beer truck will attend.

    Musical entertainment will be plentiful throughout the afternoon. Acoustic sounds of Lauren & Hogan will begin things at 1 p.m. in the food court area. The indie rock band Room for Zero hits the stage at 2 p.m. followed by the area’s top Americana band Hickory Robot at 4 p.m. A yet-to-be-named band performs at 5:30 p.m.

    The theme, Local Food, will actively involve environmental groups, government agencies, businesses and citizens of all ages in demonstrating their contributions to the beauty and quality of life through their positive actions.

    More details about this event hosted by the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition can be found by visiting

    More Earth Day events from our calendar.

    Krohn Conservatory

    A free tree seedling goes to the first 300 visitors to Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, as part of its Earth Day Celebration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, April 21. The special event is included in admission $7, $4 ages 5-17, free ages 4 and under. 513-421-5707.

    Burlington 5K

    Looking to get out and enjoy nature on Earth Day while also getting in a bit of fitness? Then head out to England-Idlewild Park, 5550 Idlewild Road, in Burlington where the Burlington Elementary School and its PTA are holding an Earth Day 5K starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 22. Money raised will be used for physical education enrichment tools and equipment. Race day registration begins at 8:30 a.m. For information visit,, or call (859) 334-4447.

    Earth Day in Loveland

    The Jackson Street Market, 204 W. Loveland Ave., in Loveland celebrates Earth Day 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22 with a scavenger hunt, games and local organizations offering ways of incorporating sustainability in your life. The event is free. For information call, 513-265-2217, or visit

    Arbor Day

    What better way to celebrate the Earth than through an Arbor Day Celebration? Amberley Village is hosting such a celebration at the village hall, 7149 Ridge Road, 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 24. Guests can meet by the flag pole as a tree planting demonstration is held in celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day. The event is free. For information call, 513-531-8675, or visit,

    Washington Park

    Celebrate Earth Day at Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., with eco-friendly activities and vendors noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 22. The day includes live music, food and drink plus activities for children and adults.

    Sustainable living under Green Umbrella

    Just in time for Earth Day, Green Umbrella announces grant funds going to groups that are working to advance efforts to feed the hungry, reduce food waste and conserve energy.

    Thanks to a $75,000 gift by the Duke Class Benefit Fund, Green Umbrella, the regional sustainability alliance, is funding six projects which will allow each to expand and grow its efforts. Grant recipients are: Our Harvest Cooperative and Ohio Valley Food Connection; La Soupe; Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati; Gabriel's Place; and Dirt: a modern market.

    "Green Umbrella's theme for Earth month this year is Innovate: Activate: Celebrate. We're thrilled to be giving out $75,000 to activate these member projects that benefit the health of our community and environment," Executive Director Kristin Weiss said.

    To learn more about how Green Umbrella is working to make the Cincinnati area one of the nation's top metro areas for sustainability by 2020, visit

  • April 18, 2017 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Source: Soapbox Media

    Earth Day will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2020, and by that time, Green Umbrella wants to make Cincinnati one of the top 10 green cities.

    Our region has over 101,000 acres of protected greenspace, and in the past three years, we’ve seen a 55 percent increase in farmers markets. There is now $191 million in slated funding for walkable and bike-friendly communities, and Greater Cincinnati has ranked in the top 10 for our parks, trees, bike commuting, local food and for its commitment to sustainability.

    But we still have a long way to go. 
    Green Umbrella has 10 actions you can take today to help make Cincinnati more green — see them here.

  • April 18, 2017 10:36 AM | Anonymous

    Source: Soapbox Media

    From walking trails and bike lanes to expanded sidewalks that accommodate both walkers and cyclists, Greater Cincinnati is improving residents’ access to safer routes for non-motorized modes of transportation.

    Think: The Cincy Red Bike stations popping up in neighborhoods all over the TriState, improved trails in Northern Kentucky’s riverfront communities and added sidewalk access in places like Anderson Township are all adding to this.

    “There are lots of good initiatives going on,” says Frank Henson, board president for Queen City Bike.

    But there’s still a need to continue to push on the issues, says Danny Korman, a well-known local walking/biking advocate and former owner of Park+Vine in Over-the-Rhine, which closed earlier this year. He feels car traffic is still an issue for cyclists, and some roads need more connecting bike lanes.

    Effective March 21, a new Ohio state law gave a safety boost to bikers by requiring motorists to give people on bikes three feet of clearance when passing.

    In the grand scheme, commuter biking still only makes up 1 percent of all trips in Cincinnati, according to the 2015 U.S. Census. The city also ranked 39th out of the 70 largest cities when it comes to the percentage of commuters pedaling to work.

    But bike riders are becoming more visible all around town, as evidenced by the popular Red Bike, a pay-per-ride bike share program that started in 2014 with a handful of downtown racks. According to spokesperson Jason Baron, Red Bike is up to 56 stations and 442 bikes throughout the city and has been “enthusiastically embraced by the city.”

    And it’s not just young people using them; demographics show 50 percent women and 50 percent men are using Red Bikes, with age and ethnicity of riders running the gamut. Those numbers equate to about 240,000 bike rides per year, Baron says.

    For Red Bike, it's now about growing ridership by getting new riders to try it for the first time. Baron says Red Bike might extend its service into more local communities, but that growth is slower for now.

    Korman says bicycle safety and access depends on where you are in Greater Cincinnati. Korman highlights, for example, the heavy car traffic that impedes riders using the not-yet-complete protected bike lanes that run along Central Parkway from downtown to Northside.

    Even though these lanes are clearly marked, cars are still being parked between the pylons and the curb, which is where bicyclists are supposed to ride.

    Henson points to other efforts like those by regional sustainability group Green Umbrella, whose ongoing plans for increasing walking and biking in the region include a 42-mile urban loop that would connect existing trails to schools, work places and bus stops. (View a map of the planned Cincinnati Connects trail here.) The first phase of the project is underway, and design work will start on a second section this summer.

    “It’s such a great step forward,” says Henson, who adds that once the urban loop is completed, bikers will be able to stop at bus stops if they need a ride to another part of the city and catch a ride up a steep hill by putting their bike on the bus’s front rack.

    Meanwhile, a Miami-to-Miami trail network feasibility study is currently underway; the project could eventually connect Cincinnati’s northern communities.

    Across the river, an 11.5-mile pedestrian trail called Riverfront Commons will soon connect all six Northern Kentucky river cities. The project won a $1.2 million grant for work that is scheduled to begin this May and will be overseen by Southbank Partners.

    As far as hills go, Henson says they’re not really slowing down bikers, since anyone encountering a hill too steep to pedal can always hop off and walk those portions. “The rule in Cincinnati is that you'll never meet a hill that you cannot walk. There's nothing wrong with that.”

    Sidewalk projects are in the works for travelers by foot, too. Examples include new construction in Anderson Township and Fort Thomas, as well as sidewalk-revamp projects underway along Eggleston Avenue on downtown’s east side and Monmouth Street in Newport.

    Steve Sievers, assistant administrator for operations in Anderson Township, says his team has been focusing on walkability for the last 20 years. The township’s goal is to increase the use of sidewalks and other footpaths by adding shade and benches.

    “We're being strategic about it,” he says, while noting that some segments will never have sidewalks because the cost outweighs the potential benefit.

    Korman, who is co-author of Walking Cincinnati, says much of our infrastructure pre-dates cars, and the city was therefore built for walking. His book highlights good walking areas in the city.

    “It’s not entirely under threat,” Korman says. “But we need to constantly pay attention to our oldest areas and all the river towns as well.”

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