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  • November 15, 2017 4:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Ohio Valley Region will soon enjoy better market opportunities for local farms and better access for people and institutions to fresh, healthy, local food. Green Umbrella, the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati, was recently awarded a USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant to increase sales for local farm producers through our region’s largest food hubs by 65% by 2020.

    Funds from the grant will allow Green Umbrella to partner with two of our region’s existing food hubs, Ohio Valley Food Connection and Our Harvest Cooperative, in order to provide a convenient and efficient local food distribution solution through the Ohio Valley Food Hub Project.

    “This grant will help reach and exceed our Local Food Action Team goal of doubling the production and consumption of fruits and vegetables grown in our region by 2020, while growing Greater Cincinnati’s commitment to – and demand for – locally grown food,” says Kristin Weiss, executive director of Green Umbrella. According to Green Umbrella’s local food regional indicator index, our metro area currently ranks #1 in food hubs per capita, and fifth in its commitment to local food overall, in comparison to 15 peer regions.

    “The project is really about giving both farmers and institutional buyers the tools they need to make it easier to do business together,” says Alice Chalmers, founder of Ohio Valley Food Connection.

    Specifically, the grant is intended to increase farm sales that market through the local food hubs to $1.1 million annually; to provide farm safety planning to over 30 producers and two food hubs; and to increase purchasing of local agricultural products by at least 230 wholesale clients by the end of the project. To fulfill these outcomes, the grant will fund additional staff to help develop relationships with new large institutional clients, create a customized crop plan for each institutional client, manage ongoing ordering and distribution for institutional clients, and measure the scale and impact of sales.

     Our Harvest Cooperative packing orders of locally grown food for delivery. [Photo credit: Our Harvest Cooperative]

    “The “farm to institution” movement has been growing across the country – including among K-12 schools, preschools and child care centers, universities, hospitals, cafeterias, and businesses,” says Anne Schneider, Green Umbrella’s new local food consultant for the Ohio Valley Food Hub Project. “We will build on local successes while also leveraging national best practices,” says Schneider.

    Additionally, efforts will be made to improve the market opportunities for partner farms and food hubs by helping producers and the food hubs meet new federal food safety guidelines as well as building warehousing and transportation capacity for the food hubs to manage increased volumes.

    “This grant is providing critical resources to the Greater Cincinnati region’s two local food hubs -- allowing us to work more efficiently together, to increase institutional sales, and to better support our regional farmers. This will have a dramatic impact on our regional food system,” says Kristin Gangwer, CEO of Our Harvest Cooperative.

    For more information about the Ohio Valley Food Hub Project, visit www.greenumbrella.org/foodhubproject.

    For more information about the local food regional indicator index, visit www.greenumbrella.org/localfoodindex.

    For information about how to source locally this Thanksgiving, visit www.greenumbrella.org/localthanksgiving.

  • November 14, 2017 5:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Check out our latest Green Umbrella Insider to discover options for shopping local for Thanksgiving 2017.

  • November 08, 2017 11:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Eleven cities across the U.S. will receive nearly a million dollars for sustainability efforts that benefit low-income neighborhoods. Cincinnati was awarded the largest grant, which will fund strategic, collaborative activities to prevent, recover, and recycle food waste. The initiative is led by the City of Cincinnati and Green Umbrella. Right now, edible food is contributing to climate change rather than addressing food insecurity in our community. Cincinnati’s project, Save our Food Cincy, seeks to change that.

    The funding is through the Partners for Places matching grants program, which pairs city governments with philanthropy to support sustainability projects that promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being for residents. Partners for Places, led by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities in partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, will provide $484,000 in funding to 11 cities, which will be matched by local funders. Cincinnati matching funders are Interact for Health, Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, and The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

    Cincinnati’s funded project will help our region meet the EPA and USDA’s joint national goals for 50% food waste reduction by 2030, while improving the sustainability of our local food system. According to the 2016 ReFED Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste, the U.S. spends “over $218 billion…growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten…totaling roughly 63 million tons of annual waste.” The EPA estimates that “more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash” where it produces methane gas, a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

    In the Cincinnati region, Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District estimates that 20% of landfilled material is food waste. This is contributing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 57,817 cars on the road for a year. An average family of four wastes $1,500 a year in food they do not eat. Amidst this waste, a quarter of Tri-State adults experienced food insecurity this year, according to Interact for Health’s 2017 Community Health Status Survey.

    This project will complement other efforts occurring in the region, including the City of Cincinnati’s 2018 Green Cincinnati Plan update, current conversations about how to return commercial scale food waste processing infrastructure to our region, All-In Cincinnati, the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Waste Action Plan, and Green Umbrella’s Waste Reduction Action Team’s campaign to reduce food waste.

    “With food waste making up 20% of our waste stream and with 1 in 4 local residents being food insecure, this grant is a huge opportunity to increase healthy food access while making a dent in the amount of waste going to the landfill – currently averaging more than 5 lbs. per person per day” says Lauren Campbell-Kong, co-chair of Green Umbrella’s Waste Reduction Action Team.

    Other grant activities will include expanding sharing tables in schools, working with institutional kitchens to reduce food waste and recover surplus food, fostering neighborhood composting through policy advocacy, and educating the public on best practices related to food waste issues. With grant funds, says Kristin Weiss, executive director, “Green Umbrella will also announce a $50,000 Save our Food Cincy Fund later this month to incentivize local food organizations and businesses to develop innovative and scalable food recovery efforts.”

    Part of grant funds will be used to expand sharing tables in schools, like this Hamilton County pilot program (Photo credit: Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District)

  • October 26, 2017 4:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Green Umbrella is gearing up to convene our Annual Meeting and Celebration. This year’s event will be Thursday, December 7, from 4:00 - 6:30 pm at MadTree in Oakley. The Action Teams are hard at work analyzing metrics, capturing the stories that reveal their accomplishments and defining key strategies for 2018. Tickets are on sale now and sponsorship opportunities are available.

  • October 26, 2017 11:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On November 3, Green Umbrella will pack up its Northside office and relocate to Madisonville. Our new office is in Starfire Council’s building at 5030 Oaklawn Drive (45227). Although we will miss Northside, we are excited to add our presence to Starfire’s emerging hub for non-profits blazing a new trail in their sector. Please update our mailing address in your records.

  • October 11, 2017 4:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greater Cincinnati has exceeded yet another environmental sustainability goal by being recognized as the nation’s top metro area in sustainability. A new and improved index highlights the leading metro areas, states, and countries in sustainability, with the Cincinnati metro area ranking #1 in the US. Of the sustainability goals set for the region by Green Umbrella, the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati, this represents the third goal achieved before its 2020 deadline.

    “Green Umbrella is thrilled that Greater Cincinnati is being recognized for its sustainability efforts by such a data-driven and rigorous index. This news accompanies other sustainability accolades for Cincinnati, including ranking top 10 in The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore® Index, and as #2 in the nation for green jobs,” says Kristin Weiss, executive director of Green Umbrella. The two other 2020 sustainability goals exceeded to date relate to greenspace (with over 101,000 acres, 96% of our regional population lives within 2 miles of protected greenspace) and outdoor recreation and nature awareness (our region continues to excel in engaging residents and visitors in outdoor experiences).

    “This data-rich, one-of-a-kind index balances a number of factors comprising cleantech and green industry activity and potential, energy awareness, the built environment, redevelopment of polluted sites, policy, and human well-being and quality of life,” reports Adam Brunes of Site Selection’s 2017 Sustainability Rankings. Green Umbrella members Proctor & Gamble and the University of Cincinnati are also featured in the article for their innovative waste reduction and green building initiatives, respectively.

    “We can look forward to more regional sustainability achievements in the future too, such as improved walkable and bike-friendly communities, thanks to OKI’s inclusion of $191 million in prioritized bike and pedestrian related infrastructure projects in the region’s 2040 Transportation Plan. We also expect to see a surge in sales of locally grown food, thanks to a USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant awarded to increase sales for local producers through our region’s largest food hubs by 65% by 2020,” says Weiss.

    “The Green Cincinnati Plan has helped establish Cincinnati as a national leader in sustainability and an attractive destination for businesses and individuals. The City of Cincinnati has begun a major update of the Green Cincinnati Plan to advance the sustainability, equity, and resilience of our city for the next five years,” says Oliver Kroner, sustainability coordinator for the City of Cincinnati. The City’s Office of Environment & Sustainability hired Green Umbrella to help with the 2018 update. A kickoff event, attended by 300 people to begin developing recommendations for the plan, was held in September at the Cincinnati Zoo – the greenest zoo in America. At the event, city officials announced plans to build the largest municipal solar array in the country as part of its recent pledge to fully transition the city to 100% renewable energy by 2035.

    “Our region has demonstrated that we value environmental sustainability, and with continued investment, we will continue to push ahead,” remarks Weiss.  

    PHOTO: People biking along the Canal Bikeway - part of the Tri-State Trails vision for CROWN Cincinnati to connect 49 neighborhoods to major destinations through this active transportation network (photo credit: Jack Martin)

  • October 03, 2017 12:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are you curious about what other regions are doing to advance sustainability goals? So are we! In preparation for helping to update the Green Cincinnati Plan, Green Umbrella analyzed the sustainability initiatives of 15 peer regions across the nation. The process identified an Idea Bank of 1,300 actions, projects, targets and strategies. You can check them out, and learn more about the Benchmarking Study, here.

  • September 13, 2017 3:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Green Cincinnati Plan has helped establish Cincinnati as a national leader in sustainability and an attractive destination for businesses and individuals. Adopted in 2008, and revised and readopted in 2013, the Green Cincinnati Plan presents a comprehensive set of recommendations for addressing global climate change as a City and region. Green Umbrella is helping the City of Cincinnati begin a major update of the Green Cincinnati Plan, to advance the sustainability, equity, and resilience of our city for the next five years.

    The Kick-off meeting is scheduled for September 28th and we want to hear from you!

    The new Green Cincinnati Plan includes equity as a core organizing principle. Greater Cincinnatians are invited to work across sectors and neighborhoods to collaboratively design the next set of sustainable goals and strategies for the future of the City and region.

    Mark your calendar now, register to attend and join us:

    WHAT: Kick-off Meeting for the 2018 Green Cincinnati Plan

    WHEN: Thursday, September 28, 2017, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

    WHERE: Cincinnati Zoo Harold Schott Education Center, Corner of Erkenbrecher Ave. and Dury Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220

    Register to attend.

  • September 13, 2017 3:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Green Umbrella is excited to present the 14th Annual Great Outdoor Weekend on Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24, 2017. This outdoor events sampler will give residents of Greater Cincinnati the opportunity to experience the best outdoor recreation and nature awareness programs available in the region. Participants can enjoy over 100 free events at 40 different locations throughout the area over two days. This perennial favorite is expected to draw 10,000 visitors.       

    Some of this year’s activities include:

    • Learning to kayak, canoe or fish;
    • Outdoor art-making from reused and natural materials;
    • Discovering the plants and animals that call our region home;
    • Gazing at the stars and diving into hands-on STEM activities;
    •  Exploring the landscape with orienteering skills and scavenger hunts;
    • Harvesting honey and celebrating honey bees and other pollinators.

    All of these activities plus many more are available to adults and children FREE of charge during Great Outdoor Weekend, one of the largest events of its kind in the country. This year’s event weekend features new and unique partnerships to bring diverse programs to transit-accessible locations, activating greenspace within the urban core.

    WHEN: September 23-24, 2017; all day

    WHERE: Over 40 locations throughout the Greater Cincinnati region

    To view more information on specific events held by participating organizations, go to: www.GreatOutdoorWeekend.org.

    Great Outdoor Weekend is presented by Green Umbrella and MeetMeOutdoors.com, the Tri-State’s year-round guide to the outdoors. Sponsors for this event include The Cincinnati Wild Flower Preservation Society and Interact for Health.

  • September 12, 2017 10:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WHAT: Tri-State Trails and partner organizations will announce the vision for CROWN, the Cincinnati Riding Or Walking Network. CROWN is the plan to link multi-use trails and on-road bike lanes in Cincinnati to create an interconnected 104-mile active transportation network.

    WHEN: Wednesday, September 13, 2017. Press conference will begin at 1:00 pm.

    The agenda for the press conference includes the following speakers:

    • Frank Henson, Chair, Tri-State Trails (emcee for press conference)
    • Megan Folkerth, Program Officer, Interact for Health
    • Jack Sutton, Executive Director, Great Parks of Hamilton County
    • Wade Walcutt, Director, Cincinnati Park Board
    • Brendon Cull, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
    • Bob Koehler, Deputy Executive Director/Transportation Manager, OKI Regional Council of Governments

    Light refreshments from Coffee Emporium will be available to attendees. A short bike ride on the Ohio River Trail will follow. A limited number of Red Bikes will be provided free of charge, complements of Red Bike.

    Tri-State Trails will live stream the press conference via Facebook using the hashtag #CROWNcincinnati.

    WHERE: Smale Riverfront Park on the Ohio River Trail, just east of the base of the Roebling Suspension Bridge.

    Parking is readily available in the Central Riverfront Garage on the Ohio River Scenic Byway (US 52), across the street from Smale Riverfront Park.

    CONTACT: Wade Johnston, Director, Tri-State Trails, wade@greenumbrella.org or 513.541.1538

    Twitter: @TriStateTrails | www.tristatetrails.org

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