Sharing Resources for Food Security: A Green Umbrella Success Story

June 19, 2017 11:00 AM | Anonymous

Sharing Resources for Food Security: A Green Umbrella Success Story

Green Umbrella recognized a funding opportunity for our members.

In mid-2016, a legal settlement known as the Duke Class Benefit Fund offered grants for projects related to energy efficiency.

Green Umbrella’s Executive Director saw an opportunity connecting multiple sustainability focus areas — energy, food, and waste.  One of our seven working groups, the Energy Action Team, targets renewable energy and energy conservation.  Another group, the Local Food Action Team, works to encourage production, distribution, and consumption of local food.  A third group, the Waste Reduction Action Team, seeks to reduce waste going to landfills.  A related Green Umbrella initiative, the Regional Food Policy Council, addresses food security as it works to advance a healthy, equitable, and sustainable food system.

Green Umbrella’s idea to address multiple areas of opportunity was energy-efficient refrigeration.  Refrigeration is a costly factor in the food chain and one that reduces waste.  Help with funding would benefit several Green Umbrella member organizations.

A grant application went forward in October 2016 and received approval a month later.

Green Umbrella invited member organizations to share the grant funds.  About a dozen members applied.  A review committee — knowledgeable people not associated with the applicants — made the selections.  Regrettably, not all worthy applicants could be funded, since requests totaled three times the available funds.

On April 10, 2017, a press release announced:

Green Umbrella Members Work Together to Support Farmers, Feed the Hungry, Reduce Food Waste, and Conserve Energy

Six member organizations shared $75,000 to provide energy-efficient refrigeration.  By special request, the grantors made funds available early, for use in this growing season.

Briefly, these are the recipients and their missions:

Our Harvest Cooperative creates access to healthy, local food in a way that honors land and labor.

Ohio Valley Food Connection helps increase the amount of local food purchased by bridging the logistical gap between buyers and suppliers.

La Soupe helps close the gap between food waste and hunger by rescuing otherwise wasted food to create nutritious meals.

Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati builds community through gardening, education, and environmental stewardship.

Gabriel’s Place creates a space for neighbors in Avondale to reclaim health, self, and sense of community through the language of food.

Dirt: A Modern Market expands the market for local growers and producers and promotes community involvement with healthy eating and living.

With their new refrigeration capacity, these grant recipients will be able to carry out their various missions better — getting locally sourced food into the hands of people in need, encouraging local agriculture and gardens, and reducing food waste.

Collective Impact made this happen — reinforcing one another’s efforts around a shared agenda.  Green Umbrella, the Regional Sustainability Alliance, is the “backbone” organization that coordinates joint initiatives.  As in this example, the results exceed what individual organizations can achieve individually.

Written by Bob Temple, longtime member of Green Umbrella's Board of Trustees.


Green Umbrella is the leading alliance working to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati. We drive collaboration to fuel measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability. Our vision is to have the region recognized as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the nation by 2020. For more information or to become a member, please visit

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