• February 06, 2018 9:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Green Umbrella is a Collective Impact backbone organization, which facilitates seven Action Teams, each focused on a different area of regional sustainability. The Action Teams are gatherings of key stakeholders and committed individuals who work collaboratively to make measurable improvements on shared, mutually beneficial goals. You can learn more about each of our Action Teams on their websites: EnergyGreenspaceLocal Food,OutdoorTransportationWaste ReductionWatershed. Individual members and representatives of Member Organizations are invited to participate in Green Umbrella Action Teams. Find out which one is relevant to your work and attend a meeting in February or March to get involved (the dates are on our events calendar).

  • January 24, 2018 1:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This year’s keynote speaker for the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit on June 15 will be renowned climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe.

    Hayhoe is not only at the forefront of research related to modeling regional to local impacts of climate change, but is a climate communicator experienced in untangling the complex science and tackling many long-held misconceptions about global warming. Check out her PBS series, "Global Weirding" for a fun look at what climate change is and isn't.

    Her address will set the stage for the theme of the Summit: “Resilience: Public-Private Partnerships for a Dynamic Future.” We will examine how our region can prepare for and respond to potential impacts of climate change, including learning from the 100 Resilient Cities model developed by the Rockefeller Foundation. Early Bird registration is now open, sponsorships and exhibitor booths are available.

  • December 11, 2017 2:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Green Umbrella is pleased to announce two funding opportunities designed to advance regional environmental sustainability goals related to local food, food waste reduction, fresh food access, and energy-efficiency. The total amount of funding available is $125,000. Applications are due January 26, 2018 and more information can be found at www.greenumbrella.org.

    Through these grants, Green Umbrella seeks to serve as a steward of environmental funding and accelerate progress on the Greater Cincinnati region’s 2020 sustainability goals. Several funders have entrusted Green Umbrella in this effort, including the Duke Class Benefit Fund and Partners for Places – a project of the Funders Network for Smart and Livable Communities, with local matching grants provided by Interact for Health, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

    The first funding opportunity, Cincy Save the Food Fund, totals $50,000, and is designed to incentivize local food organizations and businesses to develop innovative, scalable food recovery efforts. Nationally, the EPA and USDA have set joint goals for 50% food waste reduction by 2030. An average family of four wastes $1,500 a year in food they do not eat. 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. Amidst this waste, a quarter of local residents experienced food insecurity this past year, according to Interact for Health’s 2017 Community Health Status Survey.

    The second funding opportunity, Energy-Efficient Refrigeration for the Local Food System, totals $75,000, and is being renewed for a second year, after receiving funding requests for three times the amount available last year. Improved refrigeration infrastructure is needed to strengthen regional distribution of locally grown food, improve fresh food access for the 25% of local residents who are food insecure, and reduce the 40% of food that is wasted nationally. Energy-efficient refrigeration not only has environmental benefits; it also reduces operating costs within the local food system.

    Together, this funding will drive progress on the following Green Umbrella goals:

    • Advance a healthy, equitable and sustainable regional food system.
    • Double the production and consumption of fruits and vegetables grown within our region by 2020.
    • Reduce waste going to landfills by 33% by 2020 as we transition to “zero waste.”
    • Reduce energy consumption in the built environment by 15% by 2020.

    For more information on the Cincy Save the Food Fund, visit: www.greenumbrella.org/save-the-food-fund.

    For more information on Energy-Efficient Refrigeration for the Local Food System, visit: www.greenumbrella.org/energy-efficient-refrigeration.


    Duke Class Benefit Fund: Funds from the settlement of a class action lawsuit (Williams, et al vs. Duke Energy International, et al) will be used to benefit residential (home owners, renters) and non‐residential (commercial, industrial, business, government, nonprofit) class members, defined as “all ratepayers who received retail electric generation service from Duke Energy Corp. and/or Cinergy Corp. or their subsidiaries or affiliates at any time between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, in the CG&E/Duke Energy Ohio electric service territory and who did not receive rebates under the side agreements.”

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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

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