Green Umbrella in the News

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  • January 18, 2018 3:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Business Courier, Chris Wetterich

    Design of the final segment of the Little Miami Scenic Trail needed to connect it to the Ohio River Trail – and eventually downtown Cincinnati – will be completed by 2019, with construction set to be finished by 2021.

    The Great Parks of Hamilton County has secured a $4.3 million grant to build a bridge across the river that is needed to connect the trail to the Otto Armleder Park and Lunken Airport trails. According to trail group Green Umbrella, another $730,000 in funding is needed to complete the project’s $5.4 million cost. 

    Design is underway and will be completed by next year. Construction is expected to start in 2020, but would not be completed until 2021. 

    The Little Miami Scenic Trail runs for 78 miles and is a part of the Ohio River to Lake Erie Trail. The overall vision is for bicyclists and pedestrians eventually to be able to travel along the trail from downtown Cincinnati to Xenia, Columbus and Cleveland. 

    Great Parks received a federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grant to build a separated bike and pedestrian bridge over the Little Miami River at Beechmont Avenue. The grant also will pay for a retaining wall underneath the bridge and a tunnel under the Ohio 32 westbound ramp to Beechmont Avenue. 

    The city of Cincinnati has yet to work out a deal to use the Oasis rail line right-of-way to complete the Ohio River Trail to downtown. It needs an agreement with Indiana & Ohio Railway Company and its parent company, Genesee & Wyoming Inc., to run a bike trail along the route. 


  • November 11, 2017 5:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Northern Kentucky Tribune

    Eleven cities across the United States will receive nearly a million dollars for sustainability efforts that benefit low-income neighborhoods.

    Greater 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.

    Several Northern Kentucky organizations are members of Green Umbrella, including the Cities of Bellevue, Covington, Ludlow and Florence, the Kenton County Conservation District, Friends of Big Bone and the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

    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 the region meet the EPA and USDA’s joint national goals for 50 percent food waste reduction by 2030, while improving the sustainability of our local food system.

    Green Umbrella member La Soupe has rescued over 300,000 lbs of food from the landfill (photo credit: La Soupe).

    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 percent of landfilled material is food waste. This contributes 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.

    Lauren Campbell-Kong, co-chair of Green Umbrella’s Waste Reduction Action Team said the amount of waste going to the landfill averages more than 5 lbs. per day.

    “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,” said Campbell Kong.

    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.”

    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.

    Green Umbrella works to maximize the environmental sustainability of Greater Cincinnati, driving collaboration on measurable improvements in key areas of sustainability. For more information or to become a member, please visit www.greenumbrella.org.


  • October 19, 2017 11:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Business Courier, Erin Caproni

    Cincinnati is the most sustainable metropolitan area in the U.S., according to a new ranking from Site Selection magazine. 

    The Queen City is followed by previous top contender Boston, Seattle, Cleveland and Chicago on the list, which was created based on data related to LEED buildings, Energy Star buildings, green industry projects, Corporate Social Responsibility rankings, Measurable metro scores, brownfield grants, brownfield cleanups and Gallup/Healthways Well-Being rankings.

    Site Selection focused on Procter & Gamble Co.’s green efforts as a contributing factor to the city’s placement on the list.

    “Procter & Gamble is synonymous with its hometown and continues to pursue its own aggressive sustainability agenda,” the story states. “Among the recent steps it’s taken are investments in recycling and beneficial reuse that will eliminate all manufacturing waste from its global network of more than 100 production sites by 2020.

    The University of Cincinnati’s green efforts were also highly praised in the piece as it has built six LEED-certified buildings since 2004 and has another in the works with its new facility for the business college.

    Kristin Weiss, executive director of Cincinnati environmental organization Green Umbrella, said more sustainability efforts are in the works for the region.

    “We can look forward to more regional sustainability achievements in the future, 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,” she said in a statement. “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 percent by 2020.”

    Overall, Ohio was No. 3 among the nation’s most sustainable states behind North Carolina and Illinois in the new ranking, while the U.S. was ranked second among countries behind Canada.

    To see the full report, click here. 

  • October 11, 2017 4:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Business Courier, Bill Cieslewicz

    Fifteen organizations in Butler and Warren counties have partnered to re-energize a 2002 plan to connect Greater Cincinnati’s two longest trails.

    Spearheaded by Green Umbrella’s Tri-State Trails initiative, the goal of the Miami 2 Miami Action Plan is to outline a path forward to complete the multi-use trail network that will connect Hamilton to Mason via the Little Miami Scenic Trail and Great Miami River Trail.

    The Miami 2 Miami Connection Feasibility Study was originally conducted 15 years ago, led by OKI Regional Council of Governments. The study recommended a 125-mile network of multi-use trails, bike lanes and shared roads with 84 of those miles identified as priority corridors. Since 2002, 36 miles of the network have been constructed and an additional 37 miles outside of the original project scope now exist.

    “Liberty Township and neighboring communities have experienced significant growth over the past 15 years, and our residents are demanding more facilities for walking and biking,” Liberty Township trustee Christine Matacic, who helped organize and lead the 2002 plan, said in a press release.

    “Communities and developers around Butler County are building trails to improve quality of life, increase property values, and spur economic development. If we all collaborate to complete the Miami 2 Miami Connection, the benefits will increase exponentially for our region.”

    Seven communities that the network plans to traverse through – Hamilton, Fairfield, Mason, and the townships of Fairfield, West Chester, Liberty and Deerfield – have passed a memorandum of understanding solidifying their commitment to collaborate to plan, construct and maintain the trail system.

    Five additional stakeholders (Monroe, MetroParks of Butler County, Butler County Transportation Improvement District, Butler County Visitors Bureau,and Butler Tech) and three community foundations (Community Foundation of West Chester-Liberty, Hamilton Community Foundation and Fairfield Community Foundation) have contributed to the Miami 2 Miami Action Plan.

    Led by Tri-State Trails, the project design team includes Human Nature and AECOM.

    “Hamilton’s investment in the Great Miami River Trail is increasing economic activity and improving the vibrancy of our downtown,” said Hamilton City Council member Rob Wile, an avid cyclist. “The Miami 2 Miami Connection presents a tremendous opportunity to connect to other destinations and the Little Miami Scenic Trail.”

    “Mason has been steadily investing in trail connectivity in the city for more than a decade. With nearly 30 miles of existing trails, we look forward to completing our eastern segment of the Miami 2 Miami Connection by 2022, linking the Little Miami Scenic Trail to our network,” said Mason Mayor Victor Kidd. “Our business community values the trail network as an amenity to attract and retain a talented workforce.”

    The Little Miami Scenic Trail is the longest connected trail in Tri-State Trails’ 10-county service area, spanning more than 75 miles from Cincinnati to Springfield. It is also the southern leg of the 320-mile Ohio to Erie Trail connecting Cincinnati to Cleveland.

    The Great Miami River Trail is the second-longest trail with plans to span more than 95 miles to connect Fairfield to Piqua, of which 83 miles exist and 12 miles are currently being planned.

  • October 09, 2017 3:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU Cincinnati, Bill Rinehart

    There's a new effort to tie two local trails together. Fifteen organizations in Butler and Warren counties are working on a plan to connect the Little Miami Scenic and the Great Miami River Trails. The idea was first floated in 2002 in an OKI study according to Wade Johnston of Green Umbrella.

    He says the "Miami 2 Miami" plan will have, "The communities working together collaboratively to prioritize a single route that everyone agrees on so that we're able to reap the benefits of having a connected network instead of having pieces of network."

    Johnston says seven communities that the trail will pass through have signed on:

    • Hamilton
    • Fairfield
    • Mason
    • Fairfield Township
    • West Chester Township
    • Liberty Township
    • Deerfield Township

    Johnston says connecting the two hiking-biking paths has some challenges, but Mason already has a good foundation. "They have about 30 miles of trail, and much of the Mason network is connected."

    He admits there are some challenges. "Assembling a corridor of right-of-way and then obviously constructing it and finding the funding to construct it. So the corridors that we're really prioritizing looking at are mostly publicly owned and could be an easy win."

    Johnston says finding the funding may also be tough but he says there are another 8 organizations, both public and private that are willing to help. And he says a survey in West Chester and Liberty Township found public support for trails was high.

    He says they plan to apply for funding in the spring.


  • September 27, 2017 1:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Soapbox Media, Allison Smith Cohen

    What if there was a healthy, affordable, environmentally-friendly way to get to work? What if you could skip the headache of traffic every morning?

    CROWN, formally known as the Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network, is a series of trails that loops and connects Cincinnati’s existing biking and walking trails. Interact for Health funds the promotion of CROWN, highlighting the collaboration of nonprofit, government agencies and transportation organizations to expand and promote the trail network.

    Wade Johnston is the director of Tri-State Trails, a Green Umbrella initiative that's committed to connecting and expanding the region's trail system. Tri-State Trails is one of the many organizations working to make CROWN a reality. Johnston says that CROWN will connect neighborhoods, taking us back to the basics of transportation and recreation.

    “What better way to connect neighborhoods than to connect trails?” he asks.

    The CROWN network also keeps us competitive with similar efforts happening in Louisville, Columbus and Cleveland, which are also building ways to actively transport their citizens to their destinations.

    The CROWN is founded on five pillars of benefits to our city:

    • Active transportation: “Forty percent of car rides in an urban environment are trips that are two miles or less,” says Frank Henson, the chair for Tri-State Trails. The idea is to get people safely between destinations without a car.
    • Economic development: “There’s already evidence that trails increase property values,” Johnston says, pointing out the examples of development happening along the Little Miami Trail.
    • Public health: “Ohio and Kentucky are near the bottom of public health rankings for cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says Johnston. “If we can make it an easy choice to bike or walk every day, it can reduce healthcare costs collectively.”
    • Transportation equity: Providing biking or walking options to impoverished areas can provide additional connectivity to people who don’t have access to a car.
    • Environmental sustainability: “We have some of the worst air quality here in Cincinnati and fumes from cars contribute to that,” Johnston says. Walking and biking will have the added benefit of improving air quality and lowering the instances of pulmonary diseases.

    The work for the CROWN network is ongoing, with 48 miles of the 104-mile network already built. The vision is to have the entire network completed in 5-10 years.

    Meanwhile, citizens can enjoy the portions of the CROWN that already exist (check out the map below). A detailed map can be found on CROWN's website.



    “It’s very appropriate for the Queen City to have a CROWN,” Johnston adds.


  • September 27, 2017 12:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Produce Perks Midwest, Barbie Vargo

    Fresh, healthy produce is now more affordable in Cincinnati for people shopping with SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps).  Produce Perks Midwest, an area non-profit helping Ohio residents stretch their SNAP dollars, is excited to announce the launch of its Produce Perks program, which provides a dollar for dollar match to SNAP customers to spend on fruits and vegetables, at Clifton Market.  

    When customers spend their SNAP/EBT dollars at participating locations, Produce Perks DOUBLES their purchasing power at participating locations. The Produce Perks program provides a $1-for-$1 match for SNAP customers (up to $10 per day) for fruits, vegetables, herbs, seeds, and seedlings.

    Produce Perks began in 2014 by serving SNAP customers at 5 Cincinnati farmers’ markets. This year, SNAP shoppers can find Produce Perks at more than 20 farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs throughout the Greater Cincinnati area!  And now, Produce Perks Midwest is adding grocery stores to the list as a way to further increase access to affordable local fruits and vegetables.

    Clifton Market, located at 319 Ludlow Ave, Cincinnati, OH, is a community-owned grocery store that stocks regionally-grown fruits and vegetables.  SNAP shoppers will receive a 50% discount up to $10 per day on any fruit and vegetable purchase, empowering them to buy healthful, local produce even on a limited budget.

    Produce Perks Midwest continues to increase the number of sites offering the Produce Perks match in the Greater Cincinnati region and is working with organizations throughout Ohio and Wholesome Wave, a national nonprofit, to expand the Produce Perks program to serve more Ohioans. 

    Learn more about Produce Perks Midwest and find a market or retail site that offers the match at produceperks.org.

    Learn more about Clifton Market at cliftonmarket.com, or by calling the store at 513-861-3000.

  • September 13, 2017 4:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Enquirer, Monroe Trombly

    A new organization Wednesday unveiled an ambitious vision: Connect Cincinnati's existing trail systems to create a bicycling and hiking network over one hundred miles. 

    At an estimated at 104 miles, the Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network (CROWN) seeks to create an "interconnected, active transportation network" to revolutionize the way people move around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

    All that's standing in the way is $45.7 million. CROWN does not have a clear way to raise the money.

    This unified vision plans to link the existing Little Miami Scenic Trail, Ohio River Trail East, Mill Creek Greenway Trail, Lunken Airport Trail, and Otto Armleder Trail to the proposed Wasson Way, Oasis Trail, Ohio River Trail West, and Little Duck Creek Trail.

    At the heart of the CROWN network would be the 30-mile Urban Trail Loop, bringing approximately 242,000 people within one mile of a bike trail.

    Nine miles out of thirty have been completed already.

    To see which trails or lanes have been built in which neighborhood, consult a larger version of the map here: greenumbrella.org/CROWN

    The project is being spearheaded by Tri-State Trails, Green Umbrella, and a coalition of bicycling advocates, nonprofit organizations, and various representatives of governmental agencies.

    CROWN network partners cited improving public health, protecting the environment and promoting social equity as their main goals. 

    "We really value that it will go through some of our most vulnerable population groups, said Megan Folkerth of Interact for Health. "In many cases those groups don't have access to cars and this network will help them get where they need to go everyday."

    Wade Johnston, Director of Tri-State Trails, says he is confident the money will be raised, citing recent expansions of trails such as the Little Miami Scenic Trail and Canal Bikeway route and trails under construction. 

    The Wasson Way Trail has partial funding thanks to $200,000 from the city of Cincinnati, and The Ohio River Trail West will see two miles constructed in 2019.

    Organizations involved in the CROWN project include Queen City Bike, Cincy Red Bike, Great Parks of Hamilton County, Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance, Interact for Health, and OKI Regional Council of Governments.

    CROWN is the new face and an expansion of Tri-State Trails' Cincinnati Connects project that envisioned 42 miles of biking trails in 2015.

    Cincinnati Connects worked with the City of Cincinnati to implement Phase I of the city's Bicycle Transportation Plan, first started in 2010 and outlines 15 years of bicycle infrastructure recommendations.

    The city of Cincinnati is ranked #36 in "The 50 Best Bike Cities of 2016" by Bicycling.com, citing the recent uptick in bicycling interest over the last few years and the success of Central Parkway's bike lanes. 



  • September 13, 2017 3:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WCPO (Video available), Pat LeFleur

    CINCINNATI -- A major mixed-use trail proposal in the Tri-State is about to get a new name, and with it an even wider scope.

    Formerly called Cincinnati Connects, the CROWN -- that is, the Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network -- consists of a number of cycling advocates, trail builders and community leaders committed to creating what could become a more-than 100-mile trail network throughout the city. That would include both existing on- and off-road bike lanes and trails, as well as projects in progress.

    It would also put roughly 242,000 Cincinnati residents within a mile of paved trail access, according to chair of local advocacy group Tri-State Trails, Frank Henson.

    "This is a bold, new vision," Henson said. 

    The idea is to connect four major trail projects currently underway: the Mill Creek Greenway Trail, the Ohio River West Trail, the Oasis Trail and Wasson Way Trail, among other smaller trails throughout the county and along the riverfront, Henson said. The plan would also build six new connector trails in order to complete the network.

    Tri-State Trails teamed up with Queen City Bike, Red Bike, and the Urban Basin Bicycle Club as the major organizations behind the plan, which they unveiled Wednesday during a meet-and-greet at the foot of the Roebling Bridge in Smale Park. That stretch of the riverfront is part of the Ohio River Trail, extending east into Sawyer Point.

    "It's a collaboration with any and all of the groups and people who are interested in developing this active transportation network," Henson said.

    While the trail system is in proximity of such a large portion of Cincinnati residents, even those living beyond the city limits see major value in it.

    Joe Humpert of Fort Wright in Northern Kentucky commutes almost exclusively by bicycle and attended today's unveiling.

    "I've always enjoyed it because it saves me from having to worry about gas and insurance and paying for parking and finding parking," he said.

    But he said the region would benefit from more trails being connected.

    "I spend a lot of time riding on the road right now," he said.

    The CROWN would connect -- via the Purple People Bridge -- with the also in-progress Riverfront Commons project stretching across Northern Kentucky's riverfront, which also connects with the Licking River Greenway heading south into Kenton County.

    Henson said CROWN expands upon what organizers did with Cincinnati Connects, in that it now incorporates elements of the city's bicycle transportation plan, a 15-year plan first established in 2010, but one that hasn't gotten as much traction as advocates initially hoped.

    "It has taken the Cincinnati Connects plan with elements of the bicycle transportation plan," Henson said. "I believe it's going to create a vibrant active transportation network."

    Those elements include things like the Central Parkway protected bike lane, other striped bike lanes, and shared-use traffic lanes that boast "sharrows" -- that is, painted arrows indicating frequent bike traffic sharing the road along the route.

    The initial trail design came from 15 months of technical work and planning, looping representatives from the city administration, Queen City Bike, Great Parks of Hamilton County, the Cincinnati Park Board, the Cincinnati Health Department, OKI Regional Council of Governments and Interact for Health, among others.

    Folding in the city's bike lanes added more connectivity to the plan, Henson said, especially to the region's more central neighborhoods.

    "It became apparent that having a circular route around the city really didn't get people into the core of our community," he said. "It touches all the edges, but in order to get people beyond that, we looked and saw these various connectors."

    Henson calls it a "braided network."

    "Just like the word means, you have interconnected, weaving connectors that allow people to get more places," he said.

    The only missing piece is how organizers plan to pay for the necessary connector trails, which-- including remaining work on the major trails -- would total around $45 million.

    "We're not sure how it'll get paid for yet," Henson said.

    Funding possibilities primarily include state and federal grants, including those like the federal Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality grant, from which two of the major trails have already received funding in recent years.


  • June 30, 2017 1:50 PM | Anonymous member

    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.

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