Green Umbrella in the News

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

    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

    Learn more about Clifton Market at, 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:

    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, 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 | 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.

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