Green Umbrella advancing environmental sustainability goals

In a continuance of their efforts to advance environmental sustainability goals in the region, Green Umbrella recently announced two new funding opportunities designed to advance sustainability goals related to local food, food waste reduction, fresh food access, and energy-efficiency.

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.

The EPA and USDA have set joint national goals for 50% food waste reduction by 2030. The Greater Cincinnati Food Waste Action Plan was finalized in 2017, and the campaign was officially launched for Cincinnati to assist in the reduction of food waste on a local, regional, and national level.

Totaling $125,000, two funding opportunities are available to Green Umbrella members that are part of the local food system: the Cincy Save the Food Fund and the Energy-Efficient Refrigeration for Local Food System.

Cincy Save the Food Fund, totaling $50,000, is designed as an incentive for local food organizations and businesses to develop innovative and realistic food recovery efforts. The EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills each day than any other trash item. According to the 2016 ReFED Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste, 40% of all food is wasted, which translates to the U.S. spending “over $218 billion … growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten … totaling roughly 63 million tons of annual waste.” At least four groups will be funded in this effort. One of the key solutions, according to the Food Waste Action Plan, in reducing food waste in the area is to track it and determine how to minimize when and how food is being wasted and the dollar value behind it. In finding ways to scale down on the amount of food waste in the area, groups can also combat what Green Umbrella refers to as food insecurity, or local hunger. This fund targets members of the local food systems between Southwest Ohio, Southeast Indiana, and Northern Kentucky.  

Energy-Efficient Refrigeration for Local Food System, totaling $75,000, will be distributed to at least five groups. This funding opportunity is designed with refrigeration infrastructure in mind. Being able to distribute locally grown food/product on a wider scale, reducing the food waste from improper refrigeration infrastructure, and reducing operating costs all contribute to the eco—friendly nature behind reduction in food waste and conserving energy. This funding advances Green Umbrella goals for 2020 including doubling production of food and vegetables grown locally, reducing waste in landfills by 33 percent, and reducing energy consumption by 15 percent. With this particular fund, Green Umbrella is targeting Southwest Ohio companies that were Duke Energy rate payers between 2005 and 2008.

Several funders have entrusted Green Umbrella in this effort to reduce food waste and conserve energy in the local food system, 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.

Applications are due January 26, 2018 and more information can be found at

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Read more articles by Erin Pierce.

Erin Pierce is a contributing writer for Soapbox, and a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University.