5 ways a court settlement is really going to help the hungry

Suzy DeYoung and her team at LaSoupe

Suzy DeYoung and her team at LaSoupe

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.


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