Author: Leonore Salvado

07 Mar 2023
Snow-covered large Greenhouse with pond in front.

Winter 2023 Update

Winter 2023 Update

Improving Garden Production with Caterpillar Tunnels

Our garden team is excited to have nine operational caterpillar tunnels. These plastic tunnels are designed to extend our growth and harvest season by protecting crops from wind and weather. Our Manager of Garden Operations, Ian Zeglin tells us that, “these tunnels allow us to get our crops outside earlier in the spring and to keep our crops longer in the ground throughout fall.”

In the winter, the tunnels provide protection from the wind and cold-weather elements. Although we have several varieties of cold-hardy crops that are able to survive Ohio winters, the tunnels allow these plants to thrive in a harvestable manner. In the summer, the tunnels are then used for warm weather crops such as tomatoes and peppers. These crops love heat and the tunnels help provide a warm environment in which they can thrive. The tunnels also help keep leaves dry so that we don’t get diseases like late blight. Ian Zeglin also mentions that “with their light-weight and compact design, these tunnels can easily be moved and utilized all over the farm!”.

These tunnels allow us to get our crops outside earlier in the spring and to keep our crops longer in the ground throughout fall. And, with their light-weight and compact design, these tunnels can easily be moved and utilized all over the farm!

-Ian Zeglin, Manager of Garden Operations

What's New at Michaela Farm?

Indian Hill isn’t the only campus with new high tunnels. Our garden crew at Michaela Farm is also adding them to the St. Mary’s Road gardens. In addition to vegetable production improvements, we are gradually reintroducing more livestock back to the farm. Last month, we added a mobile coop to the property, along with a flock of 150 laying hens and two roosters which means eggs have returned to the store! Mobile coops benefit the pasture as the manure fertilizes the ground and the chickens eat insects and break up the soil with their scratching. You can click here to see a video tour of the coops we use and learn more about our egg production practices. 

We are looking forward to more vegetables year round at Greenacres Michaela Farm!

-Jules Brookbank, Garden Site Supervisor

Turning Geography into Data

Geographic information systems (GIS) is a way to combine data and maps to reveal new insights. The research department recently begun using GIS to broaden its capabilities through experiment site planning, mobile data collection, and data modeling. “Maps and GIS allow us to quickly get a snapshot of the land, using a combination of field-collected and remotely-sensed data. With a better understanding of our properties, our researchers and land managers can more effectively achieve their goals,” says Research Assistant, Luke Weyer.

One use of GIS is the detection of Amur honeysuckle via satellite. Amur honeysuckle and other invasive shrubs were removed at Greenacres starting in 2017. Amur honeysuckle maintains a competitive advantage over native plants by keeping green leaves and photosynthesizing after most native trees/shrubs have lost their leaves. Because of this, satellite imagery from November can “see through” the bare canopy and distinguish green honeysuckle leaves from the surrounding dormant vegetation.

As with all models, the data presented by GIS should not be immediately accepted as fact; there will be sources of error. These maps can, however, be used as a starting point to notice broad patterns (like the overall success of the removal), indicate areas on property where honeysuckle presence needs to be confirmed/rejected, and identify where honeysuckle is most likely to re-enter the property.

Above is the output map of that analysis, modeling where honeysuckle (yellow) may be present. Notice the lack of honeysuckle present on Greenacres’ property in comparison to surrounding areas, especially along the right edge of the property.

“Maps and GIS allow us to get quickly get a snapshot of the land, using a combination of field-collected and remotely-sensed data. With a better understanding of our properties, our researchers and land managers can more effectively achieve their goals.”

-Luke Weyer, Research Assistant 

Electric Lawn Mowers

After a year long trial of electric automatic lawn mowers, Greenacres has purchased an additional six. These electric mowers are quieter, safer, and require less maintenance than traditional lawn mowers, making them a great fit for our “green” initiatives. Our goal is that they outlive our older-model lawn equipment to prove their sustainability. Our Buildings and Grounds Director, Alex Saurber informs us, “after several months of research, we are very excited to move forward with the additional automatic mowers. With these new mowers at work, it frees up a lot of time for our estate crew to start new projects, including ‘green’ ones. We are proud to be taking steps towards a greener future and look forward to reduced emissions when maintaining our lawns.”

“After several months of research, we are very excited to move forward with the additional automatic mowers. With these new mowers at work, it frees up a lot of time for our estate crew to start new projects, including ‘green’ ones. We are proud to be taking steps towards a greener future and look forward to reduced emissions when maintaining our lawns.

-Alex Saurber, Director of Buildings and Grounds 

Maple Syrup Production at Greenacres

Did you know North America is the only place in the world where maple syrup is produced?  In fact, the majority of maple syrup comes from Canada. However, there are twelve maple-producing states in the US, and Ohio is ranked in the Top Five. In southern Ohio, sap begins to flow in late January or early February. The best production happens when the temperatures reach over 40F during the day and below 32F during the nights.

We tap sugar maple trees as this species has the highest sugar content of all maple species. It requires over 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of pure maple syrup!  Each maple season, students visit Greenacres to experience the entire maple syrup process through our field trip programming.  This year we shared the joy of maple syrup production in our new Sugar Shack at our Old Church site. This is where we begin the process of evaporating and producing maple syrup from the sap we collected in our “sugar bush.”

A group of children gathering outside a wooden maple sugar shake

Preserving Herbs Through Dehydration

Dried herbs are a great way to add flavor to your cooking, especially when fresh options are not available. Drying preserves the flavor of the herbs, reducing waste and maximizing the yield of our plants during the growing season. We were able to introduce these to our customers thanks to the efforts of our Garden Apprentice, Abby McGuire. Garden apprentices are required to select a project for personal development and Abby selected dried herb production. We’re very proud of what she accomplished!  

We grow a vareity of herbs, like sage, thyme, lavender and chamomile. The plants are packed with oils and flavors and are harvested by the garden team early in the day alongside our vegetables. Post-harvest care varies based on the characteristics of each herb. Some herbs like sage and rosemary benefit from the leaves being removed from the stem before drying, while thyme is small and tender, better suited to dry with the leaves on the stem, and then stripped after drying.

We worked with the Health Department to develop kitchen protocols to ensure food safe practices are followed during the dehydration and packaging process. It can take anywhere from 8-12 hours to create a finished product depending on the variety of the herb being dehydrated. Herbs that are woody, like rosemary, take longer to dry fully than delicate herbs like basil and dill. Once dry, the herbs are carefully weighed and packaged into individual packets, heat sealed, and labeled. We are excited to bring these little glimpses of summertime freshness into the Farm Store!

Dried Herbs in Brown Packaging (Dill and Rosemary)

“We want to ensure our plants are healthy before we harvest, to guarantee a quality product and allow the plant to regenerate for the future.”

Abby McGuire, Garden Apprentice

Winter Equine Program

The 2023 Spring Session is full. We still have an active waitlist, so if you are interested in enrolling your children in the lesson program we invite you to join our waitlist. We enroll riders between the ages of 8-18. 

School Horse Spotlight

Sol is a 24 year old warmblood and has been a Greenacres school horse since 2012. Sol is a jack of all trades in our lesson program. He is quiet enough to teach the beginners how to walk and trot, but he can also teach riders how to jump. During show season, Sol enjoys traveling to horse shows with our Pony Club members. When Sol is not teaching lessons or traveling to horse shows, you will find him hanging out with his best friend Quest during turnout.

Horse cantering through pasture with rider at competition
17 Feb 2023

Arts and Agriculture Come Together in New Documentary Film

Arts and agriculture
Come together in new documentary film

Produced by Interlochen Arts Academy and Greenacres Foundation, the film will showcase the power of generative farming practices and its connection with human nutrition and the environment.

Greenacres Foundation and Interlochen Center for the Arts are proud to announce their partnership on a new film project exploring the impact of generative agriculture. The film will be produced by Interlochen Arts Academy’s Film & New Media students and will feature interviews with farmers and scientists as well as data from agricultural research conducted by Greenacres and its partners.

“It is great to have a partner to bring to life the research we’ve done,” said Greenacres President Carter Randolph, Ph.D. “Partnering with Interlochen Center for the Arts will allow us to reach a wider audience and bring attention to the importance of generative agriculture through impactful storytelling. There are so many truths in the research and science and it’s time to make it available in a format that resonates with consumers.”

It is great to have a partner to bring to life the research we’ve done. Partnering with Interlochen Center for the Arts will allow us to reach a wider audience and bring attention to the importance of generative agriculture through impactful storytelling. There are so many truths in the research and science and it’s time to make it available in a format that resonates with consumers.”

Carter Randolph, Ph.D., Greenacres President

Interlochen Film and New Media students will do just that.

“The film aspires to tell a human, accessible story that will emotionally connect with, inspire and educate audiences, empowering them with knowledge to act,” said Interlochen Center for the Arts Director of Film and New Media Michael Mittelstaedt. “Our students will be integral to the creation of this film under the guidance of our faculty and resident artists. Their voice is an important one in these issues and this will be one of the first times their perspective is shared with the world.”

“The film aspires to tell a human, accessible story that will emotionally connect with, inspire and educate audiences, empowering them with knowledge to act. Our students will be integral to the creation of this film under the guidance of our faculty and resident artists. Their voice is an important one in these issues and this will be one of the first times their perspective is shared with the world.”

Michael Mittelstaedt, Interlochen Center for the Arts Director of Film and New Media

As part of the educational experience, Interlochen students will enroll in a new hands-on science class utilizing Interlochen’s on-campus organic farm and the RB Annis Botanical Lab. The class, entitled Biology: Regenerative Agriculture, explores the complexities of regenerative agriculture through the lens of documentary film study.

It’s important for students to understand the philosophy and science behind regenerative agriculture. Students learn on such a deeper level when they actually get to see it in practice and actively participate in the process,” said Interlochen Director of Sustainability Emily Umbarger.

It’s important for students to understand the philosophy and science behind regenerative agriculture. Students learn on such a deeper level when they actually get to see it in practice and actively participate in the process.”

Emily Umbarger, Interlochen Director of Sustainability

“We are thrilled to join with Greenacres Foundation to produce this film and bring broader attention to the critical benefits of regenerative agriculture,” said Interlochen Center for the Arts President Trey Devey. “This partnership provides  unparalleled opportunities  for our students to work across artistic disciplines, engage with professional artists, explore new facets of sustainability, and create meaningful, world-changing art.”

“We are thrilled to join with Greenacres Foundation to produce this film and bring broader attention to the critical benefits of regenerative agriculture. This partnership provides  unparalleled opportunities  for our students to work across artistic disciplines, engage with professional artists, explore new facets of sustainability, and create meaningful, world-changing art.”

Trey Devey, Interlochen Center for Arts President

In 2016, Interlochen’s Board of Trustees adopted a sustainability resolution, pledging to “create an environmentally friendly and sustainable campus” at Interlochen Center for the Arts. In the six years since, the organization has constructed a botanical lab and community garden; initiated campus-wide recycling and composting programs; installed water-saving appliances and restroom fixtures; established sustainability education programs for Interlochen students and members of the local community; and donated thousands of pounds of organic fruits and vegetables to the local food pantry at Redeemer Lutheran Church. In 2019, the United States Department of Education designated Interlochen Center for the Arts a Green Ribbon School in recognition of the organization’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact, improve the health and wellness of its students and staff, and provide effective environmental and sustainability education. Later this year, Interlochen will also release its first-ever formalized climate action plan, which will outline further steps toward mitigating climate change and reducing the institution’s carbon footprint.

The film is set to begin production this fall, with a goal of premiering at national film festivals. It will then be made available to the public through a streaming platform and community screenings.

About Interlochen Center for the Arts

The nonprofit Interlochen Center for the Arts is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the only organization in the world that brings together a 3,000-student summer camp program; a 500-student fine arts boarding high school; opportunities for hundreds of adults to engage in fulfilling artistic and creative programs; two 24-hour listener-supported public radio services (classical music and news); more than 600 arts presentations annually by students, faculty and world-renowned guest artists; and a global alumni base spanning nine decades, including leaders in the arts and all other endeavors. For information, visit Interlochen online at www.interlochen.org.

About Greenacres Foundation

Greenacres Foundation is an Ohio-based nonprofit and underwriter of the project. The foundation’s work focuses on education, conservation and generative agriculture with an emphasis on encouraging appreciation of nature by providing the public, particularly children, opportunities to study plant and animal life in their natural settings. For more information, visit Greenacres online at www.green-acres.org.

22 Dec 2022
small white mushrooms on moss log

Ecology and Environment Research Grants

Greenacres researchers setting up plots to measure invasive species.

Research Grants Available

Supporting Ecology and the Environment

A Cincinnati based non-profit, Greenacres Foundation, is awarding up to $200,000 in grants for research focused on ecology and the environment. The foundation was established in 1988 with the intent of preserving the land for the education and enjoyment of future generations.

small white mushrooms on moss log

Greenacres Foundation seeks proposals for research that addresses one or more of the following outcomes:

    • Improved practices in woodland restoration and/or preservation
    • Improved invasive species mitigation and management
    • Improved forest ecosystem health
    • Improved practices in prairie establishment and prairie ecosystem health

    Qualified organizations have through January 13th, 2023 to submit their letters of intent for this year’s grant cycle.

    Applicants must have an interest in sharing knowledge about what they learn with land owners and land managers. Translational research projects that include both researchers and practitioners will be prioritized. Projects are expected to be completed within 48 months of funding date.

      22 Dec 2022
      Bench in shade next to large tree, with cow pastures in background

      Nippert Legacy Expands Support in 2022

      Bench in shade next to large tree, with cow pastures in background

      Nippert Legacy Expands Support in 2022

      The Nippert charitable endeavors, which include the L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation, the Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, and Greenacres Foundation have collectively donated more than $13 million to grant recipients throughout 2022. Their contributions will support more than 90 nonprofits and research endeavors in 2023 and beyond.

      “The impact of the Nippert legacy on Cincinnati can be felt in everything from medical and social services to the arts and education. The funds and foundations reflect the Nippert’s commitment to supporting worthy causes while honoring interests they held during their lifetimes. They believed in doing the most good and we enjoy carrying on this tradition.”

      Carter Randolph, Greenacres President

      The L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation was established in 1981 to provide grant opportunities for any qualified non-profits located in the Greater Cincinnati region. In 2022 it awarded $4,367,879 in grant money to 69 nonprofits with causes ranging from providing youth services, supporting recycling, hospice care, and so much more.     

      The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund is managed by Greenacres Foundation and was set up to support musical arts initiatives in the area. It is a proud annual supporter of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, and May Festival. In addition to supporting these organizations the Fund provides grant opportunities for non-profits who support local musical arts initiatives. In 2022 it awarded $7,217,160 in grant money to Cincinnati based organizations. 

      “We are thrilled to have our grant selection process completed for the year and looking forward to the recipients receiving their funds before the holidays. These funds make a real difference in the ability of these organizations to tackle the challenges facing our communities.”

      Meredith Leslie, Greenacres Executive Director and board member

      Greenacres Foundation preserves over a thousand acres in the region for the education and enjoyment of school children, families, and adult visitors. In 2022 Greenacres expanded their support of the community by offering new grant opportunities for organizations who focus on researching generative agriculture or ecology and environmental programs. It awarded $503,969 to these research endeavors while continuing its focus on charitable activities providing educational programming to school children. It also is providing four special one-time grants of $400,000 each to the Cincinnati Zoo, Museum Center, Freestore Foodbank, and Easter Seals. 

      “The vast majority of funds available for agriculture research is disproportionately distributed to continue to promote large scale, commodity-driven, food production systems that come with a host of unintended consequences. The commitment that Greenacres has made to funding research in the areas of regenerative agriculture and ecology will potentially have an exponential return on investment through enhanced ecosystem services – leading to improved soil and water quality, beneficial habitats, and healthier consumers.”

      Chad Bitler, Greenacres Research Director

      Nonprofits based in the Greater Cincinnati area can apply for these grants through the L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation and Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund between June 1st and August 1st, while Greenacres research grants are available at various points throughout the year. Visit lnlcharitable.org or green-acres.org for more information.   

      2022 L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation Grant Recipients:

          •       4C For Children
          •       Adventure Crew
          •       American Red Cross
          •       Beech Acres Parenting Center
          •       Beechwood Home
          •       Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butler County
          •       Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati
          •       Brighton Center Inc.
          •       Camp Joy Foundation
          •       Canine Companions
          •       Catholic Innercity Schools Education Fund (CISE)
          •       Center for Respite Care, Inc.
          •       CET Greater Cincinnati Television Educational Foundation
          •       Childhood Food Solutions
          •       Children’s Hunger Alliance
          •       Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati
          •       Cincinnati Art Museum
          •       Cincinnati Eye Institute Foundation
          •       Cincinnati Museum Center
          •       Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
          •       Cincinnati Public Radio (dba 90.9 WGUC, 91.7 WVXU, 88.5 WMUB)
          •       Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub
          •       Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship
          •       Cincinnati Works, Inc.
          •       Cincinnati Youth Collaborative
          •       Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (Zoological Society of Cincinnati)
          •       Clovernook Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired
          •       Crayons to Computers
          •       DePaul Cristo Rey High School
          •       Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati
          •       East End Adult Education Center
          •       Episcopal Retirement Service Affordable Living
          •       Fernside: A Center for Grieving Children
          •       Freestore Foodbank, Inc.
          •       Holistic Management International
          •       Hospice of Cincinnati, Inc.
          •       Inner City Youth Opportunities
          •       Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, Inc.
          •       Ken Anderson Alliance
          •       La Soupe, Inc.
          •       Last Mile Food Rescue
          •       Lighthouse Youth Services, Inc., dba: Lighthouse Youth & Family Services
          •       Little Miami Conservancy
          •       Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (LADD), Inc.
          •       Mill Creek Alliance
          •       Nature Conservancy in Ohio
          •       New Life Furniture, Inc. dba New Life Furniture Bank
          •       Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges, Inc. (OFIC)
          •       Ohio River Foundation
          •       Ohio Valley Voices
          •       OptimALL Services
          •       Our Daily Bread
          •       Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region
          •       Pro Bono Partnership of Ohio
          •       ProKids
          •       Salk Institute for Biological Studies
          •       Salvation Army
          •       Shelterhouse Volunteer Group, dba: Shelterhouse
          •       St. Rita School for the Deaf
          •       St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy
          •       Stepping Stones Inc.
          •       Taft Museum of Art
          •       Talbert House
          •       Teach For America Southwest Ohio
          •       The Healing Center
          •       University of the Cumberlands
          •       WAVE Foundation, Inc.
          •       Women Helping Women
          •       YWCA Greater Cincinnati

      2022 Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund Grant Recipients:

          •       Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
          •       Cincinnati Ballet
          •       Cincinnati Opera
          •       The May Festival
          •       Cincinnati Boychoir Inc.
          •       School House Symphony
          •       Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati
          •       4-Way String Quartet LLC
          •       Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony Orchestra
          •       Church of our Savior/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador
          •       Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra Inc.
          •       Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble Inc.
          •       Linton Incorporated
          •       St. Thomas Episcopal Church
          •       School for Creative and Performing Arts
          •       Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
          •       Mam-Luft and Company Dance, Inc.
          •       Cincinnati Sound Chapter
          •       Queen City Chamber Opera
          •       Xavier University
          •       Kennedy Heights Art Center
          •       A Mindful Moment