Category: News

03 Oct 2022
greenacres employees planting in gardens

Metabolomics Research Project

greenacres employees planting in gardens

Researchers exploring the impact of regenerative farming systems on food quality and human health

As new data has come out suggesting that plant-based meat substitutes are worse for gut-health, our research team has been busy conducting ground-breaking nutritional research with Utah State University in the hopes of better understanding the connections between farming practices, diet, and human health. The team is specifically focusing on an area of nutrition known as food metabolomics, which is the study of metabolites.

Metabolites are endogenous compounds such as amino acids, lipids, sugars, organic acids, etc., found within an organism. These compounds can transfer from soil to plants and also to the animals that eat these plants. Until now, there has been limited research into what then transfers to the human consumers of these various products. With this research we are hoping to gain new insight into the quantities of metabolites that are able to transfer during each phase, and the effect different farming practices have on this amount. It will provide evidence as to how agro-ecological farming practices directly affect human health.

Our researchers are collaborating with Utah State’s Dr. Stephan Van Vliet who has done previous research on metabolites. His early work has indicated that agro-ecological farming practices do increase health-promoting phytochemicals in meat. Now, we want to know if these phytochemicals transfer to humans through meat, produce, and dairy and if they help promote overall health.

researchers collecting soil samples in gardens

“Regenerative farming has potential benefits for soil health and biodiversity above and below ground. Despite promising environmental benefits, it is currently not known if producing food regeneratively also has a benefit for consumers. We hope to find how regenerative vs. conventional farming systems impact the nutrient density of food and biomarkers of human health. This work uses a novel metabolomics analysis to look at 500 compounds in foods and their potential transfer to human metabolism; an approach best described as being from farm to table to us.”

Dr. Stephan Van Vliet, Utah State University

During this two-year study, a registered dietitian has come up with a 7-week meal plan for the participants. These participants are moderately healthy adults between the ages of 30-60. For nearly two months, participants are fed foods produced using regenerative farming methods, including meat, eggs, and produce grown at Greenacres that the team ships out weekly. The participants are then fed the same 7-week meal plan, but with ingredients that come from conventional farming practices. During both phases of the diet, markers of  inflammation, oxidative stress, gut microbial diversity, and circulating metabolomes are monitored and compared.

“Despite potential major ecological benefits, we lack critical knowledge regarding the benefits of food consumed from regenerative farming systems to human health. To address this question, Greenacres Foundation is partnering with Dr. Stephan Van Vliet and Utah State University to investigate the impact that agricultural production practices have on crop and animal nutrients and ultimately the health of humans.” 

Jennifer Mansfield, Greenacres Research Specialist

chicken in mobile coop

We are also providing the Utah State team with soil, forage, and fecal samples to better understand how the nutrients transfer from soil to forage to animal to human.

For questions about this research please send inquiries to

13 Sep 2022
school bus in front of arts center

Discover Together – Fall 2022

school bus in front of arts center

Discover Together – Fall 2022

Welcome Back!

We have enjoyed welcoming you and your students back to Greenacres for another adventure-filled year! It has been great seeing old and new friends participate in programming throughout the fall. We are excited to begin publishing “Learning Together”, a newsletter focused on education programs at Greenacres. Two-to-three times a year, we will highlight new opportunities for visiting schools, introduce our educators and highlight any important changes to our education programming. We hope this gives you another way to interact and stay up-to-date with Greenacres. We look forward to continue serving you and your students.

If you haven’t browsed our available programming lately, we encourage you to check it out. You can find a full list at

Students out on an early fall adventure.
Students out on an early fall adventure.

Meet Scott Wingate, Director of Education

Introducing our new Director of Education, Scott Wingate. Scott has been involved with Cincinnati non-profits and their education initiatives for most of his career. He spent time at the Cincinnati Zoo before becoming the Executive Director of the Newport Aquarium’s WAVE Foundation. He is excited to join our team and looks forward to continuing to grow Greenacres education programs. 

“I am excited to start the role of Director of Education at Greenacres as it combines my passion for conservation, nature and affinity for educating our community!  I look forward to collaborating with our community leaders to develop innovative education programs that are engaging, impactful and ensure students are meeting the requirements of their schools while developing a sense of wonder for our natural world!”

Scott Wingate, Greenacres Director of Education

Have you visited the Arts Center?

When you visit the Greenacres Arts Center for a field trip, your experience will be enhanced by learning from a group of teaching artists, who are active participants in the arts world. Each member of the Arts Education team is excited about the work they do, the communities in which they are involved, and are eager to share their love for music, visual arts, and theater experiences with visiting classes throughout the year. 

A great field trip destination year round

The Arts Center offers access to art galleries, art studios, and performance spaces while maintaining its historical integrity. In addition to the facility itself, the grounds present curated gardens, water features, and courtyards, which are regularly used in programming. Just steps away is working farmland, an inspiring greenhouse, and extensive woodlands with trails and creek access. The diverse facilities provide truly unique, hands-on learning experiences.

Arts programming occurs both indoors and outdoors, allowing versatile settings to explore each season. For example, the seasonal changes brought by autumn inspires students’ creativity through new sound and color palettes. Music, visual arts, and theater opportunities are explored equally in nature and in the Arts Center. Greenacres arts programming provides different avenues for students to connect with the arts in a new environment.

Arts Programming from a Unique Perspective

Arts programming draws inspiration from our founders, Louis and Louise Nippert. Louis Nippert was a farmer and outdoorsman, while Louise Nippert was a performer and supporter of the arts. Their collective interests have created a convergence between the natural sciences and the arts at Greenacres which gives our programs a unique feel not found anywhere else.

Our Arts Education team values and upholds Greenacres’s mission “to encourage appreciation of music and culture by providing facilities and an atmosphere that will encourage artists to display their talents for all age groups”. Their diverse skill sets allow for customizable learning experiences in one or more of the following disciplines: theater, music, visual arts, and art gallery experiences. This program model encourages lifelong participation in and appreciation of the arts. In all of our programs, we value:

  • Experiential learning that places a strong focus on the creative process over the final product.
  • Opportunities to use artist quality materials and materials made from the natural world. 
  • Honoring the creativity and individuality of each learner.
  • The importance of both collaboration and self expression.
  • Using the assets around us to ground programming in the history of the arts.
Students enjoy a beautiful Spring day at the Arts Center.

We recognize schools’ interests to integrate state and national standards from a variety of subjects, including science, math, social studies, and language arts. Problem solving, experimentation, and critical thinking drive our arts-centric learning. Examples include:

  • Arts in the Natural World Program Series: This brand new series explores the intersections between art and the environment. Different subjects will be offered to different grade levels to ensure fresh content every visit. For example, one visit might take you on a hike to the creek to process natural clay into an artistic medium, while the next visit may include learning how to make paints made from plants or composing musical soundscapes by listening to the sounds of nature.
  • Patterns and Energy: Students use critical thinking skills, develop hypotheses, and experiment with patterns and energy through drumming, painting, drawing, and movement activities.
  • Cincinnati’s Stories: This program is grounded in the Queen City’s rich history and connection to the arts and culture. Whether it is examining the Arts Center’s collection of Rookwood pottery, listening to music created in Cincinnati, or diving into our city’s heritage, this program is not one to miss!

    What can Visiting Students Expect?

    We want your visit to the Arts Center to be fun, engaging, and enriching! Throughout your visit, you will uncover the various phases of the Arts Center’s history. The Arts Center was originally built as a Norman style residence in the 1920s and was restored and transformed into the Arts Center. By visiting the Arts Center, you contribute to this chapter of our history–told through the perspective of the visual, performing, and musical arts. During programming, you can expect:

    • Hands-on learning and active opportunities to experiment with new artistic concepts.
    • A chance to explore architecture, gardens, farmland, and woodlands.
    • To engage with artworks throughout the building, including contemporary works of art, art created by local artists, and historical works of art such as Rookwood pottery.

    We hope to see you and your students for arts programming soon! To book a field trip at the Arts Center or any of our field trip destinations, please visit: 

    Administrative Meeting Spaces Available

    Is your faculty looking for offsite meeting space? Greenacres can host your school’s administrative meetings at no cost to your organization. Whether you are planning a professional development seminar, conducting leadership training, or have planned a strategic planning meeting, Greenacres is happy to welcome you and your team to our property. Our facilities offer large meeting spaces equipped with the latest technology. Your attendees will feel inspired after being treated to stunning views and learning how Greenacres can help with their educational objectives. If you are interested in this for your faculty, please reach out to

    08 Sep 2022
    two researchers collecting soil samples

    Regenerative Agriculture Grants

    two researchers collecting soil samples

    Agriculture Research Grants Available

    Supporting Regenerative Farming

    A Cincinnati based non-profit, Greenacres Foundation, is awarding up to $400,000 in grants for research focused on Regenerative Agriculture. Regenerative practices can lead to positive outcomes for soil, land, water, climate, and farmer welfare. With climate change and food security dominating headlines, the interest in regenerative practices is growing. Greenacres hopes to facilitate more research to support this burgeoning industry.

    two researchers collecting soil samples

    “Regenerative agriculture is gaining traction as a solution to nourishing a growing population while having a positive impact on our climate and water.  Currently, the traction is outpacing the science, often due to the lack of funding.  To drive the adoption of regenerative practices in agriculture, we need to continue to fill knowledge gaps through research.  I am thrilled to work for an organization that has committed to funding research in this area which in turn will provide insights into the benefits of regenerative farming practices.”

    Chad Bitler, Greenacres Research Director

    Greenacres would like proposals that seek specific outcomes of regenerative practices, including:

      • Advancing the understanding of ecosystem processes occurring in regenerative systems.
      • Improving soil health using agro-ecological principles
      • Improving resilience of agricultural lands.
      • Understanding perennial/pasture-based food production systems.
      • Integrating livestock into cropping systems.
      • Understanding the impact of production practices on the nutrient density of food

      Qualified organizations have through September 30th to submit their proposals to be considered for this year’s grant cycle. For more information please visit, or email

      25 Aug 2022

      Summer 2022 Update

      Summer 2022

      An Evening of Hope for Ukraine

      In late July, Greenacres hosted An Evening of Hope for Ukraine. Thank you to our guests, sponsors, donors, and volunteers for making it such a memorable and impactful evening! With everyone’s generous support, Greenacres was able to exceed our fundraising goal of $250,000, raising close to $300,000. All funds raised for the event were donated to Matthew 25 Ministries for their immediate and organized humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine. To learn more and support Matthew 25 Ministries’ efforts to provide relief to the people of Ukraine, please visit their website.

      What is Ley Farming?

      Healthy produce starts with healthy soil. As vegetables grow, nutrients are transferred from the ground and absorbed into the plant. With each harvest, we are removing those nutrients in the form of vegetables, and the soil becomes less nutrient-dense. Without a way to replace these nutrients, the ground would eventually be depleted of all of its life supporting properties. So how does Greenacres add nutrients back into the soil for the next harvest without relying on man-made chemical inputs like fertilizers? Enter Ley farming; an ancient solution that allows us to generate all the fertility we need!

      Before chemical inputs such as fertilizer or pesticide were available, farmers focused on building soil using slow, holistic methods. One of these methods was something called Ley farming, which is a pre-industrial agricultural practice in which a field is rested and grazed by animals for a period of time with the intention of building fertility through roots and animal impact. In this system fields were put into grasses and grazed with livestock. This process was meant to closely resemble the way soil was built in the plains and was sometimes used as a primary fertility system before industrialization. Unfortunately, Ley farming fell out of practice once synthetic fertilizers became widely available, leading to the expansion of monocrop commodity agriculture we commonly see today.

      Today in our Ley Field, Greenacres is taking these pre-industrial practices and adding modern farming principles. Our 4-acre plot is divided into four quadrants. Two of the plots are dedicated to growing consumables, and the other two are grazing crops for livestock. Every year, one quadrant is rotated from vegetable production to grazing pasture and one vegetable quadrant is moved back into grazing. Our Garden Manager, Ian Zeglin, informs us, “we use our own compost and woodchips for weed-suppression, but no outside inputs are used in our Ley field. No fertilizer of any kind has ever been used in that field. Through cover crops and animal impact we have been able to use nature-based systems to build soil fertility for our intensive vegetable production.”. Much of our Farm Store produce comes from our Ley Field – including flowers, melons, cabbage, and more!

      farmers planting young pepper crops in Ley field

      “We use our own compost and woodchips for weed-suppression, but no outside inputs are used in our Ley field. No fertilizer of any kind has ever been used in that field. Through cover crops and animal impact we have been able to use nature-based systems to build soil fertility for our intensive vegetable production.

      -Ian Zeglin, Garden Manager

      Michaela Farm

      The staff at Michaela Farm has been hard at work expanding production and getting new gardens set up. On the St. Mary’s side of the farm, a new 8-foot tall deer fence was installed. With the completion of this new deer fence, the Garden team was able to get some of our fall and winter produce planted, as well as some cover crops to keep our soil healthy. Plans for a new educational facility are coming together and we are eager to break ground soon!

      Summer in the Greenacres Michaela Farm Store means there is an abundance of herbs, pickling cucumbers, green cabbage, sweet onions, leeks, and potatoes. If you find yourself in Oldenburg, IN, make sure to stop by and pick up some fresh veggies!

      two farmers walking through field with garden on their left

      Exploring with Grace

      In addition to our summer camp participants, Greenacres welcomed more than 200 children from local recreation centers, libraries, and other nonprofits who serve under-resourced areas to our education sites. These visits were made possible through The Exploring with Grace Fund which honors the memory of Grace Lewis. Grace loved the outdoors, animals and the wood and farm lands of Greenacres. This fund helps share her passion with other children. Through an environmental, agricultural and artistic lens, these guests were empowered individually while learning to be stewards of the environment.

      Chaperones who attended the programs with their groups were thrilled with the opportunity. After experiencing Greenacres, one group coordinator said the group was, “extremely impressed with everything about the field trip! From the very welcoming greetings and send offs, to the ease at which the staff interacted with the children; the group management techniques, subject matter and activities. It was AWESOME!”. If you know an eligible group who may be interested, please contact Katie Brown at or 513-898-3262.

      instructors lead group of children through pasture

      “I try hard to schedule summer activities that involve nature, animals, and opportunities to learn how to support and learn about
      the Earth. I was extremely impressed with everything about the field trip! From the very welcoming greetings and send offs, to the ease at which the staff interacted with the children; the group management techniques, subject matter and activities. It was AWESOME!

      -Salvation Army Learning Center representative

      Summer Farm Tour

      Our Farm Tour on July 9th was a huge success! Greenacres CSA members and volunteers learned about our farming methods and got a chance to observe them up close. We welcomed 80+ guests, who were very impressed with the program. They got to learn first hand about our compost facility, Ley field farming techniques, our research work, and our livestock practices. The feedback received was very complimentary and everyone in attendance would like to attend similar events in the future to learn more about Greenacres. We look forward to organizing more events like our Farm Tour soon. 

      adult visitors standing outside near garden, talking to farmer

      Music in the Meadow

      On August 4th, we hosted Music in the Meadow at Greenacres Lewis Township.  John Morris Russell led the Cincinnati Pops in a long awaited return to Brown County, entertaining our guests through A Night at The Movies including scores from Harry Potter and E.T.  The performance was great! Added to the Pops music was the background of birds and bugs as the flora and fauna of Greenacres Lewis Township chimed in. There are few places where you can have an experience like that!

      Thank you to all who participated in preparing the site and the event. It was a great success and as one attendee said – “ I cannot believe that the real CSO is playing in Brown County – amazing – thank you!”.

      John Morris Russel talking to concert audience

      “I cannot believe that the real CSO is playing in Brown County – amazing – thank you!

      -Concert Attendee, at Music in the Meadow


      Throughout the summer, our research team has been sending weekly shipments of our produce and meats to our research partners at Utah State University. We are both funding and participating in an exciting metabolomics research project, led by Dr. Van Vliet, in which we hope to better understand the connection between farming practices, diet, and human health. Metabolomics are the scientific study of metabolites, which are endogenous compounds such as amino acids, lipids, sugars, organic acids, etc., within an organism.

      Dr. Van Vliet is dedicated to studying how agro-ecological farming practices, like those used at Greenacres, affect nutrition and human health. His previous work has indicated that agro-ecological farming practices do increase health-promoting phytochemicals in meat. Now we want to know if these phytochemicals transfer to humans and help promote overall health.

      In this two-year study, participants who are moderately healthy adults between the ages of 30-60, are fed an agro-ecological diet, including Greenacres produce and meats, for 6 weeks. This is then compared to those same participant’s 6-week conventional diet, monitoring for markers on inflammation, oxidative stress, gut microbial diversity and circulating metabolomes. Greenacres is also providing Dr. Van Vliet with soil, forage, and animal fecal samples to better understand how the nutrients transfer from soil to forage to meat to human. Greenacres is delighted to continue our long-term partnership with Dr. Van Vliet and Utah State University as we eagerly await the study’s preliminary data.

      two researchers collecting soil samples in gardens
      Greenacres Research team collects soil samples from our Indian Hill gardens to send to Dr. van Vleet at the Utah State University, along with Greenacres produce and meat, for the metabolomics research project.