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Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit “Imagine What’s Possible”

A few Hartwell neighbors attended the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit on May 12, 2023 at the Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH. The theme of the summit was "Imagine What’s Possible”. This is a report about the summit and some helpful links for making Cincinnati and our neighborhood more sustainable.

About MRSS

The Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit brings together hundreds of passionate and visionary leaders to share inspiring, forward-thinking, and solution-oriented ideas that propel us toward a healthier, more resilient, sustainable, and equitable future. Join Fortune 500 powerhouses, innovative entrepreneurs, government officials, sustainability directors, academic, non-profit and community leaders, and passionate residents committed to solving some of the region’s toughest environmental problems while creating a positive economic impact.

2023 Theme

This year’s theme of “Imagine What’s Possible” invites us to come together in collective hope and renewed resilience amidst the climate crisis. We hope this conference can be a spark for connecting, learning together, deepening our resolve, and joyously finding our places in the mighty “we” rising to secure a just and livable future.

As a passionate gardener and resident of Hartwell, my focus is on “greening” up and beautifying Harwell for the benefit of our environment and aesthetic appeal. My goal in attending was to discover what climate and environmental programs and organizations are in Cincinnati, and where funding opportunities might be for Hartwell.

According to the City of Cincinnati Urban Tree Report, Hartwell’s average temperature is 86.2% (2020) and per Cincinnati’s Climate Equity Evaluation states that “The neighborhood has ~16.9 % tree canopy cover (ranked 30th of all communities assessed) and 2.1% of land in parks and greenspaces (ranked 47th of all communities assessed).” Our risk for toxic pollutants and traffic also range from “high” to “extremely high”. Adding trees and pollinating plants will help absorb toxins in the air, lower the temperature, sustain and encourage beneficial insects, and make our community more beautiful and appealing to residents and visitors.

Here are contacts for potential ideas and support in many areas of sustainability including food scrap drop off sites, recycling and greening up Cincinnati:

Green Umbrella Organization which serves as the regional sustainability alliance of Greater Cincinnati, with hundreds of member organizations and individuals passionate about enhancing the environmental health and vitality of our region.

The Common Orchard Project works to install and maintain hundreds of small orchard plantings across Greater Cincinnati and grows “commonly held” resources by educating communities on fresh food and urban land management.

These common orchards provide increased food access, tree canopy, walkable greenspace and community building in neighborhoods that have experienced disinvestment.

The Regional Climate Policy Impact at Green Umbrella manages the Greater Cincinnati Regional Climate Collaborative (RCC). The RCC serves as a network for public agencies to better understand regional climate impacts on their communities and advance adaptation and mitigation solutions. The RCC facilitates peer sharing, highlights best practices among local governments, develops opportunities for regional collaboration and program implementation, and helps secure funding and technical assistance. Network partners include academia, business and community leaders, and non-profit organizations.

Cincinnati Recycling and Reuse Hub (CRRH, or the Hub) reduces the amount of waste going to landfills through a one-stop drop-off location where they accept items and materials that are recyclable and reusable, even some that are not permitted in traditional recycling bins.

Hamilton County R3source aims to reduce reliance on landfills through waste reduction, reuse, and recycling programs. To accomplish this mission, Hamilton County R3Source works closely with communities, schools, businesses, and institutions to provide technical assistance, education, and tools designed to reduce waste and capture valuable resources through recycling and composting.

Here is a list of food scrap drop off sites for composting and reducing landfill waste.

Tristate Trails is an alliance of community advocates advancing a vision to connect and expand our region’s trail and bikeway network. We believe walking and biking should be safe, accessible and convenient for everyone. By connecting our communities, we’re making Greater Cincinnati a more vibrant place to live, work and play.

The Cincinnati Gardening Collective facilitators bring (from their owned lived experiences) examples of how to’s for safe guerrilla gardening / seeding native species in abandoned urban landscapes and de-capitalizing lawns, creating food is free communities through care, free food mapping/sharing, and seed saving, sharing, and starting.

Society of St. Andrew Through the Ohio Gleaning Network, The Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) coordinates volunteers in many areas of the state who enter farm fields after the commercial harvest and simply pick up the tons of good, edible produce left behind. SoSA volunteers represent groups from various church denominations, synagogues, youth groups, other civic organizations, individuals, and inner-city residents.

Last Mile Food Rescue is a volunteer organization and app. Last Mile is a Greater Cincinnati food rescue organization on a mission to save good food and get it to those who need it most.

Wave Pool Gallery Wave Pool Creates Community Fulfillment Through Artistic Opportunities.

The space includes an art gallery, studios, artist residency program, wood shop, ceramics studio, and community gathering space.

Gorman Heritage Farms, Green Acres Farm and Civic Garden Center are places to volunteer, purchase produce, or take classes on gardening, cooking, animal husbandry and crafts.

Submitted by: Margot Madison


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