The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is excited to announce a new partnership with Green BEAN Delivery, a company that delivers organic produce and natural groceries to Midwest homes and workplaces. Green BEAN Delivery is leasing 50 acres of the Cincinnati Zoo’s 528 acre property, EcOhio, located in Warren County, where it will harvest fresh, local foods that will be distributed to families throughout Greater Cincinnati.
“The Cincinnati Zoo values partnerships that promote enterprise within our community,” said Mark Fisher, Senior Director of Facilities and Operations at the Cincinnati Zoo. “So, managing our farm in a way that is consistent with our mission and meets our goals in partnership is very satisfying.”
Green BEAN Delivery planted a variety of commodities on the 50 acre EcOhio Farm LLC this summer, which have been harvested and sold through various local outlets. The company has already begun working on its agricultural strategies for year two, and will have the land certified organic by the USDA in the spring of 2014. While the majority of the crops, such as cabbage, squash, broccoli and pumpkins, will be available for purchase by Green BEAN Delivery customers, some of it will be harvested and donated to local charities, including a new farmer’s market in the heart of Avondale, near the Zoo, Gabriel’s Place, sold to local retail outlets and ultimately used to feed Zoo animals.
Over the last five years, the Zoo’s commitment to sustainability has been at the forefront of every decision. As the Greenest Zoo in America, the Zoo sees this partnership as another way to not only decrease its ecological footprint, but build a sustainable local food system for the community, making its green efforts more tangible for everyone involved. This new, sustainable ecosystem will possess multiple facets of agriculture and serve as an educational platform for community members to enjoy for many generations to come.
In addition to the farmland that Green BEAN Delivery is leasing, the company has also added 10 bee hives on the property, which will be utilized in the pollination of the crops. In the future, the Zoo and Green BEAN Delivery also intend for the farm to be used as an educational resource for local youth, where they can experience agriculture firsthand. The farm was willed to the Zoo in 1995 from Dallas Boyer.
“Education about the management of biologically based farming systems helps people understand how responsible farming practices are critical to saving wildlife and conserving wild places,” said Matt Ewer, president and co-founder of Green BEAN Delivery. “Our partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo will help the community better understand the connection between the food on their plates and its impact on the environment.”
For more information on Green BEAN Delivery, visit http://www.GreenBEANDelivery.com. To learn more about the Cincinnati Zoo’s Green Initiative, visit http://cincinnatizoo.org/conservation/go-green/green-initiative/.