Year: 2022

11 May 2022
pond with tall grasses

Spring 2022 Update

wetland pond with tall grasses

Spring 2022

The Benefits of Multi-Species Grazing (Sheep and Cattle)

This past April, agricultural team members, Michael Cox and Leevi Stump, traveled to Iowa and purchased 50 new ewes. Over the coming months, the new sheep will be integrated with our cattle herd. We are extremely excited about this multi-species grazing approach. Grazing different species together allows for better pasture utilization and can even help decrease undesired plant populations. 

Sheep and cows are selective grazers, but each in a different manner. Sheep enjoy woody shrubs and bushes, while the cattle prefer the lush grass which makes for complete, even grazing of our pastures. When the animals graze together, it also helps deter large predators, like coyotes, from attacking the more vulnerable sheep. Our Agriculture Director, Michael Cox, also tells us that, “the combination of two different species in one pasture can help balance the parasite burden for the animals”.  And, since the two animals have different harvest times, this means we will have a steady meat supply in the farm store!

six sheep and one bull in grass field

“The combination of two different species in one pasture can help balance the parasite burden for the animals.

-Michael Cox, Agriculture Director

Michaela Farm

In addition to hosting a handful of school field trips and clean-up events, Greenacres’ Michaela Farm is having an active gardening season this spring!  We are currently working on a plan that would expand the farm’s production to meet educational needs at this location and better serve our customers. This is an ongoing project that will be coming together over the next few months. If you are in Oldenburg, Indiana and find yourself at Michaela Farm, make sure to stop by the farm store! We currently have fresh produce, eggs, and a wide selection of vegetable, flower, and herb start transplants for your home gardens.

Fresh Finds at the Farm Store

Just in time for our annual Mother’s Day weekend plant sale, our Garden Crew helped to beautify the Greenacres storefront by planting wildlife-attracting landscaping. The team hopes to add additional native and seasonal landscaping throughout the Greenacres properties. Our farm store continues to be filled with beautiful flower bouquets and arrangements, which are available throughout the year. Lilies, ranunculus, anemone and bachelor’s buttons mixed with other seasonal beauties are currently available until the summertime zinnias and sunflowers come along. Our produce selection continues to expand with the warmer weather – we have a large variety of fresh herbs, beets are back, and our customers have been enjoying the asparagus provided by Michaela Farm. As we ramp up for the summer season, keep an eye on our email newsletter and the website to know when your favorite summer veggies come into the Farm Store!

bouquet of flowers

Come See Our Newest Classroom at Lewis Township!

Construction is officially complete for our education facility in Lewis Township! As part of our efforts to be green, we made sure to equip this building with an abundance of green features. A geothermal energy system was installed for heating and cooling. Since the geothermal system only requires electricity to run the heat pump and blower motor, it uses significantly less power and produces fewer carbon emissions than a conventional system (e.g. gas, oil, electric). 

The facility also contains automated solar tubes (or sun tunnels) designed to bring external light into the building. Our Buildings and Grounds Director, Alex Saurber tells us, “by using the sun’s natural light, we are able to reduce the amount of electricity needed to illuminate the building.” He also adds that, “the amount of light that is let in can be adjusted to accommodate for various activities throughout the day.” We are thrilled this new classroom is up and running, and look forward to hosting more field trips and events at this location soon!

 “By using the sun’s natural light, we are able to reduce the amount of electricity needed to illuminate the building. The amount of light that is let in can be adjusted to accommodate for various activities throughout the day.”

-Alex Saurber, Buildings and Grounds Director

tall grasses and wildflowers in front of pond and educational facility

Greenacres Events Coming Soon

Our events team is looking forward to a full calendar of weddings this year but these ceremonies and receptions are not the only events on the radar! On Friday July 8, 2022, we will be hosting the annual Music Under the Stars. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Poptet will be putting on a groovy performance of 70’s favorites at the Arts Center, in the beautiful gardens.

The following week, on Saturday July 16, 2022 Greenacres is organizing a fundraiser, An Evening of Hope for Ukraine.  This event supports humanitarian aid efforts benefitting the people of Ukraine. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Matthew 25: Ministries and will be used exclusively for humanitarian efforts benefitting the people of Ukraine.

Events Director, Kyle Conlon reminds us, “These events sell out quickly! Make sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our email newsletter to be the first to know when tickets go on sale.”

fountain and trees

These events sell out quickly! Make sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our email newsletter to be the first to know when tickets go on sale.

-Kyle Conlon, Events Director

Music in the Meadow

On Thursday August 4, 2022, we will be celebrating the official opening of Greenacres Lewis Township with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. John Morris Russell will lead the Pops in the 90-minute concert performing “A Night at the Movies”. The set list will feature music from some of your favorite films. This event is open to the public and a great opportunity to learn about Greenacres and our plans for the property. This is a free event, but we ask that all guests RSVP for planning purposes.

Watching Life Grow at Greenacres

Spring is the season of new life and growth and what better place than Greenacres to witness this? Our education department has enjoyed having school field trips organized throughout the Greenacres properties while students return to in-person field trips. Our administrative coordinator, Katie Brown, tells us, “All around the farm, students can learn about and observe first-hand the various phases of animal and plant life cycles. Greenacres is a perfect place to see all the new animal babies in the spring!” From an abundance of tadpoles in our ponds, to the young calves in our pasture, and all of the macroinvertebrates in between, there is so much growing life to observe at Greenacres! 

If you are an educator interested in field trips, please contact our Education Coordinator Katie Brown. Our Education Team creates exceptional field trip experiences for each and every visitor we serve. We collaborate with classroom educators to build customized, hands-on interactive experiences aligned with grade-level academic learning standards. You can use our field trip programming tool to browse popular topics by grade and by academic subject.

group of four children and two adults walking in grass field

“All around the farm, students can learn about and observe first-hand the various phases of animal and plant life cycles. Greenacres is a perfect place to see all the new animal babies in the spring!”

-Katie Brown, Administrative Coordinator

Spring Equine Lessons

Our Equine department’s 13-week Spring Session is coming to close and we are looking forward to the 2022 Equine Summer Camps! We welcomed 21 new riders off of the waitlist and had a total of 65 students enrolled in the lesson program this Spring. The Greenacres Pony Club Riding Center members have been busy attending horse shows this Spring. All of the horse and rider pairs competing this Spring have finished within the top 8 in their divisions. Our Equine Manager, Becca North tells us, “we still have an active waitlist, so if you are interested in enrolling in the lesson program we invite you to join the waitlist through the equine page on the Greenacres website.”

We still have an active waitlist, so if you are interested in enrolling in the lesson program we invite you to join the waitlist through the equine page on the Greenacres website.

-Becca North, Equine Manager

What does Healthy Soil Look Like?

Every Spring, our Research department spends several weeks monitoring our pastures and woodlands. This helps ensure that all of our ecosystems are healthy and functioning correctly. This Spring, the team completed some essential assessments, including vegetation surveys, litter surveys, soil sampling, and faunal sampling. When conducting faunal sampling, our researchers look for animal life using pitfall traps and “herp circles”. 

The pitfall traps are used to survey arthropod communities (small macroinvertebrates such as springtails, millipedes and spiders) while the  “herp circles” (15-meter diameter circles) help us look for reptiles and amphibians. The arthropod community’s composition gives us insight into litter decomposition, nutrient cycling, and overall ecosystem functioning. Research Assistant Chad Gibson tells us, “Searching for reptiles, and especially amphibians can help interpret ecosystem health due to their extreme sensitivity to pollutants and disturbance.” With continued monitoring, we can notice changes in faunal populations and make more informed decisions when it comes to our land management.

long tailed salamander on log

“Searching for reptiles, and especially amphibians can help interpret ecosystem health due to their extreme sensitivity to pollutants and disturbance.”

-Chad Gibson, Research Assistant 

01 Apr 2022

Smoke on the Horizon

Smoke on the Horizon

Not Always a Sign of Trouble

Greenacres, The Village of Indian Hill and Madeira & Indian Hill Joint Fire District recently teamed up to do a series of controlled burns around the Village in an effort to promote new growth, reduce invasive plants and clear old plant debris. The locations selected for these burns were Grand Valley Preserve, Radio Range Park and a green area near the intersection of Shawnee Run Road and State Route 126. All three locations had been planted with native grasses or wildflowers, but the establishment rate had not been successful.

Village officials had noticed less and less species diversity over the last few years and were looking for a solution when they reached out to Greenacres for assistance. After reviewing the data, the Greenacres team prescribed a series of controlled burns. They felt this was the most natural approach and helped avoid the use of powerful herbicides or heavy tilling.

“The Village was thrilled to learn that the Greenacres Team was certified in controlled burns and interested in partnering with the Village to improve the native grasses and wildflowers. The Village is fortunate to have the Greenacres Foundation located within our community and the partnership that has been created to improve the natural environment.”  said.

-Jon West, Village of Indian Hill Assistant City Manager

“These native plant communities evolved in the presence of natural fires” says Daniel Wilds, Greenacres Interim General Manager of Greenacres Michaela Farm. “By utilizing burns, we can help manage land in a way that promotes growth and maintains a rich balance of native species. Not only do we remove dead material, creating space and light for new growth, we’re also building natural fertilizer by breaking down biomass so that it can be reabsorbed into the soil. It’s a very powerful management practice for farmers and land managers and can benefit an entire ecosystem when implemented properly. We can greatly improve soil health, plant and animal communities, and even weather patterns.” continued Wilds.

“By utilizing burns, we can help manage land in a way that promotes growth and maintains a rich balance of native species.

-Daniel Wilds, Interim General Manager of Greenacres Michaela Farm

After carefully planning the procedure and waiting for the necessary weather conditions, Wilds, who has a national certification to conduct these type of burns, and other members of Greenacres, put the plan into motion under the careful supervision of the firefighters from the Madeira & Indian Hill Joint Fire District. Three separate burns were conducted over the course of three days.

“The controlled burns were carefully planned, coordinated with the right personnel and executed without incident. This was a new experience for our personnel and we enjoyed working with our partners from Greenacres.

-Chief Stephen Oughterson, Madeira & Indian Hill Joint Fire District

All three burns went according to plan and Greenacres and the Village will be monitoring the sites over the coming years to gauge their effectiveness on the intended outcome. The hope is this old school method finds new life as organizations look for alternatives to the harsher land management practices employed in years past.

21 Mar 2022

Greenacres & Ukraine: Finding Friendship in Farming

Greenacres & Ukraine: Finding Friendship in Farming

As the tragic events unfold across Ukraine, Cincinnatians have been reminded of the special relationship and stories Cincinnati’s local organizations have with the people of Ukraine. One lesser known story is how a local non-profit’s education programs played a role in helping Ukraine develop into a world leader in agriculture.

In the early 2000’s, the United States State Department brought Ukrainian farmers to the US on a multi-state tour to learn about various agricultural practices around the country. The State Department approached Greenacres Foundation, a Cincinnati based non-profit and working farm, about hosting the Ukrainian visitors so they could learn about generative agricultural practices.

Ukrainian farmers in the Greenacres pasture working with a translator.

“The Nipperts instilled into our core values that we are to be good-neighbors and show grace, so naturally we were delighted with the opportunity to host these farmers who were just starting to understand what real freedom meant to their future.” said Carter Randolph, President of Greenacres Foundation. “We showed them how we farm, the equipment we use, and how they could take our practices back with them. At the end of the visit, we enjoyed a traditional Ukrainian meal and exchanged cultural drink traditions. Frozen vodka was used for toasts and Budweiser™ beer was served as an American beer experience. It was during these toasts we learned about their struggles under the USSR and their hope for a prosperous future. They knew some of this would be achieved through farming and they were very impressed by the practices used at Greenacres. Even though they visited much larger operations around the country, the industrialized nature of those farms were not a good fit for them. Not only do they rely on large, expensive, equipment which put them out of reach of the average farmer, but Greenacres’ willingness to put the quality of the land and soil first spoke volumes to farmers from a country known for their extremely fertile soil. A friendship was made and a language barrier broken because of our mutual love of farming. “Greenacres will stand with Ukraine” continued Randolph.

Ukrainian visitors pointing out their home towns on a map.

“We showed them how we farm, the equipment we use, and how they could take our practices back with them. At the end of the visit, we enjoyed a traditional Ukrainian meal and exchanged cultural drink traditions.

-Carter Randolph, Greenacres President

The trip to Greenacres made quite an impression on the visitors and in -following years the State Department reached out about hosting more Ukrainian visitors who specifically asked to stop at Greenacres as they had heard about how wonderful it was from their friends.

To honor the memory of these visits and the people who love our city and our way of life, The Louis and Louise Nippert Charitable Foundation (L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation) has made a grant of $250,000 to Mathew 25: Ministries to aid in the Ukraine humanitarian effort. The L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation is a grant making foundation and part of the trio of Nippert legacy foundations that include Greenacres Foundation and Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund.

Members of Greenacres and visiting Ukrainian farmers share a shot of Ukrainian vodka while exchanging drink traditions.

“We are so very appreciative of the incredibly generous support provided by the L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation for our Ukraine Relief work. Matthew 25: Ministries is shipping relief supplies to people in Ukraine and those who have fled to the surrounding countries.

-Tim Mettey, CEO Matthew 25: Ministries

“We are so very appreciative of the incredibly generous support provided by the L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation for our Ukraine Relief work. Matthew 25: Ministries is shipping relief supplies to people in Ukraine and those who have fled to the surrounding countries. The support will help provide desperately-needed aid to people affected by this crisis, helping to care for them and provide the assurance that they are not forgotten. Thank you for so generously supporting our work during this time of such urgent need. We will be helping in the affected region for a long time to come, and your partnership will help make continued relief efforts possible.”  Said Tim Mettey, CEO Matthew 25: Ministries

The farmers at Greenacres will be planting sunflowers around their properties to show support for Ukraine and visitors to the Greenacres Farm Store will have the opportunity to round up transactions as a way to donate to these humanitarian causes

ABOUT GREENACRES FOUNDATION: Greenacres Foundation was founded in 1988 and was Louis and Louise Nippert’s gift to the community. Combining their love of the land and farming with their appreciation of Cincinnati’s classical arts, Greenacres provides educational programming to over 30,000 local students annually while preserving and generatively farming over 1,200 acres in the Greater Cincinnati area. For more information please contact Greenacres at (513) 891-4227 or mail@green-acres.org.

ABOUT MATTHEW 25: MINISTRIES: Matthew 25: Ministries rescues and reuses over 15,000,000 pounds of products each year and redistributes them to the poorest of the poor and disaster victims. Each year, Matthew 25: Ministries impacts the lives of more than 20,000,000 individuals throughout the United States and around the world.  Matthew 25 is ranked on Forbes’ 2021 list of the Largest U.S. Charities. Matthew 25 is also highly ranked among more than 3,700 four-star charities on Charity Navigator. Matthew 25: Ministries is accredited by the Better Business Bureau through the “Wise Giving Alliance Standards.” For more information, or to schedule an interview, contact Michelle Jones mjones@m25m.org at Matthew 25: Ministries (513) 793-6256, or visit www.m25m.org.

14 Mar 2022

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Dried lavender is available at Greenacres Michaela Farm.

Simple and sophisticated, these cookies are perfect for tea parties, luncheons, and make the perfect hostess gift when visiting friends. 

Recipe courtesy of Victor Sarringhaus

Ingredients
  

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp whole dried lavender buds

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla and beat to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add the flour/cornstarch mixture to the butter/sugar mixture a third at a time, mixing after each addition. Add lavender with the final third of flour mixture. Dough will be crumbly.
  • Spread a teaspoon of flour on work surface. Turn out dough and work into a ball. Rub surface with flour. Roll into 1-inch log, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350º.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. On a very lightly floured surface, roll dough out to ¼” thick. Cut cookies with a 3" round cutter. Poke holes in cookies with a fork.  These cookies will not spread while baking, so they can be placed close together on the cookie sheet.
  • Bake 18-20 minutes. Color will stay light, but dough will be set. Cool 10 minutes.  Makes 20-24 3-inch cookies.