Category: News

06 May 2021

Spring 2021 Update

Spring 2021 Update

Pastures Reborn

Spring at Greenacres is an exciting time. Not only are we welcoming new animals to the farm, but our pastures are being “reborn” as well. Grasses that have sat dormant through the cold of winter have started to green up and burst forth with new and vigorous growth. How this early growth is managed will set the stage for the rest of the growing season. It might seem counter-intuitive as it appears the grass is just being established, but the key to maintaining healthy nutritious stands of forage is to move the herds quickly over the land allowing them to take the “first bite”.  “Because grass has a single purpose, which is to reproduce, when it reaches maturity it will start to lose nutritional value and begin to die back.  Moving quickly and keeping animals in a tight group, every square foot of pasture is impacted, while maximizing the nutritional quality for our animals.” says Jonathan Gabis, Manager of Livestock Operations. Hooves help return decaying material back to the earth where it can be utilized by insects and soil microbes while grazing encourages regrowth, root development, and lengthens time in a vegetative state, allowing the grasses to capture as much solar energy as possible leading to improved soil and animal health. 

Greenhouse Expansion

The Greenhouse is “growing” a new wing. We expect this expansion to be completed this summer.  The extra capacity will allow us to increase vegetable production, provide additional space for research projects, and allow more visiting schools the opportunity to experience how a commercial greenhouse works.

Equipped with top-of-the-line grow lights, cooling equipment, and high ceilings, this new addition should be able to handle any of the weather challenges that Cincinnati offers. “Fresh, local, organically grown, soil based tomatoes ALL season long is an exciting prospect, and one that we hope to be able to bring to our customers in 2021”, says Ian Zeglin, Manager of Garden Operations.  We look forward to this project being finished and online soon.           

State-of-the-Art Composting

Two years ago our Compost Manager, Nate Bundy, began to explore ways Greenacres could be more self-sufficient with our onsite garden needs, while reducing the amount of waste we produce. His research led him to a compost system developed by Green Mountain Technologies, which can process up to 1000 tons of waste products a year. Not only does this technology speed up the time in which great compost can be made because of its ability to maintain temperatures around 145° F, it also allows materials like meat and dairy products to be used as compost material which are typically hard to break down. This high heat system has another benefit in that it will destroy any weed seeds and plant pathogens that might be present. 

After years of planning and research,  Nate’s vision became a reality earlier this year as our first batch of compost was processed in our new Green Mountain facility. “This system provides us an amazing educational asset that will hopefully inspire students to learn more about how their food is grown and what happens to waste when they toss it in the trash” says Bundy. His projects the system will divert more than 2500lbs of employee food waste from local landfills in the first year alone. This number will increase as children return for field trips and we have a full season of events and weddings. This is a great step towards our commitment towards making sure we live up to the “Green” in Greenacres.      

This system provides us an amazing educational asset that will hopefully inspire students to learn more about how their food is grown and what happens to waste when they toss it in the trash”

-Nate Bundy, Greenhouse Coordinator and Compost Manager

A Year of New Education Support

Last spring, as COVID-19 began to impact education systems everywhere, including Greenacres, we quickly realized that we would need to shift our talents to meet this challenge. With the busloads of students visiting Greenacres on pause, we started to translate our lesson concepts into scripts for video production and exploring other ways we could continue to educate.

A year later we are proud to look back on all that we have accomplished in this time frame. We have created and shared over 50 unique resource videos for school teachers whose classes missed their annual Greenacres experience. Each was scripted, filmed and edited by the Greenacres Education Team in a timeless fashion for future use as a field trip preview or to “revisit” an experience back in the classroom. New “Ask an Educator” Q&A sessions followed, to further support video content, as curious students asked questions and interacted with educators, virtually. We were even able to offer an in-person education series we called Greenacres Children’s Discovery Days. We were thrilled to be able to provide this outlet to children so they could continue hands-on learning experiences in a safe environment. These efforts combined allowed Greenacres educators to continue to do what they love most, educating children!

“Our goals for this school year were to get kids outside, support teachers and keep our educators educating. Feedback received from teachers and parents have shown us we successfully met all three.”

-Donna Griffen, Director of Education

Over a year of shifting gears to offer new education support, in-person field trips are now returning and field trip lesson plans are being reinstated. Only now, those lessons have new resource videos to reinforce concepts back in the classroom after a (possibly more appreciated) field trip to Greenacres.

Preparing for Fall Field Trips in Brown County

In 2020, construction began on our new education center located in Lewis Township in Brown County. The facility will feature 4 classrooms, plus offices for our staff. With this building coming online soon, we are looking forward to hosting schools for field trips from surrounding areas in the fall of 2021. “Because of the generosity of our founders, we are able to offer FREE field trips at our Lewis Township location on State Route 505. This is an expansion of our mission that we have been carrying out for over 30 years in Cincinnati.” said Joe Phelps, Environment Educator and Lewis Township Site Supervisor. These classes will be some of the first to experience a Greenacres environment education program at our new property during the 2021-2022 school year. Students will explore forests, pastures, creeks, and ponds correlating with classroom topics like “Plants and Insects” and “Fossils”.

If you know a teacher or school in the area who would be interested in a field trip at this location, please have them contact our education coordinator Katie Brown at kbrown@green-acres.org or Joe Phelps at jphelps@green-acres.org. Registration is open at all Greenacres education sites for school-aged children, Kindergarten-12th grades. Use our field trip programming tool to browse popular topics by grade and academic subject. Choose a field trip program that supports your classroom curriculum as well as aligns with grade-level academic learning standards. As always, we are here to customize your needs to co-create the best Greenacres experience possible for your students.

“Because of the generosity of our founders, we are able to offer FREE field trips at our Lewis Township location on State Route 505.

-Joe Phelps, Environment Educator and Site Supervisor

Summer Event Dates Set

Our Grand Tent was installed in early April and we’re busy planning our summer events. “Despite the challenges presented to us by COVID, we remain committed to providing a quality experience for all that attend an event at Greenacres. Safety is always a top priority and we continue to follow all current COVID guidelines given by the State of Ohio.” says Kyle Conlon, Greenacres Events Director. 

Dates have been set for our Music Under the Stars series on July 9th and August 13th. We look forward to hosting performers from the Cincinnati Pops again for these unique concerts. These events sell out quickly so make sure to follow us on social media or subscribe to our email newsletter to be the first to know when tickets go on sale.

Farm Store is Open for In-Person Shopping

Our Farm Store reopened for in-person shopping again in April! We’re excited to welcome you back, and appreciate your grace and kindness as we continue to navigate keeping our staff and guests healthy. Our livestock team’s increased production has led to great inventory of eggs, 100% grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, and woodland raised pork at the store! We have our first batch of new hickory smoked pork andouille sausage available now. It’s very flavorful, with just a hint of heat – excellent with eggs for breakfast, or grilled in a bun with grainy mustard, or in a jambalaya. Spring vegetables, especially tender greens, are in abundance, as well as radishes, turnips, beets, and microgreens. Beautiful flower bouquets and arrangements, which we will continue to offer throughout the year, have been filling the store with brilliant color. Ranunculus, anemones, tulips and lilies are with us until the summertime zinnias and sunflowers come along. For the first time ever, we held a plant sale on Mother’s Day weekend, where we offered vegetable, flower and herb starts to plant in your home gardens! We had great weather and a great turnout – we look forward to holding that event again next year. As we ramp up into 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!

Spring Equine Lessons

Spring Session is quickly coming to a close, but we are looking forward to Summer and increasing the number of students in our riding programs after scaling back for Covid precautions. Our riders are looking forward to testing out our new HDR saddles as well as meeting our new school horses. We know many families still have children on our waitlist and we hope to continue to increase the number of students in our upcoming sessions so that all of our riders can get back to doing what they love.

I am very excited to welcome back our riders after slowly reopening for over a year! We have had several new horses in the barn, that I am sure will be barn favorites.”

-Becca North, Equine Manager

Next Phase of Native Warm Season Grass Research

We continue to collaborate with the University of Tennessee, researching the best ways to establish native warm season grasses in local pastures and ecosystems. “We believe that native warm season grasses provide incredible ecological benefits, including the improvement of wildlife habitat and ecosystem services all while adding resiliency to our production systems in the face of climate change” says Chad Bitler, Greenacres Research Director.

A greenhouse study is currently underway looking at the germination and growth of big bluestem under different pH and phosphorus regimes. This research will provide insights into the general physiology and response of big bluestem under relatively poor soil conditions and results will help develop best practices for establishing native warm season stands.

Spring Vegetation

Greenacres researchers have been back in the woods monitoring our research transects for spring vegetation and animal life. They recently added our Water Quality Education Center in Milford to this project in addition to our Indian Hill and Lewis Township locations. By regularly monitoring these plots, they get a snapshot of how each ecosystem is responding to natural and manmade changes. This spring they have continued to see an increase in invasive species like Lesser Celandine. The team was excited find an abundance of spring ephemerals and salamanders present at the Water Quality Education Center.

Ley Field

Working with our livestock and garden teams, we started a 4 year research project in March collecting data on Ley Field Farming. Ley Farming is a method which incorporates livestock into the crop production system. The Ley Field is divided into 4 sections and in a given year two sections are grazed and two sections are used for vegetable production. The sections are then rotated annually, giving each 2 years of livestock impact. Our goal is to develop more accurate information about which inputs have the greatest positive impact on the soil health while maximizing crop yield. The crop production team is in charge of cover crops and vegetable production, while the livestock team grazes the plots not in production. The research team collects cover crop and soil health data.

“We believe that native warm season grasses provide incredible ecological benefits, including the improvement of wildlife habitat and ecosystem services all while adding resiliency to our production systems in the face of climate change.

-Chad Bitler, Research Director

15 Jan 2021

January 2021 – COVID Update

January 2021 – COVID Update

January 15 – 2021

With Hamilton County entering purple status, we would like to remind you that Greenacres is operating on an essential employees only status and will be suspending any programming until further notice.

What does this mean for patrons of Greenacres: 

  • Our farm store will remain open and continue to operate on a curbside pickup model. Please use our product availability page to see what we have available and for instructions on how to place an order. 
  • Farm production will remain consistent in order to provide as many fresh vegetables and meat products to our farm store and community. 
  • All location, besides the Farm Store, are currently closed to visitors in order to keep everyone safe as well as our livestock.
  • Education, equine, and volunteer programs are on hold and will return as soon as local and state health guidelines determine it to be safe. If you have a specific question about a program please reach out to your contact person in that department.
  • Our venue will be closed for meetings and tours until further notice. 

 

We look forward to serving you this year and will continue to monitor the situation in order to keep our guests, employees and animals safe.        

20 Nov 2020

Remembering a Founder – Guy D. Randolph Jr.

Remembering a Founder – Guy D. Randolph Jr.

Guy D. Randolph, Jr., born July 30, 1923, passed away peacefully with family at his side on November 10 in Savannah, Georgia. A lifelong Cincinnati resident, Guy moved to Savannah in 2013, after the passing of his wife Jane Russell Randolph, to be close to his sons. He grew up in Hyde Park with his parents Guy D. and Thelma Randolph and his sister Betty (Rowe), all pre-deceased. He attended The Ashville School where he excelled in sports and leadership. He graduated from the Naval R.O.T.C. program at Northwestern University. Guy was a WWII Lieutenant J.G. in the United States Navy, serving on LST 343 in the South Pacific. Based out of Pearl Harbor, his ship supplied allied troops with armament. After the war, he joined his father in the insurance business and later founded the Randolph Company which is helmed today by his son, Carter. Jane & Guy enjoyed 65 years of marriage and raised 4 children: Guy III (Sandra), Milton Russell, Carter (Patricia), and Mary McGraw (Michael). They have 10 grandchildren and 6 great grands.

Guy was an avid tennis player at the Cincinnati Country Club and an enthusiastic golfer at the Camargo Club, where he and Jane were known to walk 9 holes almost daily, well into their 80’s. Guy served on the boards of The Christ Hospital, The L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation and the Camargo Club. Most significantly, he and Jane were founding members of the Greenacres Foundation. He was best known for his keen and quick sense of humor, and his devotion to family and country. The Randolph Family is appreciative of the Marshes of Skidaway Island where Guy enjoyed 7 years and befriended many fellow patriots. We remain forever grateful for his loyal caregivers, especially Maria Montoya. Guy Guy will be sorely missed and deeply treasured. To all of his friends and family, he’d say, “Proud to know ya'”. Memorials may be made to the Greenacres Foundation, 8255 Spooky Hollow Rd., Cincinnati, Ohio, 45242.

19 May 2020

2020 Summer Camps Update

2020 Summer Camps Update

May 19 2020

In light of the health and safety issues created by the COVID -19 virus Greenacres is cancelling our Summer Camp programs for 2020 with full refunds being issued over the coming weeks.  This decision was not easy to reach, but we will not put any child at risk. We carefully reviewed Ohio’s guidelines for Day Camp and the activities of our day camps. It quickly became clear that compliance with the guidelines would greatly distract from the camp activities and we could not guarantee compliance with all of the guidelines at all times.

Our Summer Camps have been a fixture of the community for many years and our staff and campers have enjoyed wonderful experiences. During this challenging time many activities are being altered or cancelled and we regret that Greenacres Summer Camps is now among those activities that will not be held this year.

Greenacres looks forward to returning to normal activities as soon as possible and we are already working on great new camp ideas for 2021.

Until we can safely return to normal operations, “The Place to Be” will be on social media and our website. We encourage you to keep up with happenings around the farm this summer.

Stay Healthy!

-Greenacres