Eat like an animal, and eat locally! Because our animals are from many different parts of the world, their food may travel quite a distance to make it to the Zoo. Did you know that on average, your food travels 1500 miles from farm to table? In the Greater Cincinnati region alone, about $5 billion is spent each year on food. If each of us shifted just 10% of our food to locally produced fruits, vegetables, honey, eggs, meat and dairy, we could shift $49 million into our local economy, while at the same time reducing carbon emissions from transporting food. This would also create 522 local jobs. Our commissary has made the shift and does their best to source as much of our food (both for our animals and for our guests!) as we can, locally.
Consider shopping locally for some, or even all, of your food needs. There are many ways you can do so – shop at a local farmers market, join a CSA (community supported agriculture) program, visit local farms, support community gardens, grow in your own yard/patios, or have Green B.E.A.N. Delivery bring fresh, local food right to your doorstep. Our local foodshed, as defined by Green Umbrella Local Food Action Team, is within the Central Ohio River watershed – food grown within a 50-mile radius of downtown Cincinnati or a 100-mile radius by growers who regularly sell within a 50-mile radius.
Each year a local food guide is published and highlights all of the local farms, farmers markets, CSA programs and other food related opportunities in our region. It also has a great list of restaurants that source some of their dishes with ingredients from local farms. You can download the CORV Food Directory at their website.
A few other great resources include the Ohio Proud and Kentucky Proud websites that list Ohio and Kentucky small businesses that make, farm or supply mostly food related products. Indiana has some great resources as well, listed on this website.
In our Avondale neighborhood, a great source of local food is Gabriel’s Place – a community garden, community kitchen and marketplace. Their Farmers Market will open up weekly on Thursdays from 4-6pm beginning June 7th, and may feature any of the following: fresh, local fruits and vegetables, self-made craft goods, breads, baked goods and spices, meats, dairy and beans. Mark your calendar now! Gabriel’s Place is located at 3618 Reading Road, next to the Hirsch Recreation Center.
Consider making the 10% shift, eat locally and support your local food economy while cutting down on carbon emissions!