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Category — Eat Like an Animal

Greenest Restaurant in America!

How about that!  Greenest restaurant in America!  In fact, when the Green Restaurant Association took a look at our new Base Camp Café, the Cincinnati Zoo scored the highest sustainability rating of any restaurant EVER!  We’re composting and getting out of the landfill.  We’re serving fresher, local foods.  And we’re working toward a monster goal of having our zoo visitors eat as well as our animals!

And it’s not just our restaurant . . .

Over the past 7 years the Cincinnati Zoo has become nationally known as “The Greenest Zoo in America.”  And this isn’t just a branding campaign or a marketing plan, we have the data to back it up.  The Cincinnati Zoo uses 1/3 the water we used in 2006, when we began our big sustainability push.  And though we have added 25% more buildings, animal exhibits, and facilities since then, we use LESS electricity and natural gas than we did back then.  And it’s important to note that we didn’t accomplish this by blowing money on big new systems.  In fact, part of why our “Go Green” program is so effective is that we actually save a fortune through our sustainability programs.  That way, we can invest those utility savings in upkeep and improving the zoo – for both our animals and our visitors.

The Way Forward

Of course, it’s not about winning awards or recognition.  The Cincinnati Zoo models effective ways to “Go Green” because it is good for our community and good for our world, as well as our bottom line.  The big challenges that both wildlife and people face in the 21st Century are not going to be solved top-down.  There is no magic wand that the World Wildlife Fund or the EPA can wave to save the world.  Even huge problems like habitat loss and climate change will only be solved by hundreds of millions of better, more informed, decisions being made every day across America.  Today the US leads the world in consumption.  We can also lead the way in going green.

Come over to the Cincinnati Zoo and we’ll show you how.

June 7, 2013   4 Comments

Eat Locally!

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!

May 21, 2012   1 Comment

Tips For Eating Like An Animal

OK, we’ve established that animals eat better than we do. So here are some tips to help you eat like an animal:

4. Don’t eat out so often – Many Americans eat out far more than they eat a home cooked meal. Unfortunately, restaurants fill their food with way more fat and salt than you’d use at home, to make it taste better and to get you to come back often. But you wouldn’t let your dog eat there.

3. Don’t eat anything from a gas station – If snacks and sandwiches can sit around for months, they probably have more chemicals and additives than we can absorb. And you certainly wouldn’t buy food for your cat from a gas station snack rack.

2. No soda pop. Nada. – Both sugar free and regular soft drinks are bad for your teeth and for your body. They, and most sweetened drinks, are just bad for you all the way around. Besides, you only let your pet drink water anyway!

1. Eat a colorful plate – The first time I went in for a colonoscopy, the nurse gave me a big ole lecture about my diet. She said she could tell that I eat too much dairy, meat, sugar and white flour. Instead, she wanted me to mostly eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and to go sparingly on the others. It sounded complicated at the time.

But of course, not once I started eating like an animal.

Listen to 90-Second Naturalist “Tips for Eating Like an Animal” podcast.

February 6, 2012   No Comments