Going Green

From disposable tableware made from plant products to the support of local food vendors and wineries, Service Systems Associates services are eco-friendly. We are committed to conducting our business in an environmentally responsible manner as we champion and support the conservation efforts of the Cincinnati Zoo.

 Base Camp Café

The Green Restaurant Association awards points for energy-saving elements from water use to composting and recycling. A 4-star rating requires 300 points, and the Base Camp Cafe received 487, the highest sustainability rating that any restaurant has ever received!

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What Qualifies Us As Green?

  •  LED lighting and natural lighting throughout the building.
  • On-Site Aquaponics is used for growing vegetables and herbs that are then used in the restaurant.
  • Recycled 1930s building to divert construction waste from landfill.
  • 70% of venders for produce are within 100-250 miles of the zoo.
  • 95% of all post-consumer waste from the Café is diverted from landfill.
  • Certified grass-fed burgers from Blackhawk Farm.
  •  Most of the equipment is now Energy Star rated.
  • Old Grease is tuned into biofuels.
  • Furniture is made of plantation grown teak.

Organics on Vine


The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is committed to giving our visitors a variety of healthy snack options that taste great while also staying true to our commitment to sustainability. We are now proud to offer Organics on Vine— a local, organic, and non-GMO product, inside of the Base Camp Cafe.

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SSA’s Partnership with Black Hawk Farms

Black Hawk

The Cincinnati Zoo and Service Systems Associates are proud to offer natural Angus grain finished beef from Black Hawk, Kentucky. Black Hawk is a fourth generation family farm operating in western Kentucky. Black Hawk cattle are traditionally born and raised on a pasture. Instead of selling our cattle to commercial feed lots out west, we long grain finish our cattle on white corn, soft red winter wheat, and forages produced on the farm free of added hormones and antibiotics. The eco-friendly process is achieved by using a compost barn which eliminates any negative impacts to the environment. Our compost barn utilizes saw dust from a local saw mill combined with what would be animal waste to create a superior mulch like organic fertilizer used on our farm. The sustainable program allows regions with wet climates to produce superior rain finished beef locally while drastically minimizing the carbon footprint on beef production. For more information on Black Hawk Farms click here.

SSA’s Partnership with RSPO


In response to the urgent and pressing global call for sustainably produced palm oil, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with a satellite oce in Jakarta. SSA partnered with RSPO in 2010