October 2010 Newsletter From the Director New Orleans, here we come! I'm thrilled to be traveling to New Orleans this weekend as part of a group of


October 2010 Newsletter

From the Director


New Orleans, here we come!

I'm thrilled to be traveling to New Orleans this weekend as part of a group of Ithacans participating in the annual conference of the Community Food Security Coalition. This is a great opportunity for us to network with food systems activists from across the nation, and with each other. Groundswell team member Kirtrina Baxter will be sharing her thoughts about the conference in next month's newsletter, so look out for more information in the coming weeks!

We've just finished crossing the t's and dotting the i's on our new grant from USDA's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, and are gearing up to begin work on a series of new farmer training programs that will launch in 2011. If you're a beginning farmer, a farming intern, or an urban gardener considering the possibility of becoming a market gardener, we want to hear from you!

I hope your harvest season has been as bounteous as Groundswell's, and that you're almost ready, as I am, to trade in the long days of summer for long, cozy evenings, spicy pumpkin soups, and hot (fair trade) chocolate...

Joanna Green, Director

November 1st workshop: Farm Labor Policies, Pricing and Local Fair Trade


Elizabeth Henderson, long-time CSA farmer and leader in the international Agricultural Justice movement, is one of the presenters at the November 1 workshop.

ATTENTION FARMERS: November 1 workshop will help you understand and implement fair labor and pricing policies

There's still time to RSVP to this NOFA-NY/Groundswell workshop, which will cover: 1.) creating a safe, fair, and effective labor policy for your farm, and 2.) getting a fair price for your goods that covers production costs plus a reasonable profit.

Monday, November 1, 2010
9am - 3 pm
EcoVillage FROG Common House
Rachel Carson Way, Ithaca, NY

Charge: $35 ($30 NOFA-NY members), includes a light lunch and a copy of Richard Wiswall's The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook

Please RSVP to Robert Hadad, Cornell Vegetable Program Fresh Market Specialist, at rgh26@cornell.edu, 585-739-4065. If you include your email, you will receive an electronic copy of the Agricultural Justice Project Tool-Kit, a guide to good farm labor policies.

For a farm to be sustainable, the farm needs a steady, well-trained labor force and the products of the farm must bring a price in the marketplace that covers the cost of production, plus a living wage for the farmer, money to do repairs and maintenance, to pay for continuing education for the farm staff, and to make improvements to the farm. Many family-scale organic farmers have the best intentions, but under the day-to-day pressures of farming, do not take the time to learn all the relevant laws and regulations, and to document their well-intentioned practices. The purpose of these workshops is to provide the concrete information and documentation a farmer needs to live up to the claim of social justice. Read more...

Ithaca Crop Mob Teams Up With Ithaca Community Harvest for Fall Gleaning Projects


ICH and ICM will be harvesting acorn squash for LACS and BJM students on Sunday, October 17th.

New partnership yields satisfying results for neighborhood schools and community centers

The Ithaca Crop Mob and the Ithaca Community Harvest are now working together to bring fresh produce to the children and families of the Beverly J. Martin Elementary School, the Lehman Alternative Community School, the Southside Community Center, and the Greater Ithaca Activities Center.

The Ithaca Community Harvest (ICH), formerly known as the BJM Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program, is a collaborative community initiative to bring more fresh, local produce into Ithaca's local schools and community centers. Since the program began in 2009, community volunteers have gleaned unused produce from area farms and markets, which is then taken to the program's community sites and distributed to children and families.

Recently, the ICH and the Ithaca Crop Mob (ICM), a community initiative that assembles volunteers for on-farm work parties, joined forces to raise support and awareness for gleaning events. ICM's Google Group listserv, which reaches 185 people, will now circulate information about upcoming gleanings along with crop mob events.

We look forward to working together and watching our collaboration grow! Join us for our next event- harvesting acorn squash at the Inlet Valley Homeowner's Association on Sunday, October 17th to benefit the LACS lunch program and BJM students.

For more information about Ithaca Community Harvest, contact Lara Kaltman at larakaltman@gmail.com. To get involved with Ithaca Crop Mob, join our Google Group.

Meadowsweet Dairy Hosts September Crop Mob

IMG 6755-2

Jersey cows and calves at Meadowsweet Farm in Lodi, NY.

Behind the scenes of a NYS raw milk David and Goliath tale

On September 25th, a small band of crop mobbers visited Meadowsweet Farm, a raw milk dairy in Lodi, NY. Though the Smith family- Barb, Steve, and their children- once sold raw milk to customers directly, Meadowsweet currently operates as an LLC (Limited Liability Company), in which LLC members own the cow herd and the Smith family manages the herd and distributes the milk products to members. The Smiths have been deeply involved in the litigation surrounding the sale of raw milk in New York State, and shared with us some insights and education on this breezy September morning.

Our task was to put up an electric fence for the meat herd's winter pasture, a short walk from the Smith's house. Fencing requires hands in several places at once- a couple for carrying ends of wire across the perimeter and a couple for untangling wire when it gets stuck on its spool; a couple for holding fenceposts straight and a couple for driving them in. When Meadowsweet needs extra hands for work like this, Barb explained, the Smiths usually organize work parties through their local church--- a valuable resource in this small agricultural town, where the "Welcome to Lodi" sign boasts a reminder of the "Right to Farm" law (a safeguard for farmers in the face of neighborhood opposition) directly underneath. Read more...

Volunteer Spotlight: Genevieve DeClerck

Genevieve DeClerck serves as Groundswell's volunteer Database Manager and is one of Ithaca Crop Mob's most enthusiastic and committed mobbers. As a database programmer in the Cornell Plant Breeding department, agriculture is a big part of Genevieve's life. When not sitting behind a computer looking at rice and corn data she is feverishly planning what to grow on her own 5 acres. Genevieve and her partner Hugh are avid Ithaca Crop Mobbers and have attended a number of Mob events since the first event ever at The Good Life Farm in May. Genevieve currently shares her programming expertise as the manager of Groundswell's database of supporters and also provides technological savvy and support for the Groundswell website. She has a strong interest in small-scale natural farming and the growth of local and regional food systems and saw Groundswell and the Crop Mob as a great way to get involved. We welcome her to the Groundswell Advisory board this month as a crucial and invaluable member of our team. Thank you Genevieve!

Groundswell Recruiting New Steering Committee Members

Do you have a knack for promotion, outreach and fundraising? A passion for oversight, policy implementation and evaluation? Do you crave more involvement with sustainable development and local food systems in the Finger Lakes?

Groundswell has a wonderful and dedicated group of program advisors and is now recruiting members for a new Steering Committee to oversee our organizational development and ensure our financial sustainability. This is a great leadership opportunity for community members interested in building relationships in the local community and connecting with regional and national networks. Here's your chance to direct activities that will make a positive impact on our community, region, and food system! Commitments include 5-10 hours/month of community outreach, budget oversight, fundraising, and participation in meetings and special committees. Click here for the full Job Description for Steering Committee members.

If you would like to nominate yourself or another for Groundswell's Steering Committee, please send an email with attached resume to info@groundswellcenter.org.

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