Groundswell News May 2014From the Director Act Local. Think Global. At one of our Groundswell Development meetings last month, the question came up

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Groundswell News May 2014

From the Director

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Food Sovereignty, a term that originated with the Via Campesina (The Peasant's Way), means the right of people to determine their own food systems.

Act Local. Think Global.

At one of our Groundswell Development meetings last month, the question came up: "Is Food Sovereignty really what Groundswell is all about?" Are we part of the growing global movement of family farmers and local communities banding together to assert our rights and resist corporate domination?

I believe that we are. But we've been so busy doing our own thing here that we haven't paid much attention to the connections between our work and one of the most powerful and potentially transformative global movements in decades.

So we're beginning a process of educating ourselves and the wider Groundswell community about the global Food Sovereignty movement and how it relates to our work here in Central NY. For starters, we're sharing with you the 6 food sovereignty principles which were drafted in 2007 at the international Forum for Food Sovereignty in Mali. See below. And let us know your thoughts!

Joanna Green, Director


Finger Lakes CRAFT season kicks off May 18!

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CRAFT members gather monthly to learn from experienced Mentor Farmers like Karma Glos of Kingbird Farm.

Dandelions are popping up, asparagus is ready for picking and the spring peepers are singing... all signs that the CRAFT season is about to begin!

Sunday May 18: CRAFT Orientation & Potluck in Ithaca

Sunday May 18
6:00 - 8:00 PM
SONG Common House at EcoVillage
200 Rachel Carson Way, Ithaca, NY 14850
Come meet the Mentor Farmers at our first CRAFT potluck! Our farmer-mentors and aspiring-farmer-CRAFT participants will meet to eat and mingle.

Monday May 19: Kingbird Farm, Berkshire, NY

10 AM - 3 PM. PM workshop: Breeding Poultry and Livestock

We will cover the selection and breeding of hogs, cattle, and poultry with an emphasis on small herds. We will discuss in detail our experience maintaining breeding animals, good fertility, incubation, hatching, weaning and many other aspects of reproduction. Hands-on experience will include breeding stock assessment, candling hatching eggs, piglet/calf handling.


CRAFT membership is open to all farm interns, employees, aspiring and experienced farmers.

To join the CRAFT, first join as a member of Groundswell HERE. Then fill out your CRAFT membership form. There is no additional fee for joining the CRAFT. Join CRAFT today!


June 8: First Homesteaders Gathering!

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Host: Godin-Green Homestead, Enfield, NY

Groundswell Director Joanna Green and her husband Art Godin grow all their own veggies, and store, freeze and can them for year-round eating on this 2 acre "micro-farm." They also milk a goat and make lots of cheese, and have a small flock of laying hens, two hoop houses, and a little orchard.

They'll demonstrate cover cropping in the garden, starting seedlings with soil blocks, low-tech produce storage options, crop planning and record keeping spreadsheets, season extension systems, and worm farming. But they plan to learn just as much from you as you'll learn from them!

Join the Homesteaders Network!

Participating in Groundswell's Homestead Farmers & Gardeners Network is one of the benefits of your Groundswell Membership. To become a member, visit, and click on Join. Then, to join the Homesteaders Network, just send an email to We'll put you on the list!

You must register in advance for each Homesteaders Gathering. Sorry, we cannot accept walk-ins; space is limited at each site.


Volunteer Spotlight: Dean Koyanagi, Mentor Farmer

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Dean Koyanagi showing young ones the way.

We give thanks for Dean

Dean has an incredible career background: Navy Veteran, Sustainability Coordinator for Cornell, Co-farmer at Tree Gate Farm, and Groundswell Mentor Farmer, now working closely with our Incubator Farmers. Dean has been involved in Groundswell since our beginnings, and quickly grew to be a major part of our organization, helping organize our first ever Mentor Farmer Training in 2011.

We see Dean as a brilliant and dedicated farmer who is especially excited about innovation and novel, efficient farm systems. We remember the enthusiasm he exuded when he came to share several nifty tools (including an electric tractor model!) at the FarmHack Ithaca event in Fall of 2012, an event he was also deeply involved in at the planning level!

Dean has been mentoring our Incubator Farmers since the inaugural year of the program in 2013, and has been an active voice in shaping the 2014 season. Dean's input and advice about the timing of workshops, mentoring sessions, and topics has helped Groundswell develop a timeline that fits with the rhythms of the farming season. Mentoring a new business owner and food producer can be a VERY tricky task, and but Dean's understanding of the learning process and his patience has made him an invaluable Mentor Farmer.



New Trainee Video: Eric Shatt of Redbyrd Orchard Cider

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Watch the video on our You-Tube channel!

"We started planting hard cider specific varieties in 2004, with the ultimate dream of what we're doing right now, making really nice artisan crafted hard cider."

In this new video profile, former Groundswell trainee Eric Shatt tells us about his experience starting a hard cider orchard with his wife Deva, and his experience in Groundswell's Farm Business Planning Class.

"The Groundswell program was really great for me because it really solidified how to develop a business plan. With that business plan, we were able to go to Alternatives Federal Credit Union and secure a business loan and propel the business forward."

Watch Eric talk about his journey and check out other Groundswell trainee videos by visiting our Youtube channel.


Focus on Food Sovereignty


La Via Campesina is the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity.

A growing, global groundswell

At one of our Groundswell Development meetings last month, the question came up: "What is Food Sovereignty?" We'd like to share with you the 6 food sovereignty principles which were drafted in 2007 at the International Forum for Food Sovereignty in Mali.

1. Focuses on Food for People: Food sovereignty stresses the right to sufficient, healthy and culturally appropriate food for all individuals, peoples and communities, including those who are hungry or living under occupation, in conflict zones and marginalized. Food sovereignty rejects the proposition that food is just another commodity for international agribusiness.

2. Values Food Providers: Food sovereignty values and supports the contributions, and respects the rights, of women and men, peasants and small scale family farmers, pastoralists, artisanal fishers, forest dwellers, indigenous peoples and agricultural and fisheries workers, including migrants, who cultivate, grow, harvest and process food; and rejects those policies, actions and programs that undervalue them, threaten their livelihoods and eliminate them.

3. Localizes Food Systems: Food sovereignty brings food providers and consumers together in common cause; puts providers and consumers at the center of decision-
making on food issues; protects food providers from the dumping of food and food aid in local markets; protects consumers from poor quality and unhealthy food, inappropriate food aid and food tainted with genetically modified organisms...



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Farm scene from the Hahn household, site of a 2013 Groundswell Homesteaders Network visit.

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