July 2012 NewsletterSAVE THE DATE! Sunday October 21, 2012, 1-4 PM Groundswell's Local Food & Farm Festival LOCAL FOODS, LOCAL FARMERS, LOCAL VENDOR


July 2012 Newsletter

SAVE THE DATE! Sunday October 21, 2012, 1-4 PM Groundswell's Local Food & Farm Festival


Visit the site of Groundswell's new Farm Enterprise incubator at EcoVillage...

Enjoy fun FARMING ACTIVITIES for kids of all ages! Card some wool, build a hoop house, dig a soil sample, churn some butter, build a fence, or milk a goat!
Enjoy ETHNIC FOODS from all around the world featuring local farm products!
Chat with Groundswell’s Farmer-Instructors and Beginning Farmers at our LOCAL FOODS MINI-MARKET!
See the newest in FARMING INVENTIONS and learn how to build your own!
Take a HAY RIDE TOUR of Groundswell’s Farm Enterprise Incubator, West Haven Farm and other EcoVillage highlights!
Help Groundswell raise funds to finish building the FARM ENTERPRISE INCUBATOR!

Mark your calendar now- and plan to bring your family and friends!

Prepping the Ground!: Starting work on Groundswell's Incubator Farm


The Groundswell Incubator Farm pond site.

By Devon Van Noble

We’re thrilled to announce that field work on the Incubator site at EcoVillage has begun! On June 23rd, Groundswell volunteer Jeff Gilmore from EcoVillage started brush-hogging a 3-acre section of the 10 acres designated for the project. In the coming weeks, Melissa Madden of The Good Life Farm is going to do the heavy work of plowing and discing the field for the first time in… too many years. She and Jeff are doing a tremendous service for Groundswell by taking care of all of this initial field work. Melissa will also be helping us put a nice cover crop on the ground by fall, probably some hearty rye that we’ll plow under at the start of the 2013 season to warm the beds up for the first group of trainees! Additional sections will be cleared this fall using larger equipment to make space for infrastructure, such as a hoophouse and sheds.

After months of communication with consultants, neighbors, and regulators exploring different options for the Incubator site's water supply, the Incubator team has determined that simply expanding the current West Haven Farm pond (just north of the Incubator site) is the simplest and most sensible solution. John, Jen, and Todd of West Haven Farm have generously agreed to share this water supply with Groundswell, but there will be secure metering systems installed to help manage this common resource carefully. Creating a water supply has been one of the most intensive parts of developing this farmland, especially because of other interests that need to be considered. Readers who plan to develop land in the future would be wise to start evaluating your water source early in your design process.

If you’ve been up to EcoVillage in the past several weeks, you’ll notice that we aren’t the only ones working the land this summer. The groundwork for the third neighborhood at EcoVillage, TREE, is well on its way. In fact, it turns out that Groundswell will be using some of the same excavating equipment from the TREE project for developing the area, including the Incubator's pond site.

To learn more about the Incubator design process, visit our website.

You can help build the Incubator!

Help us grow new opportunities for beginning farmers in our community! By supporting the Farm Enterprise Incubator, you'll be helping landless aspiring farmers take the first steps towards launching a viable farm business. The year, Groundswell will be using a crowd-funding platform, Kickstarter, to launch a 2-month fundraising campaign to pay for many of the elements of the Incubator’s infrastructure. By participating in our Kickstarter campaign, you'll be able to specify which component of the site you wish to support, and you'll also receive food & farm gifts for making a donation (so keep an eye out, because there will be some good “farm and food” perks for your participation!). We will be kicking off this FUN-raising campaign at Groundswell’s first annual Food & Farm Festival in October. The Festival will be your chance to see the Incubator Farm firsthand and show your support.

Want to make an in-kind contribution? The Incubator site can use sheds, fencing, hoophouses, wood and insulation to build a Cool Bot Cooler, and lightly-worn farm tools among other items. If you or someone you know has items they believe would be of use for the program or Groundswell trainees, please have them contact us at info@groundswellcenter.org, or call 607-277-0180.

The Quintessential Black Farmer: The Urban Garden

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Kirtrina's urban garden.

by Kirtrina Baxter

Urban gardening is the new wave of healthy eating in the city, but is it so new? When talking and meeting folks the last few months, I have met many people of African descent who tell me of ancestral garden spots created out of small spaces of land available practically anywhere around their living areas. My feeling is that this practice was carried over, not just from slavery, but from Africa where our ancestors were known agriculturalists and land stewards. It only makes sense that when they were forced to work the white man’s land that they continued to find ways to grow their own crops, some of which they had introduced to the American fields (such as yams, okra, eggplant, and black eyed peas), to supplement the scraps that they received for meals. This practice was carried on for many years as people of African descent migrated into urban areas in search of opportunity.

I am reading a book written in 1933 by a man of African descent, Carter G. Woodson, called The Mis-Education of the Negro. He tells a story of significance to me when he says that most black people he knows had always known they could at least always scrape a living out of the soil. He talks about how folks knew they could feed their families, if not much else, if they had a little bit of land to work with. It seems we are centuries away from this sentiment in our society, though this was less than 100 years ago.

Despite the hundreds of years of cruel, forced labor upon the earth, there were thousands of years previous that link me to the land of my ancestors. Though most of the crops we grow would be unfamiliar to them, the responsibilities and tasks are the same and the care is immeasurable to the earth that sustains us. Early on this July 4th morning, as many Americans are still resting and dreaming about the day’s festivities to come, I think of my ancestors who were still enslaved at the brink of this “American independence.” And as I revel in my small 10x9 urban plot, which is larger I’m sure than most folks had back in the day, I look up and give thanks to all those who came before me and paved a way for me to love the earth as we should and care for her as she does us.

Let's Walk for Food Justice!

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Join the Groundswell Walkathon Team!

Support the 2nd Annual Food Justice Walkathon

Saturday, September 22
Food Justice Summit -- Walkathon & Block Party

Team Groundswell needs YOU! On the morning of Saturday September 22nd, we’ll be taking to the streets with hundreds of other walkers to help grow support for an equitable and sustainable food system for our community. And if you want to be part of the Coolest Ever Food Justice Walkathon Team -- The Team Led By A Goat -- then sign up today for the Groundswell Team! Families with children are welcome to join our team, and the littlest kids can take turns riding in the Groundswell Goat Cart.

To join our team or to make a pledge to support us, visit http://groundswell.peaksoverpoverty.org or send us an email at walkathon@groundswellcenter.org. Groundswell is proud to join with GreenStar Community Projects and other local partners in hosting the Food Justice Walkathon and Block Party. Money raised will be used by GreenStar Community Projects to help build a regional food system that promotes health, equity, and community control of essential resources.

Register for Groundswell's New Farmer Classes!


Baby turkeys

Join Groundswell's Sustainable Farming Certificate Program trainees for the following classes, open to the public! You must register in advance, as enrollment is limited. To register, email us at info@groundswellcenter.org.

7/18 Pastured Poultry I & 7/25 Pastured Poultry II
7/18: 5:30-8:30 pm
7/25: 5-8 pm
Kingbird Farm, Berkshire
Instructors: Karma & Michael Glos of Kingbird Farm
Pastured Poultry I & II will discuss the basics of raising poultry. Choosing poultry breeds, ordering chicks, brooder management, and feed basics will be discussed at length. We'll also discuss housing, fencing, pasture management, and health care. We'll do some hands-on exploration of brooder equipment, feeds, grains, and other supplements. There will also be a demonstration on proper bird handling.
Cost: $50. You must attend both workshops.

7/29 Draft Horse Practicum
9-4 pm
Northland Sheep Dairy, Marathon
Instructors: Donn Hewes of Northland Sheep Dairy, Melissa Madden of The Good Life Farm, and Karma Glos of Kingbird Farm
In this class, students will be introduced to horses by discussing what makes them tick: discussing their senses, communication, and responses to training. We will work with loose horses (unrestrained) to demonstrate how horses relate to each other and to humans. We will demonstrate how to harness and drive a work horse by letting students work in supervised small groups with one horse to learn harnessing and driving basics. We will discuss how to use work horses for simple tasks, such as logging, and students will be able to tag along with teamsters and horses during work.
Cost: $50.

8/6 Small Fruit Production Basics
1-4 pm
Kestrel Perch Berry Farm, Ithaca
Instructors: Katie Creeger, Kestrel Perch Berry Farm, and Cathy Heidenreich, Berry Extension Support Specialist, Cornell
During this workshop, we'll explore Kestrel Perch Berry Farm's Organic U-Pick berry model, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of different fruit types (strawberries, red and black currants, red raspberries, black raspberries, gooseberries, elderberries, and blueberries) and the unique benefits and challenges of the U-Pick model. We'll also discuss berry basics, including pre-plant soil prep and weed management, the most promising small fruit varieties for our region, pest management basics, and the economics of berry farming. Activities will include a walk-around in the field to view commercial plantings to provide a background for discussion of the challenges of growing different species, hands on pest/disease scouting, and a demo on pruning techniques for different raspberry varieties (summer red, fall red, black).
Cost: $25

See the full list of classes at www.groundswellcenter.org.

Summer Steps: Eat Local and Save


News from our friends at Get Your GreenBack:

Eating Local is the theme for July and August for Get Your GreenBack Tompkins, a community-based campaign to inspire all 42,000 households and every business in Tompkins County to take at least one step to save energy and money in the areas of Food, Building Heating and Lighting, Transportation, and Waste.

There are many ways to eat local and save. “I pass both Eddydale Farm Market and Earlybird Farm Stand to and from work every day”, says Debbie Teeter from Enfield. “Sometimes I stop at Eddydale in the morning to pick up some fresh, seasonal fruit for breakfast or lunch, and I often stop at one or both on the way home in the evening to get something to add to our dinner table, like tomatoes, summer squash, or sweet corn. Summer is a great time to shop these local markets, because the produce is so fresh and affordable. I’ve gotten to know the owners of both of these businesses and I’m happy knowing the money I spend there helps keep them viable and their land in production.”

Summer offers many ways to eat local and save, including picking your own, shopping at farmers’ markets, learning to preserve food, and even growing your own, as it is the perfect time to start a Fall garden.

These steps can help save money, but eating local brings other benefits as well. Locally grown food is fresh and tastes great. Buying local food supports our farmers and helps retain jobs and create new ones. Currently we spend 10% of our food dollars on local foods. According to Monika Roth, agriculture program leader at Cooperative Extension, “If everyone in Tompkins County bumped their local food spending from 10 to 20% this would generate an additional $20 million in economic value and create hundreds of living wage jobs.”

Learn more and register your step to win local food prizes at GetYourGreenBack.org or call 272-2292.

Upcoming Community Food & Farming Events

Learn to Scythe

Sunday, July 15 at 7 pm.
Wood's Earth: Intersection of rt. 13 on Rt. 327, near Robert Treman State Park and the Ithaca Beer Co.

The ancient art of fuel-free mowing with Ben Altman. [optional food, volleyball & hangout at 6]. Limited space! Please RSVP.

Food & Hip Hop: Hip-Hop Historical Tour

Saturday, July 21, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Bronx, NYC
Arrival time: 9:30 am at the NY Visitrs and Convention Bureau, located on 810 7th Avenue and 52nd street, Manhattan, 10:00 AM sharp departure from Midtown Manhattan, 3:00 pm return.
Tickets are $20; RSVP required.

Beats and Beets! All aboard for a narrated group tour of some of the borough's most amazing working farms- where community farmers tend to their plots of land, micro-entrepreneurs harvest honey, and chickens roam freely. Experience the birthplace of hip-hop music in a whole new way as you embark on a rhythmic, healthful-food journey with pioneers of this urban music genre as your guides. Tour activities include a hip hop poetry slam and music jam; Get Dirty, an interactive gardening session; and a short session on chicken raising and tour of the compost demonstration area.
To register, or for more information, call 718.817.8026 or email bronxfoodsummit@gmail.com

Farmer Happy Hour

Tuesday, July 31st, 6 pm
Finger Lakes Wine Center, 237 South Cayuga St, Ithaca
Farmers: $25; Farmer Fans: $40

NOFA-NY & Edible Finger Lakes invite you for a Farmer Happy Hour! The evening will feature local & sustainable wines, hors d'oeuvres & mingling with area farmers. All proceeds support NOFA-NY's ongoing work to support the education & training of organic farmers in NY. Casual attire is appropriate.

More farming and food events...

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Groundswell's monthly newsletter is edited by Rachel Firak, Groundswell's New Farmer Training Coordinator. She can be reached at rachel@groundswellcenter.org.