Groundswell News February 2015 From the Director We’re growing! I’m thrilled to report that Groundswell has been awarded a second major grant from

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Groundswell News February 2015


From the Director


Winter microgreens at West Haven Farm.

We’re growing!

I’m thrilled to report that Groundswell has been awarded a second major grant from USDA’s Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program!

The 3-year grant, totaling over $700,000, enables us to hire new staff and:
* Expand our technical & business training programs for diverse beginning farmers;
* Expand our Farm Business Incubator Program by securing a second, much larger Incubator Farm site;
* Develop new marketing opportunities for beginning farmers;
* Support the development of cooperative farm business models;
* Provide high quality, on-farm learning opportunities for those just beginning to explore farming as a possible career.

We’re partnering closely with local farmers on the USDA grant project, and with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s South Central NY Agriculture Program. Read on for information on some of the programs supported by this grant. And we'll keep you posted as we roll out additional programs and events throughout the year.

Joanna Green


Year-Round High Tunnels!

Plowbreak High Tunnel

High tunnel at Plowbreak Farm.

Last chance to register for monthly series

8 Sunday afternoons, March through November

High tunnels are becoming a must have tool for produce farmers looking to extend the season in spring and fall, and to protect crops from weather, pests and disease during the growing season. If you are considering the purchase of a high tunnel or want to become more proficient at using tunnels you have, this series is for you. Read more.

This course is expected to fill up soon, so please register asap by completing the online form HERE.


Introducing new Groundswell staff

Becca Rimmel

Becca Rimmel, Education Program Manager

Becca will be coordinating a number of Groundswell programs, including Finger Lakes CRAFT, Year-Round High Tunnels, Draft Animal Practicum, Finger Lakes Orchards Exchange, Cooperative Farming Network, and several other programs still being developed.

Becca brings to Groundswell a passion for sustainable food systems, awesome organizing skills, and years of experience with curriculum development, educational and mentoring program design, volunteer coordination, non-profit management, and group facilitation. Read more.

Rafa cropped

Rafael Aponte, Outreach Specialist

Rafa will be leading our outreach program, ensuring that Groundswell is connecting with the diverse audiences that we aspire to support. He will also be the lead curriculum designer for our Farming Opportunities workshops and Farming While Brown programs. A beginning farmer himself, Rafa's Rocky Acres Farm will serve as a host site for some of these programs.

Rafael Aponte was born and raised in the South Bronx and has over twelve years of experience working as a community activist, advocate, and educator. Read more.


Announcing FLOX: The new Finger Lakes Orchards Exchange

Chris and Peach WEB

Experienced and beginning orchardists are invited to join FLOX!

Calling all orchardists and cider makers!

FLOX is a brand new farmer-to-farmer
learning network for beginning and experienced orchardists. Organized by the participants in Groundswell's 2014 course in Holistic Organic Orchard Management, FLOX meets monthly at area orchards to discuss production, marketing and management challenges, with a focus on organic and holistic systems.

Join FLOX members on March 15 for a discussion of Crop Load Management with Mike Biltonen.

FLOX is led by farmers, for farmers, and is open to new members. Groundswell is providing some organizing support for FLOX's first year. You can sign up to join FLOX using our online Program Interest Form.


And more upcoming programs...

Groundswell is offering the following Programs in 2015, and others which we'll be announcing in future newsletters. Click on this online Program Interest Form to express your interest in one or more of these programs. We’ll send you registration details and tuition information for each program as it is available.

Remembrance 2012 CRAFT WEB-Marcia Harrington

Finger Lakes CRAFT

The Finger Lakes Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training is a community of established and beginning farmers, dedicated to supporting new farmers through peer-to-peer education and networking. CRAFT meets for monthly farm tours, May to November, as well as for social gatherings. Read more.

Potting Shed WEB

Homesteaders Network

Serious about growing things, but not necessarily for sale? Our Homestead Farmers & Gardeners Network meets one Sunday each month, 3:30 - 5:30 PM May through October. First we tour the homestead of our host, and then talk shop over refreshments. Read more.

Cooperative Farming Network

This is a learning network dedicated to exploring and developing cooperative models for farm business management and marketing. We have an active e-lists, and will be hosting gatherings where you can meet others interested in farming cooperatively. Groundswell Members can join the Network now via this online Program Interest Form.

2014 Draft Animals  16

Draft Animals Practicum

How Draft Horses & Mules Think: Horse Training Methods for Beginning Teamsters

This two-day, hands-on workshop will be held Saturday & Sunday, May 2-3 at Northland Sheep Dairy in Marathon. Presented by Donn's Teamster Training School, this class is appropriate for anyone considering getting started with draft animals, or with a few years of teamster experience. Read more.

Educator Training for Farmers

On March 30 we'll be offering our annual workshop for farmers who want to become more effective educators. Learn new skills and share best practices for engaging your employees, interns, tour groups, and other visitors on your farm. Preregister using our online Program Interest Form.


Groundswell Classifieds


Please support our work.

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Training new farmers is resource-intensive.

We can't do it without the generous support of individual and business donors. Your contribution is an investment in a sustainable and equitable regional food system.

Click HERE to make a secure online donation today.

You can also show your support by becoming a Groundswell Member. Membership provides you with:

Discounts on Groundswell Programs
Invitations to Groundswell Member Events
Opportunity to join the Groundswell Homesteaders Network
Opportunity to join the Groundswell CRAFT (aspiring commercial farmers only)
Monthly E-Newsletter
Very cool Membership Sticker!

Become a Groundswell Member HERE.

Groundswell is a Project Partner of the not-for-profit Center for Transformative Action. For more information, call us at (607) 319-5095 or email