Groundswell News April 2014From the Director What works? Farmer-led education. I love it when a group of really wonderful people put their heads to


Groundswell News April 2014

From the Director

Ian Teaches Pruning WEB

Groundswell's popular Organic Orchards class met in February at Black Diamond Farm in Trumansburg to study pruning techniques with master orchardist Ian Merwin.

What works? Farmer-led education.

I love it when a group of really wonderful people put their heads together to make something happen. I love it when a really great idea turns into reality. And I especially love it when it turns out to be a lot of fun!

That's what's happening with Groundswell's new season-long course in Holistic Organic Orchard Management.

Last year a group of small-scale commercial orchardists came to Groundswell and proposed a new program to meet the needs of the emerging organic tree fruits industry. It's hard to grow quality fruit organically, and here in the Ithaca area there's a tremendous amount of innovation going on in local orchards.

Growers wanted an opportunity to share their knowledge, compare notes, and educate their employees about effective organic management strategies. More...

Joanna Green, Director


Calling All Homesteaders!

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Steve Austin leads a tour of his suburban homestead for Groundswell's Homesteaders Network in 2013.

Not sure if you’re a farmer or a gardener?

Serious about growing things, but not for sale? Eager to learn from other serious homestead-scale producers - rural, urban and suburban? Then join Groundswell's Homestead Farmers & Gardeners Network.

We gather from 3:30 - 5:30 PM on the 2nd Sunday of each month, May through October. First we tour the homestead of our host, and then talk shop over refreshments. It's a great chance to see some super interesting places and learn from each other about the art of homestead farming.

Participation in the Homesteaders Network is one of the benefits of your Groundswell Membership. If you're already a Groundswell Member just send an email to letting us know you'd like to be part of the Homesteaders Network. You will receive invitations to each monthly gathering. You must register in advance each month, since space is limited. Sorry but we cannot accept walk-ins.

Not a Groundswell Member yet? Join HERE!


Finger Lakes CRAFT starts May 17!

Karma Cultivating 7-12-2010 WEB

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

There's still time to join this community of experienced and beginning farmers, farm interns and employees

2014 marks the 5th year of Groundswell's Finger Lakes CRAFT - a Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training. We meet monthly throughout the growing season at each of six Mentor Farms. The morning farm tour is followed by an afternoon workshop on a specific topic. Join CRAFT here.

2014 CRAFT Schedule:

Saturday May 17: CRAFT Orientation & Potluck

6-9 PM. Meet the Mentor Farmers and fellow CRAFT members

Monday May 19: Kingbird Farm

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

Monday June 16: Northland Sheep Dairy

10 AM - 3 PM. PM workshop: Sheep Management and Health Maintenance

Monday, July 21, Main Street Farms

10 AM - 3 PM. PM workshop: Aquaponics systems

Click here for complete 2014 schedule...

CRAFT membership is open to all farm interns, employees, aspiring and experienced farmers, including organic, conventional or other. To join the CRAFT, first join as a member of Groundswell HERE. Then fill out your CRAFT membership form HERE. There is no additional fee for joining the CRAFT. Join CRAFT today!


Volunteer Spotlight: Thank You Hoophouse Builders!

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Volunteers and staff fasten the plastic on our brand new 20' x 72' hoophouse at the Groundswell Incubator Farm. Photo by Jim Bosjolie.

We want to shout out a huge THANK YOU to the generous volunteers who have helped Groundswell install our new hoophouse at the Incubator Farm.

Sara Koste, Rafael Aponte, Ann Piombino, Aidan Hodges, and Elan Shapiro have shown up to work in all sorts of Spring weather to put together this big puzzle. They have laid down ground cover, put up the walls, carried the hoops, built the endwalls, attached wiggle wire, and bolted everything together…

We really appreciate the hours that each of them took to work with us and get the project completed in short time. All that is left to do is put the plastic on the roof and get the BCS tractor out to prepare the beds!

The 72’ long hoophouse at the Incubator Farm was manufactured locally by the Howard Hoover Family Farm in Penn Yan. Hoover's tubular steel structures have become fairly popular due to the ease of installation and mobility. More...


Farm-Based Education Summer Internship!


Our Farm-Based Education Intern will coordinate monthly farm tours of the Finger Lakes Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training. Here the CRAFT visits organic grain grower Thor Oechsner in Enfield.

Make a difference while building your resume

Groundswell's farm-based education programs provide a unique training experience for aspiring educators. This summer we are offering one unpaid Summer Internship in Farm-Based Education.

This position runs June through August and require a commitment of at least 20 hours per month. The intern will assist with managing Groundswell's Homesteaders Network, Finger Lakes CRAFT and other programs, and will gain experience in program design and delivery, marketing, and evaluation.

A Groundswell Center Internship Certificate and a small stipend will be awarded at the end of the season. If you're interested in applying, send resume and cover letter to:


New Trainee Video: Matt Gordon of the Chimney Swift Collective

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Watch the video on our You-Tube channel!

Groundswell trainee talks farming, gardening, and advice for beginning farmers

In this new video profile, former Groundswell trainee Matt Gordon (of the Chimney Swift Collective, a shared land project in Mecklenburg, NY) talks about his experience in Groundswell's Sustainable Farming Certificate Program and what he's learned about farming, gardening and homesteading.

"In terms of advice, I would say: put yourself out there, do as much as you can to explore as many different farms and meet as many different farmers,
and see who you can click with, especially if you have the possibility of doing that before going for a full season.

"Say yes to things and be honest, and try to communicate as clearly as you can."

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


Food Justice Focus: Practicing Permaculture for Food AND Justice

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We liked this profile of FLPCI alumna Anna McCown so much, we had to share it! Anna also works with former Groundswell trainees Betti and Joe Lambro, and Sasha Salayda of Giving Ground Farm.

From our friends at the Finger Lakes Permculture Institute...

Anna McCown was raised as a Southern Baptist in subtropical Alabama. Yet now we find her as a queer southerner surviving the cold winters of upstate New York learning how to appreciate the summertime while honing her permaculture organizing skills.

Anna has been insatiably curious about agriculture and food ways in cultures around the world. In 2009 Anna started volunteering at the West End Community Garden in Birmingham with some friends. While living and working in the neighborhood, the fires of justice were kindled in her heart and she began to understand the connection between social and ecological change. She and a friend created a short documentary about the garden. In 2009 and 2010 she spent the summers living and working with the indigenous people of the island of Nayau, Fiji as part of a National Science Foundation fellowship in cultural and archaeological anthropology. In 2011 she earned her Permaculture Design Certificate from the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute (FLPCI).



New Classifieds

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There are lots of new listings on our Local Food & Farming Classifieds web pages. Here's a sample.

Vegetable Farm Workers Wanted

Opportunity: Full time crew members needed at Blue Heron Farm
Description: Full time crew members needed, May or June through December 1st, full time. We've been organic farmers for 33 years, opportunity to learn and advance.
Compensation: Starting at $8.50 per hour, more with significant experience. More

Organic Blueberry CSA Work Trade

Opportunity: BLUEBERRY CSA - work barter for berries.
Description: I am looking for three to four folks who are interested in learning about and participating in all of the stages of the blueberry cycle in return for a bounty of free U-Pick organic blueberries later in the summer. More

Gardening Apprentice Seeks Mentor

Description: I've grown vegetables and flowers in an organic community garden plot for a few years, and find I need to learn more about tending the soil so the yield is greater. I would like to work elbow to elbow with an experienced gardener who could use a hand during the spring/summer. Have basic gardening skills, quick learner, not great with heavy lifting but diligent and I work and play well with others! More

Land Partners Wanted

Location: Van Etten, NY
Description: I am looking for someone to purchase and split this fantastic parcel with me. Owner is willing to sell these 50 gorgeous acres to the right folks -- ie youngish people who are passionate about agriculture and will be good neighbors. Land is situated at a road's end. Fields have great southern exposure and are perfect for pasture or permaculture! Some mature hardwood forest, some young woods, two ponds,(no remaining buildings) great neighbors and flourishing local community. More
See more classifieds


Become a Groundswell Member!

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Groundswell farmer Rafael Aponte of Rocky Acres Farm talks about farming with visiting high schoolers from Boston.

Training new farmers is resource-intensive. We can't do it without the generous support of our members.

Your contribution is an investment in a strong and equitable regional food system.

Your membership contribution of $25 or more includes:

Discounts all Groundswell Programs
Free Admission 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!

Additional donations help support our work and our trainees.

Click here to make a secure online membership contribution today.

For more information, call us at (607) 319-5095 or email