Groundswell News February 2014From Our Incubator Coordinator Groundswell's Incubator Coordinator Devon Van Noble is also a beginning farmer in his o


Groundswell News February 2014

From Our Incubator Coordinator

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Waiting for spring at the Groundswell Incubator Farm

Groundswell's Incubator Coordinator Devon Van Noble is also a beginning farmer in his own right. With all the trials and tribulations that entails...

A few days ago it was in the 40’s in Enfield for a few minutes, and I slipped up and said, “Whew- Summer is coming!”

A friend laughed back at me, “Bahhh-- you are jumping the gun on that one, guy!”

This is only the second winter at Van Noble Farm, and it has been kind of a rough season. Sub-zero temperatures heading into December caught me off guard and rather unprepared to keep young piglets warm and protected.

My tool of choice for “unfreezing” water bins each day has been a hefty sledge hammer and a pair of rubber gloves, but often even that seems futile because ice crusts form after 10 minutes.

I know I am not the only livestock producer who is suffering from the “Polar Vortices” that have characterized this winter. My heart goes out to all those producers who have had to clench their teeth to make it through to spring.

It’s not that I don’t still have a fondness for the snow, the stillness, and the cold— I just have a different perspective on this season now. It can be enjoyable and beautiful, but it carries a serious potential for hardship. Thankfully, SPRING IS COMING! And there are so many exciting projects to look forward to in 2014. Read more...

Waiting for spring,
Devon Van Noble


Community College Farming Program has Groundswell Roots


Todd McLane, now Organic Farm Director for TC3, is shown teaching Groundswell's Summer Practicum students in 2010.

TC3's new Sustainable Farming and Food Systems program grew out of Groundswell's Summer Practicum

Groundswell is delighted to welcome TC3's new Sustainable Farming and Food Systems program onto the scene!

And we're especially pleased to announce that long-time Groundswell Mentor Farmer Todd McLane will serve as Director of the new TC3 Organic Farm.

TC3's new program had its origins in Groundswell's Summer Practicum in Sustainable Farming and Local Food Systems, which we offered from 2010 to 2012 in collaboration with the community college.

TC3 President Carl Haynes was impressed with the program and with the enthusiasm of our students. And he appreciated the fact that Groundswell was bringing new students to TC3 from as far away as North Carolina. So he and TC3 colleagues have been working hard since then to develop the new Farm-To-Bistro venture. Read more...


Farming in Your Future? Join Finger Lakes CRAFT!

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CRAFT members gather monthly to learn from experienced Mentor Farmers.

A community of experienced and beginning farmers, farm interns and employees

2014 CRAFT Schedule

3rd Mondays each month, May-October
10 AM - 3 PM with potluck lunch
Morning farm tour & afternoon workshop

Groundswell Finger Lakes CRAFT - a Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training - meets monthly throughout the growing season at each of six Mentor Farms to learn about that farm operation, ask lots of questions, share knowledge and network.

CRAFT membership is open to all farm interns, employees, aspiring and experienced farmers, including organic, conventional or other. Mentor Farms and schedule details will be posted by April 1.

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!


NEW! Trainee Video: Maria Klemperer-Johnson

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Watch the video on our You-Tube channel!

Hammerstone Orchards will produce cider apples for the blossoming artisan cider industry

Check out our new video profile of Groundswell student and budding farmer Maria Klemperer-Johnson reflecting on her experience in Groundswell's farm business planning course, and her and her partner Chad's vision for their farm business.

"I've been working as a carpenter for about 12 years, and Chad is a stonemason, and we bought this property 2 1/2 years ago. We wanted to make use of it, we wanted to do something with it that was productive, and that might generate a little extra income, and that our family could be involved in... Our business plan is to be an apple wholesaler, to provide distinctive hard cider varieties to the new craft cideries that are popping up in the area."

Watch Maria's video profile HERE. Read about Maria HERE.
Check out other Groundswell Trainee Videos HERE.


Volunteer Spotlight: Owen Raymond


Owen Raymond, Senior Loan Officer with Farm Credit East and Groundswell volunteer

by Devon Van Noble

In this area, we are blessed to work with so many multi-faceted “talents”. Owen Raymond of Farm Credit East is one of these tremendous talents that has been dedicating his time and effort to supporting beginning farmers in the Groundswell community over the past two years. At Farm Credit East, a farmer-owned cooperative, Owen is a Senior Loan Officer who works closely with many sizes and types of local farms to help them grow and succeed. With Groundswell, Owen works with the Groundswell Incubator Development Team as a financing and enterprise adviser.

"Farming is very capital-intensive and requires a lot of training and experience, so it's difficult to have the resources to get started," says Owen. "I work with Groundswell to help beginning farmers overcome these barriers. Farm Credit has always tried to serve the whole agricultural community. Our FarmStart program was created to serve the smallest, beginning farmers."

Owen is also an Ithaca farmer, and owns his own business, Finger Lakes Maple. Through his maple business, Owen has learned a lot about the realities of farm production and financing— knowledge that makes him uniquely equipped at Farm Credit and in volunteering with Groundswell.

Thank you Owen!


Looking for Farm Work? Check our Classifieds

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

Farm Work Trade - Cortland, NY

We are a small diversified urban farm that focuses on Aquaponics, organic plants, and high tunnel vegetables. For working 15 hours a week you will be provided housing around the corner from our Cortland farm from mid May to mid August. More

Youth Gardening/Sustainability Educator - Trumansburg, NY

Help design and run gardening programs, woodworking projects, solar power projects, and other sustainability education programs for elementary, middle, and high schoolers in the Trumansburg public schools and other schools in the area. Preference given to those living locally. More

Farm Apprentices - Syracuse, NY

We are a small, sustainable vegetable farm that focuses on using bio-intensive practices and enriching the soil through compost and green manures. Apprentices receive a monthly stipend, produce from the farm, and can attend various workshops throughout the season through NOFA-NY. More

CSA Farm Employee - Ithaca

We grow 25 acres of certified organic vegetables. Duties include some tractor work, if you’re interested, and planting (greenhouse seeding, field seeding, and transplanting), cultivating, harvesting, washing, packing, and possibly fencing, light carpentry, vegetable delivery, etc. More

Full-time Orchard Worker - Interlaken, NY

We are looking for a full time orchard worker for the 2014 season. You will be participating in all aspects of a fruit farm and cidery from nursery work, record keeping, planting, orchard maintenance, harvesting and fermenting. More

Farm Apprentice - Madison, NY

Apprentices learn how the farm works from seed to distribution by participating in greenhouse seeding, transplanting, cultivation, pest control, harvesting, farmers markets, CSA distribution and more. More

Work-Trade CSA Members - Hector, NY

We will train you in the basics of seed-starting, transplanting, cultivation, harvesting and soil care; as well as the business and marketing aspects of running a small vegetable CSA. More
See More Classifieds


New Farm Bill Brings Back USDA Support for Beginning Farmers!


President Obama signs the new Farm Bill.

On Friday, February 7th, the Farm Bill was signed into law. USDA's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which has been a major supporter of Groundswell programs, was expanded to $100 million over 5 year ($20 million a year). This is an increase in resources and duration from the last farm bill which was $75 million over 4 years.

BFRDP policy generally stayed the same (which is good). There is a new recognition of veteran farmers in the program. A major disappointment was a reduction in the set-aside from 25% of yearly funds to 5% of yearly funds for groups assisting socially-disadvantaged or limited resource producers. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition put together a great infographic to help us understand the sustainable agriculture movement's "wins" and "losses" in the bill. Here's where the money is going (click on the image for more information):

2014 farm bill

Resource Spotlight: The NOFA-NY/Stone Barns Technical Consultancy Program

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Technical consultants are available for help in the field or the farm office.

Who you gonna call?

Free consultations for beginning farmers whenever you need them!

Through a new joint initiative, NOFA-NY and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture are facilitating short-term, technically-focused consultations between new and experienced farmers.

The Technical Consultancy Program consists of a roster of Northeast farmers and farm-friendly business consultants, who apply for the role of educators through this program. Beginning farmers can use this directory to work through production and business challenges they face--up to six hours of consultation per topic.

Learn more, and download the consultant directory HERE


Become a Groundswell Member!


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
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