Groundswell News October 2012 THIS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2012 JOIN US! BRING YOUR FAMILY & FRIENDS! Groundswell's Local Food & Farm Festival LOCAL F


Groundswell News October 2012




Join La Paladar Cuban Cuisine and other local vendors at the Festival!

Groundswell's Local Food & Farm Festival



Sunday, October 21, 2012 (12pm - 4pm)

Visit the site of Groundswell's new Farm Incubator at EcoVillage and...

Enjoy fun FARMING ACTIVITIES for kids of all ages! Card some wool, dig a soil sample, churn butter, and visit with farm animals!
Enjoy WORLD CUISINE featuring local farm products, including La Paladar Cuban Cuisine, Crooked Carrot Community Supported Kitchen, The Piggery and more!
Chat with Groundswell’s Farmer-Instructors and Beginning Farmers at our LOCAL FOODS MINI-MARKET!
See the newest in FARMING INVENTIONS including an aquaponics system, a Coolbot Cooler, and worm composting system, and learn how to build your own!
Take a TOUR of Groundswell’s Farm Enterprise Incubator, West Haven Farm and other EcoVillage highlights!
Help Groundswell raise funds to finish building the Farm Incubator!

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

Vendor Registration

Buy Tickets Online Now!


Groundswell Offers Winter Business Planning Course


Students in 2012's Farm Business Planning Course take some marketing tips from eLab's Eldred Harris.

Do you have the tools to make your new farm business thrive?

In collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and Alternatives Federal Credit Union’s Business CENTS Program, Groundswell will offer an intensive Farm Business Planning Course in the winter of 2013. The class covers all major aspects of the farm business start-up process, including assessing your resources; legal and regulatory issues; production planning; marketing; financial feasibility, budgets and recordkeeping; and more. It is also appropriate for established farmers who want to improve their business planning and management skills.

Groundswell Farm Business Planning Course

Dates: January 10 - March 14, 2012 every Thursday evening for ten weeks.

Time: 6:00 - 9:00 PM

Location: Ithaca

Sliding Scale Tuition: $120 to $400

The course is designed for those who:

Have at least a year of hands-on farming experience, OR have completed Groundswell’s Sustainable Farming Certificate Program;
Have a clear business concept and expect to get started within a year, or are in already in business;
Can fully commit to an intensive ten-week course with substantial outside research and homework.

The class will run for ten weeks, meeting every Thursday evening from 6-9pm from January 10 through March 14. Instructors are Monika Roth, Agriculture Program Leader and Matt LeRoux, Agriculture Marketing Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, and Leslie Ackerman, Director of the Business CENTS Program of Alternatives Federal Credit Union, along with area farmers and business owners whose stories illustrate the benefits of business planning and financial management skills.

"This is a rigorous course for the serious farming entrepreneur,” says Joanna Green, Director of the Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming. “We are really pleased to be working with Monika, Matt and Leslie. They are very skilled teachers with a lot of practical knowledge to offer.”

Groundswell is committed to supporting a new generation of farmers that reflects the diversity of culture, color, and class in our community. Tuition for the class is on a sliding scale, from $120 – $400 depending on household income. It is NOT a requirement that you own land or have the financial resources to own land. This course will examine opportunities to lease land for farming in the Tompkins County area, and to secure financing through ag and commercial lenders or local “Slow Money” investors.

Applications will be available in November. To express your interest, contact us at or call 607 319 5095.


Applications now being accepted for Groundswell Incubator Farm!

When the ice melts next spring, and the sun starts warming the ground, Groundswell's first group of “incubees” will be moving into their newly-leased sites at the Groundswell Incubator Farm, located at EcoVillage. Application forms for the Farm Enterprise Incubator Program are now available online, and we are encouraging all types of beginning farmers to consider applying.

The Groundswell Incubator Farm offers a relatively low-risk entry avenue for new producers by providing access to land, production and marketing infrastructure, production support services (such as tractor tillage), and ongoing support from experienced farmer- and business- mentors.

If you think you might be interested in the Incubator, we encourage you to meet one-on-one with incubator Coordinator Devon Van Noble, who can answer your questions and help you complete the application forms. You can reach Devon at, or (607)319-5095. Or you can find the application materials online at Click on Programs/Incubator.

The Incubator Application Form has two parts: Part 1 is a Personal Data Form and Part 2 is a Farm Enterprise Data Form. Your responses will give us a picture of your farm business concept, your cultural and farming background is, your current resources and your needs, both personally and for the business.

Learn about the Incubator Oversight Team...


Groundswell New Farmer Workshops


John Reynolds from Daring Drake shows students how to graft apples using the t-budding technique.

Join students in Groundswell's Sustainable Farming Certificate Program and the Finger Lakes CRAFT for our New Farmer workshops coming up this fall.

SFCP Elective: Designing and Constructing a Deer Fence
Monday, October 22, 1-4 pm
West Haven Farm, 114 Rachel Carson Way, Ithaca, NY 14850
Instructor: John Bokaer-Smith, Todd McLane

This workshop will provide students with a framework for identifying their fencing needs. Students will gain hands-on familiarity with woven wire deer fence and the tools needed to construct it. This class includes a hands-on fence repair activity. If you have your own gloves, please bring them.

SFCP Elective: Vegetable Record Keeping and Enterprise Analysis
Wednesday, October 24, 5-8 pm
EcoVillage FROG Common House
Instructors: John Bokaer-Smith and Todd McLane

This workshop will provide students with some familiarity with Enterprise Budgets and how they offer insight to your farm enterprise. Students will be able to identify what records need to be kept and how to set up a record keeping system that is efficient and effective during the busy farm season, using West Haven Farm's record keeping system as a guide.

SFCP Elective: Integrating Perennials, Annuals and Animals: Broad-scale permaculture
Monday, November 5, 1-4 pm (immediately after November CRAFT Tour)
The Good Life Farm, 4017 Hickok Rd, Interlaken, NY
Instructors: Melissa Madden and Garrett Miller

In this workshop, participants will follow up on design principles from previous SFCP classes, examine design principles for successfully creating a working farm based on permaculture basics, and explore The Good Life Farm's design concept. Holistic orchard management, polycultures, keyline design, and low-energy systems for farm power will be discussed. The workshop will also showcase The Good Life Farm's specific integration of perennials, annuals and animals and the marketing and financial timelines associated with these enterprises.


Infrastructure, Equipment, and Tools

Incubator - Test Hole - Promotional picture - small

Digging a test hole at the Incubator Farm.

By Devon Van Noble

Finding or creating the right tool for the job. Using what you have in front of you. Self-sufficiency. Ingenuity.

These are parts of farming that are really exciting to many farmers. It’s an inspiring time to be part of the sustainable farming community, because there is a movement of innovative thinkers that are developing new techniques for producing and processing food that are cost-effective and accessible. All types of farmers are utilizing these kinds of innovations to save money and labor, improve the function of their tools and farm, and most importantly, to create quality products without high-risk investments in capital.

Groundswell has been gearing up for the launch of the Farm Enterprise Incubator Program in early 2013, and began prepping fields at EcoVillage over this summer. At the Incubator Farm, beginning farmers will be able to get access not only to land, but also to infrastructure, equipment, and tools. These things are essential to start growing food, but they're things that many new producers can’t afford before they are making sales of their own. Once enrolled, Incubees will be able to lease land for up to 3 years before they graduate from the Program and are expected to transition to a new property. This allows for new groups of beginning farmers to continue entering the program and benefit from the same infrastructure and resources.

Through a partnership between the Groundswell Center, beginning farmers, and support from the broader community, the “Incubees” will benefit from a three-year window to create enough revenue to capitalize their enterprise and transition to new land. The community, in turn, will be supporting an enduring framework for new farmers to learn the skills and access the resources necessary to operate sustainable farm businesses that can feed local people. The Incubator Program could play a significant role in the food and farming system in this region.



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Groundswell's monthly newsletter is compiled by Milagros Gustafson-Hernandez, Administrative Manager, and Rachel Firak, New Farmer Training Coordinator.

We accept article submissions from community groups. Contact us for more information.

The Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming is an initiative of the
EcoVillage at Ithaca Center for Sustainability Education, which is a
project of the Center for Transformative Action.