From the Director Invest in Your Local Food System...... And Enjoy a Frabjous\* Day of Farm Fun! \*Fabulous, joyous; great, wonderful! We are reall


From the Director


Photo by Liz Karabinakis

Invest in Your Local Food System...... And Enjoy a Frabjous* Day of Farm Fun!

*Fabulous, joyous; great, wonderful!

We are really looking forward to our first ever Groundswell Local Food & Farming Festival on October 21! It's going to be a great family event, with lots of good food, farm products, and fun educational activities for children, local food enthusiasts, aspiring homesteaders, gardeners and all-around good time seekers. It's also an important opportunity for us to raise funds for Groundswell's Incubator Farm, which will provide affordable access to land, agricultural infrastructure, and mentoring for aspiring farmers with limited resources.

BUY TICKETS HERE!. Please donate as much as you can using our secure online system. Investing in your local food system has never been so much fun!

Calling are farmers, engineers, designers and tinkerers!

Register now for Farm Hack Ithaca on October 20-21! Join Groundswell, Cayuga Pure Organics, National Young Farmers' Coalition, Greenhorns, and NOFA-NY for a day and a half of discussion, design charettes, presentations, and demos about innovative farm techniques and systems. Farm Hack is a national network of farmers and technical experts who share, discuss, design, and refine tools related to biological or mechanical on-farm innovation.


Welcome Back Students!

welcom back students

Groundswell would like to extend a big welcome to new and returning students!

To celebrate the start of the new year, Groundswell would like to announce two new student internship opportunities with Groundswell through the Sustainability Internship Program, a program of the Tompkins County Planning Department.

Intern 1: Administrative Assistant
Intern 2: Community Outreach and Event Planning

The positions will be either work-study (paid) or volunteer position. Students of color and students with very limited financial resources are strongly encouraged to apply. Please go to Sustainability Internship Program for more details on how to apply.



The Jewel of Lisle: A Garden Provides

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Photo by Barbara C. Harrison

by Barbara C. Harrison

“Traveling to Apalachin, NY in June 2011, I came across a community garden. I stopped and walked the area. I was so taken with the size and beauty of the garden. This was not a community garden as we would characteristically think of a community garden, divided into individual plots and worked by individuals. It was one large plot gardened by the community. There was no one around, just a sign saying, ‘Take what you can use for the next two days,” recounts Jodie Van Wert, founder of the Lisle Community Garden.

A seed was planted. As she drove toward home, Jodie began thinking about how this kind of garden could become a reality in the Village of Lisle where she resides and works as a postal employee. “I deliver the mail. I see how people live. There is a huge need in this area for fresh vegetables and food. It is not available,” states Jodie.

A few months later, Jodie contacted Jerry Mackey, the Mayor of Lisle about the concept of a garden for the Village. He agreed, and her idea for a Lisle Community Garden began to take shape.

Lisle is a small town located in the Southern Tier of New York State where everyone knows everyone else. All you need to do is mention your idea to one person. Word of mouth will spread it around town and bring to the table a group of interested people that have a passion, in this instance for gardening and/or giving.



Get ready for the Food Justice Summit!


Walkathon and Block Party Coming This Saturday, Sep. 22!

Groundswell is proud to be collaborating with GreenStar Community Projects to present Ithaca’s Second Annual Food Justice Summit on Saturday, September 22nd from 10am-7pm in downtown Ithaca. The purpose of this uplifting multicultural family-friendly event is to promote social justice and community well-being and to raise funds to grow a sustainable local food system that promotes health, equity, and community control of essential resources. GreenStar Community Projects is a not-for-profit educational organization affiliated with GreenStar Cooperative Market.

Click HERE to make a donation.

A highlight of this year’s summit will be a keynote address and workshop by Charity Hicks, Co-Creator of the Detroit Food Justice Task Force and founding member of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. Hicks has worked for over ten years in research, public policy, and community activism in Detroit on health disparities, environment, food and nutrition. She is currently serving as a prestigious fellow for EAT4Health a national leadership development initiative that aims to fill gaps in the existing food policy advocacy ecosystem in order to make it more inclusive of low-income and people of color communities, more responsive to grassroots needs and ideas, and more effective in terms of protecting the environment, promoting good health, and rebuilding strong local economies.



Student Spotlight: Jasmine Bustle

Jasmine Bustle

Jasmine Bustle

Jasmine Bustle participated in Groundswell's Summer Practicum of 2012. In this interview with Groundswell's Milagros Gustafson-Hernandez, she shares her experience in the Practicum and her hopes for the future.

MGH: What was your experience growing up related to farming, gardening and food?
JB: I didn't have much direct farming experience. I worked in kitchens most of my life. My grandmother sells sushi at the Famers Market. My father has always had a vegetable garden. He recently bought land out in Groton. This year he's growing squash, okra, tomatoes, jalepenos, greenbeans, yellow squash, watermelon, garlic, lettuce and more! Right now I'm exploring my options, and food and farming is one of them. When I went back to school at TC3, I fell into human service classes; I ended up taking some career exploration quizzes and they said I'd be a natural mechanic, or chef. I heard about Groundswell's Summer Practicum while in school, trying out different things.

MGH: What was your experience in the Summer Practicum like?
JB: The Practicum really expanded my thinking in a lot of different ways. It was very intense, a lot of information and some really dynamic people. I really learned a lot- for example, I was aware of many food system issues already, but I didn't know the extent of the food desert problem. That's something I have experienced personally, having lived in poor communities, places that did not have supermarkets. These days I'm much more focused on growing food with my dad. I still don't know if I want to farm someday- if so, perhaps something small, for friends and family. I'm thinking of a roadside vegetable stand at the end of my dad’s driveway. I know a friend who would be willing to teach me how to save seeds, too.

MGH: Where are you and what are you doing now, and what are your plans for the future?
JB: I'm living in Danby, working on my 2 year degree in human services, helping out with the vegetable garden, and raising my daughter. I graduate in May 2013 and would like to use my degree somehow to do work in the food system, perhaps in food education. People take more pride in food they cultivate themselves. Society doesn't often acknowledge where food comes from and how you can grow a lot of it yourself. Growing your own tomato plant can really make you look at food differently!


Making Waves: Social Justice, Racism and Agriculture


Groundswell staff, farmer friends, and NYC activist Karen Washington visit West Haven Farm and the Groundswell Incubator Farm.

Groundswell continues the conversation, locally and nationally

Groundswell’s Director Joanna Green and Administrative Manager Millie Gustafson Hernandez were featured panelists in a recent national webinar hosted by the Northeast Beginning Farmer Learning Network. We shared our reflections on Groundswell's efforts over the past several years to become a more diverse and "culturally competent" organization, and talked about the historical and ongoing impacts of racism and "white privilege" in agriculture and the food system.

Join the conversation!
You can still view our presentation online, along with a talk by Dr. Gail Myers of Farms to Grow Inc., in Oakland, CA. Is Your New Farmer Support Inclusive? Cultural Competency for Organizations Serving Diverse Beginning Farmer Audiences. August 27, 2012.


The Quintessential Black Farmer: Juju Harris

juju harris

Juju Harris

By Kirtrina Baxter

Since my interest in this food justice movement began, I have met so many wonderful agriculturalists and foodies. The faces of a lot of these people are black and brown, and that is a telling statement of how the movement is bringing out and together those communities who are most affected by poor and non-foods. It is a fact that the poor health of those individuals in Black and Latino communities is exaggerated due to the lack of healthy foods, and pioneers from these communities are making strides towards changing this. JuJu Harris from Maryland is just one of those pioneers.

Juju has years of experience in nutrition education and gardening. She is a passionate advocate of healthy living and works at the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, in the DC area. The Arcadia Center has many services and programs, including an educational farm, a mobile market, a farm-to-school network and is looking into providing a food hub. Juju works most closely with the mobile market. She says one of the things she enjoys most about this is seeing the same people week to week and talking to them about food.

Juju commonly sets up shop in several markets, and they all have an interest in serving people of limited means. One of the markets has a token program that allows SNAP, WIC and elderly residents with farmers market vouchers to trade in for tokens that are matched dollar for dollar by the produce vendors. This program only dispenses a certain amount of tokens to the recipients weekly so that their vouchers may last them the entire month. Although this program is not in any of the markets where Juju works, she sees that this program is most effective in helping folks to sustain their federal dollars towards healthy eating throughout the month. One of the pitfalls of receiving federal food dollars is the probability of running out of benefits before the middle of the month, making it difficult to feed families in the later days of the month.



Register for Groundswell's New Farmer Classes!

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A simple prototype for a beginning aquaponics system, built by trainees in Groundswell's Intro to Aquaponics class.

Join trainees in Groundswell's Sustainable Farming Certificate Program for the the following classes, open to the public:

9/26 Intro to Mushroom Cultivation
Blue Oyster Cultivation, Dryden, NY

Instructors: Joe Rizzo, Wendy Gravenstein-Rizzo and Carl Whittaker of Blue Oyster Cultivation
This class will cover basic mushroom biology, mushroom spawn production, indoor and outdoor mushroom production, and grow room design. We will emphasize practical solutions for small-scale/hobby mushroom producers. This information-heavy class will use lecture, demonstration, and hands-on exercises to give the students a basic foundation in mushroom production.
Cost: $25

11/5 Integrating Perennials, Annuals and Animals: Broad-scale permaculture
The Good Life Farm, Interlaken, NY

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.
Cost: $25

You must register in advance -- send us an email at Cost is $25 per class.


Cornell Small Farms Program: Get Help Writing Your Farm Business Plan this Fall

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It is rare for a farm to be an accidental success; having a written document laying out the farm's goals, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operation is essential to demonstrate the feasibility of the farmer's plans. A business plan is also a must-have for anyone seeking loans or grants to help fund their farm's development.

This Fall, you can get personal guidance in writing your farm business plan by taking an online course offered by the Cornell Small Farms Program. BF 202: Planning for Sustainability - Writing Your Business Plan is a fast-paced course covering one section of the business plan each week. Through weekly webinars, you'll hear from farmers, business management educators, and bankers about what makes a good business plan. You'll get personal feedback on each section of your business plan as you complete the weekly homework. The course begins Thurs. Oct 4 and runs for 6 weeks through Nov. 8, with evening webinars every Thursday. The cost is $200. Registration closes when the course fills up or by Sept 26. For more details visit our website

This course is only one of many offered over the Fall, Winter and Spring by the Cornell Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension. For the full course menu, visit


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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.