Groundswell News March 2014From the Director Congratulations 2014 Farm Biz! We're really excited about our latest crop of Farm Business Planning gr


Groundswell News March 2014

From the Director


2014 Farm Business Planning Course graduates and mentors.

Congratulations 2014 Farm Biz!

We're really excited about our latest crop of Farm Business Planning graduates. This year, fully half of our 18 trainees were already in business farming, making this our most advanced class yet. We're glad the word is getting out that business planning is not just for beginners! Look for information about our grads' businesses in future issues of this newsletter.

Cooperative Farming Anyone?

Running a farm as a couple or single person is damn hard, let's face it. There's almost always too much to do, a whole of stress, and a high risk of business failure if anything goes haywire. And what happens when the farmer(s) want to retire or move on? Too often, the business ends there.

I'm getting really interested in cooperative approaches to farm ownership and management. Cooperation may be the key to creating more robust businesses and more sustainable lifestyles for farmers.

Apparently there are a lot of you out there who are thinking the same thing. We had a fantastic and well attended discussion on cooperative farming just last week, and there are some cool ideas brewing. If you want to be part of the conversation, shoot us an email at

Joanna Green, Director


New Americans, New Farmers

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A New American farmer with Burlington, VT's New Farms for New Americans

How immigrants and refugees are enriching the landscape

by Susannah Spero

Farms run by New Americans are thriving all over the United States. Fueled primarily by federal and state funding, New American agriculture programs offer immigrants and refugees opportunities to prosper from their agricultural skills while gaining valuable English language, marketing, and management experience.

New Americans often worked as farmers in their native countries and thus possess a great deal of agricultural knowledge; however, after arriving in the United States, New Americans may lack the capital necessary to purchase land or manage a farm business.

Agricultural programming for New Americans extends the benefits of the local food and farming movement to these populations, merging public interest in the development of vibrant regional food economies with New Americans’ expertise and needs.



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

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: Gail and Richard Erali, Second Wind Organic Farm

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Watch the video on our You-Tube channel!

"Organic farming works. Which sounds funny to someone who grows up thinking in that way, but none of us did."

In this new video profile former Groundswell students Gail and Richard Erali talk about going from gardeners in Memphis, TN to beginning farmers in Trumansburg, NY.

"We would like to make it profitable. We've had a farmstead open for a couple of years, and we'll probably have a small CSA soon," says Gail.

Watch Gail and Richard talk about their journey and check out other Groundswell trainee videos by visiting our Youtube channel.


Food Justice Focus

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UN says democracy and diversity can mend broken food systems

GENEVA (10 March 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, today called for the world’s food systems to be radically and democratically redesigned to ensure the human right to adequate food and freedom from hunger.

“The eradication of hunger and malnutrition is an achievable goal. However, it will not be enough to refine the logic of our food systems – it must instead be reversed,” Mr. De Schutter stressed during the presentation of his final report to the UN Human Rights Council after a six-year term as Special Rapporteur.

The expert warned that the current food systems are efficient only from the point of view of maximizing agribusiness profits. “At the local, national and international levels, the policy environment must urgently accommodate alternative, democratically-mandated visions,” he said.

Objectives such as supplying diverse, culturally-acceptable foods to communities, supporting smallholders, sustaining soil and water resources, and raising food security within particularly vulnerable areas, must not be crowded out by the one-dimensional quest to produce more food.”



Looking for Land or 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.

Land - Spencer, NY

50 acre start up farm diversified livestock. situation a) you can come and live and do nothing and be a decent person and clean up after yourself. situation b) You can do all of option a, AND have an active interest in agriculture and want to pursue your own project.

Australian couple looking for farm work this summer

We will be traveling through the USA in 2014 and we're looking for a farm to work on for a month or two over the summer. We're not expecting payment - just somewhere to sleep and some fresh produce to cook and eat - hopefully somewhere not too far from Ithaca where we have family living. More

Work at West Haven Farm, Ithaca, NY

Since 1992, West Haven Farm has grown 10 acres of certified organic fruits and vegetables. We are seeking full-time, enthusiastic crewmembers who demonstrate a strong work ethic and the ability to work as part of a team.More

Work at Sweet Land Farm, Trumansburg, NY

The farm grows about 15 acres of vegetables fruit, and flowers, and 15 acres of cover crops. Work includes harvesting, planting, greenhouse work, irrigating, running the CSA distribution, and some basic tractor training and work. More
See More Classifieds


Introducing FL LandLink

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A resource for landowners seeking farmers, and farmers seeking land.

We are excited to announce that the Finger Lakes LandLink website is up and running.

Finger Lakes LandLink, a project of Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County and Groundswell, offers a free searchable database of land and land seeker listings. The purpose is to facilitate connections between land owners and farmers seeking land in the Finger Lakes region, and to grow the local food economy.

You can now sign up to list your land or your land seeker profile at


Become a Groundswell Member!

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Groundswell Homesteaders group at Phil Snyder's homestead orchard in 2013.

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