Groundswell News December 2013 From the Director: Grow Your Farmer! Your tax-deductible contribution today helps Groundswell grow new farmers for to


Groundswell News December 2013

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From the Director: Grow Your Farmer!

Joanna & Crew 2012

Joanna and two furry friends at the GodinGreen homestead.

Your tax-deductible contribution today helps Groundswell grow new farmers for tomorrow.

Dear Groundswell Supporter,

As you know, Groundswell was established in response to the urgent need to train and support a new generation of farmers and “food citizens.” We can now count thirty-four new farms and food businesses that Groundswell has helped to launch. 320+ trainees have gained critical skills, knowledge and support networks through participating in our programs. And we successfully established the first Farm Business Incubator Program in the region just this year.

Groundswell needs your financial support to make it happen.

The programming we provide is resource-intensive. We compensate all of our farmer-instructors as professional educators. We do not charge our trainees the full cost of programs (which very few could afford.) We make up the difference with grants and the generous support of people, like you, who believe in the work Groundswell is doing.

Your contribution to Groundswell is an INVESTMENT in our regional food system and our local community. With your financial contribution, plus the dedication and hard work of our staff, our amazing Mentor Farmers, and our many awesome volunteers, we can ensure that this Groundswell continues to grow.

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Your tax-deductible membership contribution to CTA-Groundswell Center can make a significant difference:

• $50 helps us get the word out about our programs to diverse communities.
• $100 pays for four hours of classroom rental.
• $250 pays for an experienced farmer to spend 6 hours mentoring one of our Incubator Farmers.
• $500 pays for our Ithaca CarShare membership and fuel costs, and enables us to provide free transportation to our Mentor Farms for trainees who don’t own a car.
• $1000 provides tuition assistance for four beginning farmers in our Farm Business Planning Course, helping them gain critical management skills and tools for success.

Every gift helps. Will you join us?

Joanna Green
Director, Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming


Your contribution nurtures beginning farmers like these…

Nasiha and Bulls 2

Nasiha Ocasio, future halal beef producer and Groundswell student.

Nasiha Ocasio, future halal beef producer

“I am a native New Yorker, and former high school science teacher. My science and environmental education background, together with my personal beliefs in responsible, sustainable food sources, and love of all growing things, has led me to farming. My goal is to start an agribusiness together with my family, and my research led to Groundswell as an excellent starting point for entry into the world of farming.”

Silas Conroy, Crooked Carrot Farm & Community Supported Kitchen

“We wanted to create a business model where we could grow with other farms and businesses and grow the entire food system. I took the Groundswell CRAFT program in 2010 and then I took the business planning class in 2012. It really helped me establish a network of farmers here that I could call and get advice from, and work with.”

Rafael Aponte, Rocky Acres Farm

“I’ve never been a farmer before. I grew up in the Bronx and my experience growing things was just houseplants and a community garden. I was an afterschool educator for high-school youth for a long time. I became interested in farming to promote people’s right to good food. I really wanted to bring that education piece to food, and talk about some of the issues - why people don’t have food, how is it produced and how we can do it sustainably. Now we have ten acres and we’re looking to start a small organic farm.”


Eric Shatt, sustainable cider producer and Groundswell student.

Eric Shatt, Redbyrd Orchard Cider

“I always thought cider making was kind of a new untapped world, so we started planting hard cider-specific varieties here on our orchard in 2004. The Groundswell program was great for me because it really solidified how to develop a business plan, which was something I didn’t have any skills in. And with that business plan we were able to go to Alternatives Federal Credit Union and secure a business loan which has allowed us to build this addition, and buy a nice press and tanks, and propel the business forward.”

Gail Erali, Second Wind Farm

“Before we went into farming my husband was a podiatrist in Memphis Tennessee. We have always had a small farm dream. We had gardened as a hobby but really had no idea how to translate that to even a very small farm scale. The Groundswell (Certificate) program really helped me get a general overview of farming. It gave us a broad experience with the mentor farms and all kinds of farming… They were so encouraging and so smart and so into what they were doing!”

Maria Klemperer-Johnson, Hammerstone Orchard

“I am a recent graduate of the Groundswell Farm Business Planning Course. This course took me from the conceptual dream phase of my cider orchard, to writing a business plan, to lining up funding and finally actually preparing my land for trees. All of the instructors, organizers and farmer presenters were dedicated, organized and inspiring educators.”

Shelly Lovelace, Homestead Farmer

“I have gotten so much useful information and insight through the classes, farm tours, and homework. The trainees and leaders and farmers in the program are AWESOME people - their collective knowledge is a staggeringly significant resource that makes farming begin to feel possible for me.”

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Become a Groundswell Member or Raise Your Contribution Today!

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