Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming
Rating: 5 stars 1 review
Location: P.O. Box 6679 Ithaca NY 14851 USA
Groundswell’s mission is to help youth and adult learners develop the skills and knowledge they need to build sustainable local food systems. Our focus is providing hands-on, experiential learning opportunities with real working farms and food businesses in the Ithaca area. Through collaboration with area schools, colleges and universities Groundswell offers programs of study for beginning farmers, students, community members, and professionals.
Results: Since our official launch in 2009, we've accomplished the following: 1. Groundswell worked with area farmers to start the Finger Lakes CRAFT program, a group of farmers and interns that meet monthly for advanced training and mentoring. 2. We taught our first college-level class, the Summer Practicum in Sustainable Farming and Local Food Systems through the Tompkins County Community College. 3. We launched the Ithaca Crop Mob, a volunteer-based organization that brings community members together monthly for on-farm work parties. For more information, visit our website at www.groundswellcenter.org.
Target demographics: We work with three primary groups: 1) aspiring or beginning farmers (including farm interns and employees); 2) college students; and 3) community members.
Geographic areas served: The Finger Lakes region of New York State, with an emphasis on the city of Ithaca and its surrounding communities.
Programs: Finger Lakes CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance in Farmer Training); Summer Practicum in Sustainable Farming and Local Food Systems; the Ithaca Crop Mob; New Farmer Training Project; Farm Enterprise Incubator
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I'm an advisor, donor, volunteer -- and community member.
For most of my life I've been eating what comes via the grocery chain. Processed food and mostly long-distance food that keeps looking better on the outside with less and less nutrition on the inside. My grandmother was the last in our family with an 'urban garden'. It's taken a lifetime to get it -- we are what we eat. Drive-through convenience isn't worth trading away real food; wellness is grounded in what we eat; not the pills that we pop.
In my grandmother's time there were lots of local farmers capable of delivering great food. Local farms are appearing again. Maybe it's because the way we farm now has destroyed a third of our topsoil. More likely the way we farm and eat now can't be sustained.
I get it: Slow food not fast food; buy local food; support local farming. Get to know food; appreciate those who make it possible to have local food.
Local food doesn't work without committed, economically viable local farmers. Groundswell is the seedbed to grow committed, local, organic small farms again -- farmers who are connected to the people who want and need their food. Groundswell is about learning to farm through successful local farmers and enabling new farmers to succeed. It's also about cooperation, collaboration and connectedness.
Groundswell isn't about high-tech/high return - make a quick buck. It's about creating slow growth, value business. Groundswell is a non-profit -- local food; slow money; It's purpose is enabling an essential component to our future on this earth -- sustainable farming -- viable, local food systems.
And it starts with growing and bringing local farmers back into the local economy; into the local community; into the lives of people.
Check out "Building local food systems and assessing landscape outcomes in Ithaca, NY - It's about what we are doing in Ithaca around local food and Groundswell's role. The video can be found at: www.vimeo.com/9167881 from HabitatSeven.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
I've had the honor to serve on the advisory board of Groundswell and see the energy, passion and enthusiasm of young people participating in Groundswell programs. I want to be part in realizing their dreams and see them succeed.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I'd like to exponentially accelerate the process of rebuilding local food systems. I'd love to move from 100 to 1000 to 10000 to 100000 Groundswell supporters walking the talk with their time and money - buying locally, donating to Groundswell and organizations like it. Groundswell needs staff, not just volunteers to enable a robust NPO business structure; to do the day to day operational aspects of any business.
Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?
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How did you learn about this organization?
Member of the Board of Directors, EcoVillage Center for Sustainability Education
What is this organization's top short-term priority?
Delivering on its grant goals. Raising funds for infrastructutre for the 'incubator' farm. Groundswell has land, has committed local, organic farms to teach and mentor but needs to enable this essential component for long-term viability. The 'incubator farm' will serve as launch pad for Groundswell trained new farmers.
What is its top priority in the long run?
Vibrant end to end local food system - farm to table to farm with 75% local community participation.
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