Welcome to Groundswell

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.

Groundswell is an initiative of the EcoVillage Center for Sustainability Education in Ithaca, NY, which is a project of the Center for Transformative Action. Visit the Groundswell website to learn more about our programs, initiatives and resources.

Friday, October 21

Student Profile: Lynne and Justin of Finger Lakes CRAFT

Lynne and Justin plowing with horses at Northland.

Interview by Audrey Gyr, Groundswell volunteer

Lynne Haynor and Justin Schaude were both members of the Finger Lakes CRAFT program this year while they interned on Northland Sheep Dairy. While they were there, they started a vegetable market garden and sold at the Homer Farmers Market.

They first met while studying at UW Madison. Lynne was studying agroecology and Justin was working at the student garden while studying Rural Sociology. Lynne grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and first discovered agriculture at the age of 24 when she worked at a periurban gardening program for youth. The program focused on education and work readiness in marginalized communities and Lynne spent 3 growing seasons there producing organic vegetables.

Justin grew up in the suburbs of Minnesota and California. He dropped out of college and traveled extensively while working odd jobs, including in an orphanage in India. He first became attracted to agriculture while working at a men’s shelter in Minneapolis. During that time he read a book that posited farming as a strategy to get people off the street. Justin decided to go back to school for social work but he became more and more interested in farming.  He has been farming for the past 5 years. Lynne and Justin both did another apprenticeship on a CSA farm in Wisconsin after graduating from college. They have also worked on farms in Mexico. They strongly suggest any beginning farmers to have an apprenticeship because it can really help you plan what you want to do. They also stress the importance of having a mentor and that a beginner can accomplish a lot by just working on a project.

Slow Money on the Move in Central New York

Slow Money advcate and Groundswell advisor Krys Cail reflects on her participation in the Third Annual Slow Money Gathering. Krys also recently wrote an article in TCLocal, Relocalizing Investment in Our Local Food System, which delves deeply into this topic.

The Groundswell Center has been participating over the past year in the development of a Slow Money Central New York group. This growing planning group sent me, as the convener of the group, to the Third Annual Slow Money National Gathering in San Francisco last week. Three packed days long, this gathering was the largest meeting yet of people inspired by Woody Tasch’s ideal, set out in his book Slow Money, that local investment in farm and food enterprises at a relatively modest rate of interest—no higher than a natural rate of return based on sustainable agricultural methods—could transform both farming and investing.

Any reader who is interested in more detail about the Slow Money movement should see (and, if you agree, sign!) the Slow Money Principles. They are available on the Slow Money website.

The Slow Money Alliance local and regional groups across the country sent representatives, and it was very interesting to learn about how different groups were organizing their work and beginning to move funds to local farm and food businesses. The models in use in Boulder, Colorado and Madison, Wisconsin seemed particularly interesting and good for local emulation to me, resembling as they did the Ithaca area in the make-up of investors, members, and farm and food businesses. Also of note is ACEnet, an Ohio regional economic development organization that predates the Slow Money Movement, but has adopted the Slow Money Principles and is developing related programming.