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.

Monday, September 17

Groundswell Offers "Sustainability Internships" to Area College Students

We'd 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. 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.

Work directly with our Administrative Manager, Milagros Gustafson-Hernandez.  Duties include database entry, phone calls, research, organizational development, desktop publishing, post office runs and other tasks as needed.

Skills required:  Strong organizational skills.  Excel, Word, social media, and Google docs. 

Total Project Hours or Weekly Time Commitment:  5-8 hours per week, preferably for both Fall and Spring semesters

We are conducting our first major community outreach event this fall - the Groundswell Local Food & Farming Festival, to be held October 21, at the site of our new “Incubator Farm” at EcoVillage. This is a critical opportunity for us to increase community awareness of our programs and strengthen our relationships with diverse populations in the Ithaca area community.  Assist Groundswell staff in planning, organizing, marketing, conducting, and evaluating Groundswell’s first Local Food & Farming Festival. Work closely with Administrative Manager Milagros Gustafson-Hernandez to recruit and coordinate volunteers, conduct outreach in the local community, develop informational materials, organize the educational program, and evaluate impacts.

Skills required:
Excellent organizational skills. Strong verbal and written communication skills. Strong skills with Excel, word processing, web-based communication and social media. Strong interest and enthusiasm about farming, food, multiculturalism and sustainability. Please indicate your level of experience with multicultural work or living situations in your application cover letter.

Total Project Hours or Weekly Time Commitment: 5-6 hours per week, up to 60 total hours. 

Internship Duration:    Fall Semester. May end in November if student prefers.

Please go to Sustainability Internship Program for more details on how to apply.

The Quintessential Black Farmer: 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 are more 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, as she prefers to be called, 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.

Friday, September 14

Get ready for the Food Justice Summit!

Walkathon and Block Party to be held 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.

The Food Justice Summit begins at 10am with a walk-a-thon starting at Neighborhood Pride (former Northside P&C) at 210 Hancock Street, downtown Ithaca. People of all ages are invited to register and walk up to 5 miles visiting gardens, food art mosaics and more with the chance to win exciting prizes. From noon till 7pm all are welcome to join the celebration outside Neighborhood Pride where the streets will be closed to enjoy live music including Thousands of One, Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde and Ernest Verb as well as dance performances, youth activities, cooking demonstrations, Gardens 4 Humanity's Iron Chef Jr. competition and more!

An organic ribs and chicken BBQ & vegetarian fare featuring food from local farms will be available for a suggested donation so everyone can enjoy and be nourished by the delicious bounty of our region. Event goers can find culturally significant and socially conscious wares for sale from locally-owned businesses, and peruse dozens of informational displays from local organizations working towards social justice, sustainability and community health.

Part of the proceeds will benefit Congo Square Market, a vibrant seasonal market in the heart of Ithaca's African American community with live music, crafts and fresh produce grown by neighborhood youth. The rest of the proceeds will support a series of planning meetings which will bring together community members, organizations, businesses, and other stakeholders in the local food system, to plan the infrastructure, distributions systems, financing, and other pieces of the just food system we need.

For additional information visit www.FoodJusticeSummit.org or contact info@GreenStarCommunityProjects.org or 607-379-9725.

The Jewel of Lisle: A Garden Provides

The Lisle Community Garden.
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 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.

Monday, September 10

Vendors wanted! Groundswell Local Food & Farm Festival, Oct 21

Farm and food entrepreneurs wanted! We're looking for vendors of all kinds for our Local Food & Farm Fest, Sunday, October 21, 1-4 pm.

The Local Food & Farm Fest is a fundraiser for the Groundswell Incubator Farm, a land-access program for beginning farmers. This is a great opportunity for beginning farmers, prepared food vendors, and farm products vendors to get their name out while supporting the beginning farmer/food producer movement!

Please share the good news with your networks!

Sunday, October 21, 2012 (12pm - 4pm)

Groundswell's Local Food & Farm Festival



Visit the site of Groundswell's new Farm Incubator at EcoVillage and...

  • Enjoy fun FARMING ACTIVITIES for kids of all ages! Card some wool, build a hoop house, dig a soil sample, churn some butter, build a fence, or milk a goat!
  • Enjoy ETHNIC FOODS from all around the world featuring local farm products!
  • Chat with Groundswell’s Farmer-Instructors and Beginning Farmers at our LOCAL FOODS MINI-MARKET!
  • See the newest in FARMING INVENTIONS and learn how to build your own!
  • Take a TOUR of Groundswell’s Farm Enterprise Incubator, West Haven Farm and other EcoVillage highlights!
  • Help Groundswell raise funds to finish building the Farm Incubator!

Mark your calendar now- and plan to bring your family and friends!