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.

Sunday, August 17

Finger Lakes CRAFT Farm Profile: Main Street Farms

Farmers: Allan Gandelman and Bob Cat
Address: 116 North West Street, Homer, NY
Phone: (607) 218-2101
E-mail: info@mainstreetfarms.com

Website: www.mainstreetfarms.com

Allan is a former high school teacher whose passion for food and agriculture led him to end his career as a teacher and start Main Street Farms. He holds two degrees from SUNY New Paltz; a B.A. in Anthrolopoly and an M.A. in Secondary Education. He also holds a certificate in Sustainable Agriculture from Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming.

Before coming to work at Main Street Farms, Bob Cat spent 5 years as an Outdoor Educator working for Natures Classroom all over New England.  He holds a B.A. in Communication from SUNY New Paltz and has a cetrificate in Sustainable Agriculture from Groundswell Center For Local Food and Farming in Ithaca.  Bob Cat has also spent time WWOOFing in Australia and Costa Rica.

Main Street Farms is an urban aquaponics farm, organic plant nursery, and education center, located in Homer, NY. We are dedicated to sustainable agriculture and local food security. We grow in both water and dirt, utilizing aquaponics techniques (aquaculture plus hydroponics) to raise tilapia in tanks. We feed them and use the waste water to fertilize the plants (lettuce and herbs). The plants in turn clean the water for the fish in a closed loop cycle, creating a symbiotic relationship. We have a wide assortment of sheds and barns to house sheep, horses, hay, and equipment. They are all simple pole barns. 

In 2013 we acquired an amazing 1.5 acre empty city lot in a low income neighborhood in Cortland, which we have converted into the city's first urban farm.  The farm is located on South Ave., and is a pickup location for CSA shares in the 2014 season.

When it comes to agriculture risks and challenges are abundant. During our first farm start up we made our share of mistakes around pest management, allocation of time and resources, and choosing which vegetables to grow. Now that we have learned how to deal with these difficulties we hope we won't make those mistakes again.

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