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, February 28

Community College Farming Program Has Groundswell Roots

Todd McLane, now Organic Farm Director for TC3, is shown
teaching Groundswell's Summer Practicum students in 2010.

TC3's new Sustainable Farming and Food Systems program grew out of Groundswell's Summer Practicum

Groundswell is delighted to welcome TC3's new Sustainable Farming and Food Systems program onto the scene!

And we're especially pleased to announce that long-time Groundswell Mentor Farmer Todd McLane will serve as Director of the new TC3 Organic Farm.

TC3's new program had its origins in Groundswell's Summer Practicum in Sustainable Farming and Local Food Systems, which we offered from 2010 to 2012 in collaboration with the community college.

TC3 President Carl Haynes was impressed with the program and with the enthusiasm of our students. And he appreciated the fact that Groundswell was bringing new students to TC3 from as far away as North Carolina. So he and TC3 colleagues have been working hard since then to develop the new Farm-To-Bistro venture.

Program Information

The Sustainable Farming and Food Systems program emphasizes the practical skills it takes to manage a small, diverse farm, while providing students with a broad exposure to the social and ecological considerations of truly sustainable food production and distribution. Students in the program take courses in entrepreneurship, accounting, environmental studies, biology, and unique food systems seminars. 

They will apply this knowledge on a working farm located on TC3’s main campus and work closely with food retailers, restaurants, as well as the TC3 Eatery and the College’s planned Coltivare culinary center in downtown Ithaca as part of the College’s unique Farm to Bistro program.

From Groundswell's Incubator Coordinator

By Devon Van Noble

A few days ago it was in the 40’s in Enfield for a few minutes, and I slipped up and said, “Whew- Summer is

A friend laughed back at me, “Bahhh-- you are jumping the gun on that one, guy!” 

Growing up in Florida, I got exhausted of the relentless heat and humidity. When I moved to Ithaca about 11 years ago, I found the Northern winters invigorating, and loved the fact that there was a reason to huddle up inside when it got cold out. 

There is a sense of interdependence with our friends and neighbors during this time of year. The cold forces us to prepare and work with nature and consider how we are going to survive through the elements that are beyond our control. 

In short, it’s a humbling season. When winter arrives, I look forward to the sunny days playing in this Winter wonderland— skiing at Greek Peak, hiking around frozen waterfalls, sledding at Cornell... But after this winter, I just want to be warm.

This is only the second winter at Van Noble Farm, and it has been kind of a rough season. Sub-zero temperatures heading into December caught me off guard and rather unprepared to keep young piglets warm and protected. My tool of choice for “unfreezing” water bins each day has been a hefty sledge hammer and a pair of rubber gloves, but often even that seems futile because ice crusts form after 10 minutes. 

I know I am not the only livestock producer who is suffering from the “Polar Vortices” that have characterized this winter. My heart goes out to all those producers who have had to clench their teeth to make it through to spring. 

It’s not that I don’t still have a fondness for the snow, the stillness, and the cold— I just have a different perspective on this season now. It can be enjoyable and beautiful, but it carries a serious potential for hardship. Thankfully, SPRING IS COMING! And there are so many exciting projects to look forward to in 2014.

Waiting for spring,