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, February 22

Introducing New Groundswell Staff



Becca Rimmel, Education Program Manager

Becca will be coordinating a number of Groundswell programs, including Finger Lakes CRAFT, Year-Round High Tunnels, Draft Animal Practicum, Finger Lakes Orchards Exchange, Cooperative Farming Network, and several other programs still being developed.
Becca brings to Groundswell a passion for sustainable food systems, awesome organizing skills, and years of experience with curriculum development, educational and mentoring program design, volunteer coordination, non-profit management, and group facilitation.  She has lots of experience working with farmers, having managed 3 different farmers markets, and serving last year as the Farm to School Americorps VISTA staff at New Roots Charter School. And to top it all off, she is also working towards a masters degree in Sustainable Food Systems through Green Mountain College's distance learning program.


Becca was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and spent time in quite a few different mid-western and New England states, before relocating to Ithaca. When she's not working, she enjoys hanging out with family, diggin╩╝ in the dirt, snapping photos, spinning yarn, and spending as much time birding and poking around in the woods as possible.

You can contact Becca at becca@groundswellcenter.org.


Rafael Aponte, Outreach Specialist


Rafael Aponte will be leading our outreach program, ensuring that Groundswell is connecting with the diverse audiences that we aspire to support. He will also be the lead curriculum designer for our Farming Opportunities workshops and Farming While Brown programs. A beginning farmer himself, Rafa's Rocky Acres Farm will serve as a host site for some of these programs.



Rafa was born and raised in the South Bronx and has over twelve years of experience working as a community activist, advocate, and educator.  In 2011 he completed the two-year Farm School NYC certificate program focused on urban agriculture and food justice. He then served as Assistant Farm Manager at Wassaic Community Farm in Wassaic, NY. He relocated to Ithaca, NY and completed Groundswell’s Farm Business Planning Course in 2012, and also joined Groundswell’s Steering Committee at that time.



In 2013 Aponte established Rocky Acres Community Farm in Dryden, NY, a community-minded farming venture that combines the spirit of activism with the transformative healing aspects of nature.

You can contact Rafa at rafael@groundswellcenter.org.

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