The Just Food Conference 2017: A Call to Collaboration

The Just Food Conference 2017: A Call to Collaboration

On March 12th and 13th I attended the Just Food Conference in NYC. It was exciting to reconnect with the Just Food community, as I spent much of 2012 as an intern with their Farm School NYC program. Just Food has always inspired me with their commitment to lifting up the leadership and capacity of diverse communities in the food movement to build a more just, equitable and sustainable food system, and this year’s conference entitled “A Call to Collaboration” was no different. The conference included workshop tracks ranging from Community-Led Food Projects to Policy and Advocacy to Youth Leadership in the Food Justice Movement and more, keynote speakers, local strategy sessions, and opportunities to plug into local campaigns for food justice and sovereignty.

The core question of the conference was “through collaboration, what can we do together across our many disciplines to increase the amount of fresh, locally grown food available in our most marginalized, food insecure communities in ways that support self-determination and ensures economic justice for all?” One of the workshops I went to that best represented the theme of collaboration was a panel called “Farm to Bed Stuy: The Worker Cooperative Approach to Building a Local Supply Chain”. Worker/owners from Rock Steady Farm and Flowers, the Brooklyn Packers and Bed Stuy Fresh and Local shared their model of moving food along the supply chain from being grown in Millerton NY, getting packed in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, and then delivered to a Bed Stuy cooperative storefront to be sold to the local community.

All of the worker/owners of these three cooperatives spoke about their desire to merge profitability and food justice, and the possibilities and challenges inherent in this goal. Building a network of support along the supply chain and working in economic partnership with other businesses with shared values was a huge boost for this work. Priorities for all three businesses included finding creative ways to fund projects in an effort to keep prices affordable for consumers, and supporting not only food access but business ownership for residents of color in Bed Stuy. The panel was moderated by a staff member at The Working World, a non-extractive lender who funds and offers training to cooperative businesses. It was really inspiring to learn about a financer who is not interested in taking people’s money to turn a profit but instead in genuinely supporting small co-ops to be successful.

A large part of the conference on the second day focused on action planning and next steps. I went to a strategy session on Food Chain Issues and why it’s so challenging for good food to be both affordable for communities and profitable for small farmers. We identified many of the barriers to food access, including lack of a shared baseline understanding of what affordability means, a food chain that is ambiguous to many, lack of a shared analysis of historical inequities in the food system, federal policies, and more. We also began a group brainstorm of ways individuals and communities can work to reduce the cost of food without harming farmers.

Both keynote speakers, Director of FoodLab Detroit Devita Davison and Dr. Ricardo Salvdor, the Food and Environment Program Director at the Union of Concerned Scientists spoke about the historical roots of racism and classism in the food system that continue to play out today. Dr. Salvador shared that “the future of food justice is the future of the country”, and that food and the struggles around it are so core to who this country is and has been that there is no way to make forward progress without addressing it. He spoke to the reality that the ways Black, Latinx and Indigenous people and low income people have been deprived of their food base throughout history through land theft, enslavement and disenfranchisement have been core to the creation of the economic poverty many people experience today.

Devita Davison shared about the importance of Black ownership and entrepreneurship in food and farming, as opposed to charity models. It was powerful to hear her talk about the human revolutionary capacity to exercise creativity in the face of destruction, and the importance of visioning, faith and relationships in bringing forth the food justice work and labor of love we want to see. It has been a large focus of Groundswell in recent months to ground ourselves in the history of both oppression and creativity/regeneration in U.S. agriculture, and it was beneficial and inspiring to hear the perspectives and framing of these two leaders.

In all, I was glad for the opportunity to attend the Just Food Conference, connect with old friends from NYC (and Ithaca farmers too!), brainstorm with people from around the state about justice and equity in the food supply chain, and learn about the work and organizations of many powerful farmers and activists. It also made me even more excited for the Farm to Plate Conference, coming to Ithaca May 11th-13th!

Groundswell goes to Soul Fire Farm

Groundswell goes to Soul Fire Farm

maxresdefaultThis fall the staff of Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming along with Ithaca community members took a day trip to Soul Fire Farm in Petersburg, NY, a “family farm committed to dismantling the oppressive structures that misguide our food system”. Soul Fire is farmed by a mixed race family who grow vegetables and small fruits on 1.5 acres and also have a one acre mixed orchard and 3 acres of pasture for egg and meat chickens. A sliding-scale farm share CSA feeds 70-100 families in the nearby cities of Troy and Albany, and educational programs run during much of the year on topics ranging from food justice training for youth to sustainable development support for grassroots activists.

img_3056 img_3054Soul Fire Farm’s focus is on ending racism in the food system, and their programs are run by and for people of color, low-income people, women, religious minorities, and those targeted by the criminal punishment system. Their commitment to centering those most historically marginalized in the food system is evident in programs like the Black and Latinx Farmers Immersion, a regenerative farming training for people of color.

Groundswell staff had heard many wonderful things about Soul Fire Farm over the years, and we were excited to finally see it in action. When we arrived on Saturday morning Soul Fire’s “Community Workday” was already in full swing. Around 40 people were busy at work around the farm, some helping to terrace a hillside for a new orchard, some cleaning the abundant garlic harvest, some chopping and stacking wood, and some kneading cabbage and filling mason jars with delicious kraut. After being warmly greeted by Leah and Jonah, the head farmers, we jumped in and spent the morning talking, laughing and learning with the other attendees who had come from around the region.

One thing that stood out to me from our morning working together was how openly our multiracial group of participants talked about race, racism and the food system. As we filled the kraut jars, talk flowed from was learned at a recent Undoing Racism training for white farmers to issues of gentrification in downtown Troy to the marginalization many folks of color experience when trying to broach the subject of race in the workplace. There was a refreshing sense of shared understanding of how these topics are all intimately connected, and how issues of land, food, and health are so often also issues of racial and economic injustice. It was clear that Soul Fire provides a unique space where clarity and honesty about systemic oppression is the norm, and the health, healing and well-being of people of color is centered.

Before lunch, we stood in a circle and each person named something they were grateful for, which was then echoed back by the entire group. Community, health, bodies, liberation, sunshine, garlic, connection, hard work and more were lifted up before we gathered on the grass for a delicious potluck lunch. Afterward Leah led a circle to share more about Soul Fire’s food justice mission, sharing pictures of the farm through the years and opening up the space for questions. We talked about the difficulties inherent in trying to have a profitable farm business and providing accessible food for communities, flawed agricultural policy, ways to support the leadership of people of color in the food system, and more. Leah was clear that she does not have all the answers, but that these questions, conversations and resulting actions are what lead to transformation.

It was very inspiring for all of us to be at Soul Fire Farm and to witness the spirit of positivity, justice and love that Leah, Jonah and all of the farm apprentices and residents bring to their work. They are creating a space where farmers of color can speak to the injustice they experience in the food system, get support, and build the skills to address it. We returned to Ithaca feeling nourished by the beautiful vegetables they grow and the sense of community and warmth they are cultivating.

Q&A with Groundswell Board Member Mary Kate Wheeler: Climate Change, Water Access and Farming in Peru

Q&A with Groundswell Board Member Mary Kate Wheeler: Climate Change, Water Access and Farming in Peru

72192_originalCornell graduate student and Groundswell Board Member Mary Kate Wheeler spent 6 months in 2015 working in Peru collaborating with a local nonprofit, CARE Perú, to conduct surveys with 500 households in the Shullcas River Watershed.  The region is rapidly changing due to climate change and that is having implications on food security and nutrition. Mary Kate was kind enough to fill us in on the work she did and we thought we’d share some of her story.

GS: What have you been up to for the last 6 months in Peru?

MKW: For the last six months of 2015 I lived at 3,200 meters above sea level in the Central Peruvian Andes. There I collaborated with a local nonprofit, CARE Perú, to conduct surveys with 500 households in the Shullcas River Watershed. The Shullcas River links the melting Huaytapallana Glacier to the growing city of Huancayo, and provides an important source of irrigation for many small farms in between. The glacier’s rapid retreat is one of many climate change impacts projected to affect agriculture and food security in this region. Our research explores farm and household adaptations to climate change, and implications for food security and nutrition

GS: What does farming look like in the Peruvian Andes?unspecified-1

MKW: Farmers in the Shullcas River Watershed live between 3,300 and 3,900 meters above sea level, and their farming practices vary by elevation. At the lower end of that range they grow lots of maize, which is often accompanied by fava beans and modern varieties of potato. At higher elevations, farmers focus on traditional and modern potato varieties, along with other indigenous tubers including oca, olluco and mashua. Many families keep livestock for dairy, meat and fiber production, including llama, alpaca and the ever-popular cuy (guinea pig). In farming households both men and women participate in farm labor and decision-making.

Andean farms are tiny by U.S. standards. The typical farm in our study was only 0.25 hectares (0.6 acres), and 95% of farmers had less than 1 hectare (2.5 acres) for crop production. Farming is mostly oriented toward subsistence rather than commercial unspecified-4production. Only a quarter of all farming households sold any crops in the market, and most of these “commercial” farms still allocated much of their harvest to home consumption. For many, crop production is not a source of income, but a
strategy to supplement a household diet that also depends on purchased foods. Most families rely on at least one source of off-farm income to make ends meet.

GS: What kinds of challenges do small farmers face in the mountains?

MKW: The interconnected challenges of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition are a daily reality for farm families in the Andes. Remote rural households lack basic infrastructure to meet their health, education, information and financial needs. Low market prices and high transportation costs limit farm profits. The climate is changing faster in the Andes than in many parts of the world, so farmers face high climate uncertainty and greater production risks.

GS: What kind of education and support do farmer training organizations offer? 

MKW: Local nonprofit organizations provide education and extension services to build community capacity and support individual success in production and marketing. CARE Perú offers technical training through workshops, demonstration farms, farmer exchange visits and private consultations. Trainings emphasize climate-adaptive farming practices, including soil and water conservation strategies and the cultivation of native crops and varieties. CARE Perú also organizes producers to form farmer associations for specific products. Farmers in these groups share information and support each other to improve production practices, often with a goal of collectively marketing their products in higher value markets.

GS: How will your results help farmer training organizations and others to better serve smallholder farmers in the Andes?

unspecifiedMKW: Our research will help to explain why some farmers chose to adopt farm management practices that reduce their exposure to climate change impacts, while others do not. We will also explore important linkages between agriculture, food security and nutrition in our study area.

While the analysis is still underway, we expect our results will help farmer training organizations like CARE Perú to better promote climate change adaptation among farmers.  Our research will also inform the design of policies and programs that link climate adaptation in agriculture with improvements in household food security and nutrition.

You can learn more about the project here:

Farmer Interview : Evangeline Sarat talks Living Wages

56bb8d40a0c1d.imageSweetland Farm, in Trumansburg, NY has been in operation for 10 years. In 2015 owner/farmer Evangeline Sarat decided to start paying  her employees a living wage. Groundswell Director Elizabeth Gabriel sat down with Evangeline to talk about how she came to the decision to offer living wages, and how she is making it work on her farm.


EG: How did your decision to pay a living wage come about?

ES: In 2014 I began running the farm as a sole proprietor. In that year we offered normal pay. Being an only manager, I was able to make a decent salary (around a living wage), pay my loans and build equity. Plus, being a single mom, I prioritized my relationship with my kids over the farm. So I would stop farming when the kids got off the bus, the workers would still be working. That was all possible because of the farm workers.
I’ve been going to meditation retreats and developing spirituality practice. As a result, I started being very aware of this fact, that I was living this way, and my employees were not. One day the idea came to me (to pay living wages) and I couldn’t see anyway not to do it, even though I knew it was very risky.

EG: I’m sure many farmers in our area have thought about how to pay their employees living wages. How did you make it work, financially? 

ES: First, I raised the price of our CSA (2 person share) by $60-100 (sliding scale). Then, I decreased the season by 3 weeks. That was healthier for everyone. For me, my employees, the farmland. I felt like this was a reasonable request of the CSA members – asking them to support a fair community food system. I didn’t run the exact numbers, but with the new wage in place, I figured I would need 300 CSA members paying about $675 per share to make the farm run as it was. I also wrote a letter to CSA members explaining the goal of providing a living wage for my employees. I first offered it to the employees who worked here for a year (2 workers) and then by November everyone got a living wage (4 workers). It was terrifying. I didn’t know if we would run out of money or not.

EG: So what was the response? How did everyone take it?

ES: We lost some of our CSA Membership, though nobody said it was because of the price increase. (Many stated it was our location.) Members seemed to understand the concept, but some also thought that because the cost of the share increased so would the value of what was included. 

For my employees, I can see a significant change in their lifestyle and ability to live comfortably from month to month. It is definitely impacting their quality of life. And I think this opens the farm work to being an option for people with less privilege.

EG: Since you have done it, what would you say to other farmers contemplating increasing wages for their employees? 

ES: It’s a risk. So is farming. I don’t feel like it’s something that if you don’t do, you’re not being moral. I get why people can’t do it. But I was willing to take the consequences of leaving the farm if I couldn’t make it work.  I do think it would be really cool to see other CSA’s jump to Living Wage and all CSA’s increase their prices.  Everybody might lose a few members, but it could be an overall success for the CSA model.

From the Director April 2016: Living Wages & Sustainable Outcomes

Greetings Groundswell friends, farmers and supporters,

The minimum wage increase signed into law this week by Governor Cuomo is big news for all New York State businesses and employees – including farms. The bill states that there will be an increase in the minimum wage in upstate NY to $12.50 (over five years), ​while in the rest of the State the wage increase will increase to $15/hour (see below for more details). While the bill is a major accomplishment in many ways, of course, as with any bill, there are strong supporters as well as critics.

For example, $12.50 falls short of the current Living Wage in Tompkins County, which is $14.34/hour. While the same high cost of living exists for other upstate counties, the bill is accused of not recognizing the expensive cost of living in NY outside of the New York City region. Others critique the governor’s phase-in plan, saying its unrealistic and that the State should figure out a way to help small business owners pay this wage.

Groundswell seeks to build strong, vibrant communities by promoting sustainable land-based livelihoods. Though it’s not the focus of our efforts, we feel fair wages are a key to these goals; yet, we also know most small-scale sustainable farmers are unable to pay themselves a living wage, let alone their employees.  The issues are complex and financially challenging and we are just beginning to explore them in more depth. Additionally, we are exploring ways Groundswell can support regional farms to prepare for the wage increases through information sharing, workshops, and more.  To begin this effort, we are sharing a brief interview I held with Evangeline Sarat, owner of Sweet Land Farm CSA in Trumansburg. Evangeline began paying her employees a living wage in 2015 and is a Certified Living Wage Employer. Read the interview on the Groundswell blog here.

I look forward to having more conversations with you about living wages and more! Please call or email me anytime.

With thoughts of warmth for your flowering trees and plants,



Minimum Wage—The minimum wage will increase on the following schedule:

Region Final Wage Final Phase-in
New York City $15.00 12/31/18
New York City (<10 employees) $15.00 12/31/19
Westchester & Long Island $15.00 12/31/21
Upstate $12.50 (index to $15) 12/31/20

Upstate Schedule

Minimum Wage Phase-in Date
$9.70 12/31/16
$10.40 12/31/17
$11.10 12/31/18
$11.80 12/31/19
$12.50 12/31/20


Tompkins County Food Policy Council update

Tompkins County Food Policy Council update

It’s not too late to become a Council Candidate!

Information Session
Tuesday, October 20
7:00 – 8:30 PM
Cornell Cooperative Extension
615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca

Our grassroots planning group has been making steady progress towards forming Tompkins County’s first Food Policy Council by the end of 2015. Starting in early 2016, the Council will meet regularly to identify policy issues affecting local consumers, producers, and food businesses, and to help shape local policy in support of a more equitable and sustainable food system.

We’re still looking for candidates for election to the Council, including low-income consumers, farmers, food workers, food business owners, youth and at-large members. You can learn more about the Council during an information session on Tuesday, October 20 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at Cornell Cooperative Extension building at 615 Willow Avenue in Ithaca.

Council members will be elected in November by a larger group called “Friends of the Food Policy Council,” which is open to anyone who lives, works, or does business in Tompkins County. Voting will take place from November 16 to 30.

Have you signed up to become a Friend of the Food Policy Council yet? We’re trying to recruit at least 40 more Friends to reach our goal of 200 Friends before voting begins.

To find out more come to the October 20 information session or contact or 607-252-6695.

2015 Binghamton Food Justice Tour

2015 Binghamton Food Justice Tour

Over 20 people from the central NY region participated in a September “Food Justice Study Tour” organized by Groundswell and hosted by VINES – Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments – in Binghamton. VINES is doing amazing work on multiple fronts – check out our photo album below.


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!

Ithaca’s Growing Food Justice Movement

Ithaca’s Growing Food Justice Movement

By Kirtrina Baxter

The food justice movement in Ithaca and surrounding areas is spreading fast. What exactly is a food justice movement, you ask? Well, according to Robert Gottlieb and Anupama Joshi, authors of the book Food Justice,

Food advocates may work on several different issue areas, but share the common goal of challenging the injustices that exist throughout the dominant industrial and increasingly globalized food system. By striving to alleviate these injustices in the entire food system, the Food Justice movement is linked to and supports allied movements such as those related to the environment, land use, health, immigration, worker rights, economic and community development, cultural integrity, and social justice.”

For decades, there has been a robust local foods movement in our area, promoting healthier ways to eat while educating people on sustaining our community. However, because the planning of this was not inclusive, ultimately the benefits of this movement have not been shared by all. The food justice movement strives to correct this fact by engaging communities of color and those of limited means so that they too have access to affordable, healthy food choices. Not only that, but the food justice movement serves to include diverse voices in the planning of a local food system that benefits all populations of our community and address issues of disparities and inequities. But as the definition above alludes to, the food justice movement seeks to provide a holistic approach to addressing the inadequacies of our current food system.

The fight against our current food system is also about community health. The rates of diabetes and high blood pressure disproportionately affect people in communities of color and next, people in lower income ranges. Information about the connections between our health and our eating habits are being addressed somewhat by health agencies, however, giving community members the resources to access culturally relevant food solutions is still a large problem. 

I believe that if we educate our communities to be conscious consumers, then they would chose what is best for their families and community. I also believe that until such time as we all have the information and knowledge necessary to be conscious about our food choices, our goal as a community should be to help pass knowledge and information along by any means at our disposal. Someone could share with a neighbor about their garden and how much it feeds their family, one could start a community garden in their neighborhood, or one could choose to research and find ways to eat healthier, modeling those practices that will help to sustain our community more. Then there are those of us who volunteer or work to get information out to our communities via schools, agencies, programs and more.

As part of a growing food justice movement, Greenstar Community Projects (GSCP) and its collaborative partners have been serving our community on various levels.

In our schools: 
Ithaca Community Harvest’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program serve elementary students a cup of fruits and vegetables every day at BJM.  Also, The Youth Farm Project engages a diverse body of teenagers from our local schools. While teaching them to grow organic produce on a farm for their community and families, they also educate them around issues of social justice related to the food industry.  

In our community: 
The Congo Square Market provides an outlet for this locally grown produce of the Youth Farm Project while Gardens4Humanity, which is also educating our children in after-school programs about gardening and agriculture, helps citizens and organizations to establish community gardens in their area. GSCP’s market box pilot provided locally grown organic produce to BJM, Southside and GIAC families twice a month during fall at a reduced cost, while also providing them with nutrition information and culturally appropriate recipe ideas.
Also in the community, our partners are providing access to agricultural skills building. Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming offers a Summer Practicum in sustainable farming and local food through TC-3 and a beginning farmer trainer course. Gardens4Humanity also provides training in urban gardening and food justice. And all of our partners are committed to connecting local citizens with the local farmers who grow their food, through crop mobs, gleaning, farm field trips and community volunteer days.

Food justice is not just about food, it’s about our right as humans to access that which is necessary for us to live. Food is a basic human right and as such, we should be aware of the discrimination and injustice in our current food system and work together as a community to correct this. The Institute for Food and Development Policy had this to say about food justice advocates: “We are also committed to dismantling racism in the food system and believe in people’s right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.Read more…

In order for us to effectively move forward on the issue of sustaining ourselves as a community, we must ensure that voices from our diverse community of citizens are represented as we move forward. In that vein, this Food Justice Summit strives to engage the “whole” community in a family day of fun to help raise funds towards the efforts mentioned above, while also providing community members with access to information and resources around agriculture, health, worker’s rights, farm and food related industries, and many other opportunities previously unavailable to them.

There are many layers and levels to how we can contribute to this food justice movement. Together these practices will form the necessary knowledge base within this community that is needed for us to become informed citizens in charge of our own destiny with regard to our quality of life. Together we will walk on October 22nd to help with the fight to inform and empower all community members to know and act in the best interest of the whole, with regard for our food system!

Kirtrina Baxter is the Program Director of GreenStar Community Projects. To learn more, visit the Food Justice Summit’s website.

What do we mean by a “sustainable” food system?

Food activists often say they work for a “sustainable,” “healthy,” “fair,” and “diverse” food system. These words sound good enough. But what exactly do they mean? Clarifying our terms is an critical facet of making a coherent statement and a measurable impact on our communities. As organizations and individuals, we would do well to sit down with our colleagues and elucidate our mission statements to ensure that we are all on the same page when it comes to envisioning a better future.

Last summer, four major public health entities- The American Dietetic Association, American Nurses Association, American Planning Association, and American Public Health Association- did exactly that. They worked together to develop seven principles of a healthy, sustainable food system that they could use as a “shared platform for systems-wide food policy change.” Groundswell joins them in affirming these vitally important tenets of a food system that works for everyone. Thanks to Groundswell advisor Gil Gillespie for sharing this important message.

Principles of a Healthy, Sustainable Food System

We support socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable food systems that promote health — the current and future health of individuals, communities, and the natural environment.
A healthy, sustainable food system is:


  • Supports the physical and mental health of all farmers, workers, and eaters
  • Accounts for the public health impacts across the entire lifecycle of how food is produced, processed, packaged, labeled, distributed, marketed, consumed, and disposed


  • Conserves, protects, and regenerates natural resources, landscapes, and biodiversity
  • Meets our current food and nutrition needs without compromising the ability of the system to meet the needs of future generations


  • Thrives in the face of challenges, such as unpredictable climate, increased pest resistance, and declining, increasingly expensive water and energy supplies

Diverse in

  • Size and scale — includes a diverse range of food production, transformation, distribution, marketing, consumption, and disposal practices, occurring at diverse scales, from local and regional to national and global
  • Geography — considers geographic differences in natural resources, climate, customs, and heritage
  • Culture — appreciates and supports a diversity of cultures, socio-demographics, and lifestyles
  • Choice — provides a variety of health-promoting food choices for all


  • Supports fair and just communities and conditions for all farmers, workers, and eaters
  • Provides equitable physical access to aff ordable food that is health promoting and culturally appropriate

Economically Balanced

  • Provides economic opportunities that are balanced across geographic regions of the country and at different scales of activity, from local to global, for a diverse range of food system stakeholders
  • Affords farmers and workers in all sectors of the system a living wage


  • Provides opportunities for farmers, workers, and eaters to gain the knowledge necessary to understand how food is produced, transformed, distributed, marketed, consumed, and disposed
  • Empowers farmers, workers and eaters to actively participate in decision making in all sectors of the system

A healthy, sustainable food system emphasizes, strengthens, and makes visible the interdependent and inseparable relationships between individual sectors (from production to waste disposal) and characteristics (health-promoting, sustainable, resilient, diverse, fair, economically balanced, and transparent) of the system.

For more information, visit the American Planning Association’s website.

Video: BJM Snack Program/Ithaca Community Harvest

An inspiring video about Ithaca’s BJM Snack Program (now the Ithaca Community Harvest), one of the major new players in Ithaca’s food system:

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program from Eric Miller/Hornbrook Prod. on Vimeo.

“This video is about the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School in Ithaca, NY. The program was created and operated by the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food from Spring 2008 through Spring 2010 in partnership with Greenstar Community Projects and Village at Ithaca with funding from many local foundations, businesses and individuals. The program has been a huge success.”

For more information, contact Lara Kaltman at

Nov 5th – Food access and justice: Rebuilding a healthy local food system for all

From Cornell’s New World Agriculture and Ecology Group (NWAEG):

This Friday…

11/5 – Food access and justice: Rebuilding a healthy local food system for all @ Cornell’s Emerson Hall, Room 135, Fri. 12:15-1PM
Elizabeth Karabinakis, Tompkins County Cornell Cooperative Extension

Liz has been involved with the Healthy Food For All campaign:

Take the Local Foods Survey!

Nicole Novak, a Cornell student, is conducting a survey on the nutritional quality of the locavore diet. Here are the details:

Interested in locally grown foods?

I’m conducting research with Cornell’s Sustainability of Food Systems Group,
to learn more about your opinions on local food products, what foods you purchase locally, and how you use them! The goal of my project is to assess the nutritional quality of a “locavore” diet. Please consider helping us out by taking a brief, anonymous, online survey:

Go here! –>

Thank you!!!
Questions or concerns? Please contact Nicole Novak at