Farm Tours

Farm to Plate Conference FARM TOUR DESCRIPTIONS

You MUST pre-register for these tours via the Conference Registration Form. Please do not just show up at the listed farm on your own.

Tours leave the Greenstar Space on Friday, May 12 at 2 PM and will return to the Space or BJM before the evening program between 5 and 5:30 PM. There is one van per tour.  After these fill, we will ask tour participants to carpool, following the lead van to the farms.  Thank you for noting on registration form if you are willing to offer carpooling.

NOTE:  All tours require some walking. If accommodation is needed, be to state this on the registration form.



A. From Greenstar, walk the waterfront trail to the Ithaca Farmers Market pavilion where 100 vendors and 2000 customers meet up on Saturday (9-3) and Sundays (10-3) to buy local farm products, crafts and prepared foods. Continue to the Ithaca Community Garden site, learn about the garden history and operations.  Cross Route 13 and visit Ithaca’s only local meats butcher shop, The Piggery.  From there walk through Ithaca’s first Permaculture Park, and on to the BJM school garden.

B. Gardens at Greenstar –Learn about the Greenstar Cooperative – enjoying a 45 year history of providing local and natural foods to the Ithaca Community. The join Joy Mathews, Greenstar facilities manager, who will talk about the container gardens and her urban gardening initiative.  Finally, head to Cass Park and the Ithaca Children’s Garden to tour the site and learn about programs teaching youth of all ages about plants.

FARM TOURS – Vans/Carpooled Transportation Provided

C. Dryden – Visit the Tompkins Community College (TC3) student organic farm. Meet with farm manager Todd McLane to learn about the FARM to BISTRO program and how students are engaged (visit time approx. 1 hr); return via Freeville to the Cornell Organic Research Farm – hear from manager Betsy Leonard and researchers about trials that address farmer production and pest management challenges (visit time approx. 1 hr) –

D. Caroline/Berkshire – This tour features two intensive diversified farming operations. The first is Shelterbelt Farm in Caroline based on permaculture practices and holistic management, features sheep, beef cattle, ducks, chickens, hoop house vegetable production and honeybees, and are soon adding glamping opportunities.  The second is Kingbird Farm in Berkshire, a long established organic farm, with pasture based livestock including pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, beef cows, and farming done with draft horses.  Another major enterprise is hoophouse grown herbs and veggies. (approx. 2.5 hours)

E. Interlaken – Take a trip north to Good Life Farm and Finger Lakes Cider House to visit with Melissa Madden and Garrett Miller and learn about the evolution of their farm based on permaculture principles into added value cider making and agritourism. Head around the corner to visit Interbrook Farm, a raw milk dairy CSA and farm store. This is a woman run farm with a half a dozen cows producing raw milk sold direct from the farm to customers.  (visit time: approx. 1 hour per farm)

F. Trumansburg – Canceled.

G. Ithaca West Hill – Visit multiple enterprises at Ecovillage at Ithaca and learn about the housing community. Tour Westhaven Farm CSA, Ithaca’s longest operating CSA on 10 acres.  Hear from farmer John Bokaer-Smith about his decision to rest the soil for a year to reduce weed and pest pressure.  Next, visit the Groundswell Center Farm Business Incubator Site, where manager Liz Coakley will talk about how the farm operates under the mission to provide affordable land and resource access to marginalized individuals wanting to start a farm business, with a key focus being recent refugees and immigrants.  Walk past Kestrel Perch U-Pick Berry CSA, stop in at Gourdlandia to see beautiful and functional carved gourds grown on site, and end up with a guided tour of the EcoVillage residential community. (approx. 2.5 hours)

H. Mecklenburg – Take a trip out Rt 79 west and stop in at Farmer Ground Flour, the regions only flour mill where locally raised grains are milled into various types of flour that is sold throughout the State and beyond. The second stop is Wellspring Forest Farm & School, a small-scale diversified agroforestry farm producing log-grown shiitake and oyster mushrooms, maple syrup, elderberry extract, and integrating livestock (ducks, sheep). The farm is designed with agroforestry and permaculture principles, has implemented multiple water management practices including ponds and swales, and is developing silvopasture. They also offer multi-day workshops on these operations and host airbb guests. (approx. 2.5 hours)

i. South Hill – Visit Ithaca’s Youth Farm Project, a 10 acre educational farm, located on the Ithaca Waldorf School’s 80 acre campus.  The Youth Farm Project began in 2009, and is now entering it’s 8th growing season.  Learn how youth are engaged in farming, and about the farm as a catalyst for social and food justice education for young people in Tompkins County, from pre-K to university.  The Youth Farm Project programs include the Fresh Snack Program, promoting healthy eating habits in elementary children; the Harvest Box program, providing access to fresh produce to seniors and under-served neighborhoods; the Field Trip program, engaging elementary children in farm-based education; and the Summer Program, a job training and food justice program for teens.   The farm’s produce is sold below market value or donated to the Ithaca City School District or through our Mobile Market stand, which travels to neighborhoods where fresh food is not easily accessible, as well as to the Harvest Box and Fresh Snack programs.  (approx. 1.5 hours)