Instant Inspiration: Kate Cardona

Kate Cardona

Community Program Coordinator, Groundswell Center

20160711_164109-1Kate is Groundswell’s newest staff member, and will be serving as our Community Program Coordinator. We thought our inaugural edition of this series would give you a bit of an introduction to Kate!

Kate in her own words:

I’m originally from Brooklyn and carry a big piece of it with me wherever I go. I’m fiercely dedicated to my family and friends and to building community. I’ve spent a lot of the past many years working towards initiatives for racial and economic justice and draw lots of inspiration and motivation from people’s social movements around the world. Locally I work as the Community Program Coordinator with Groundswell, serve on the Showing Up for Racial Justice Steering Committee, and am on the board of the Multicultural Resource Center.

I spent the last two years as a preschool teacher in a toddler classroom and really appreciate the joy, curiosity and presence of children. I love learning about growing food and have spent time farming in both cities and in rural towns. Currently I’m really enjoying working in my garden, learning more about herbalism, and spending as much time dancing as possible!

10 Questions

Name one thing that you have tried to grow, raise, produce or cook that was a surprising success? A total failure?

I’ve started growing my own food just in the last three years, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I’ve been able to grow anything at all! For a long time I felt really intimidated to grow on my own and it’s been amazing to just dig in and go for it at my downtown Ithaca home. I have a special affinity for my herb garden, for how incredible they smell and how many culinary and medicinal uses they each have. I’ve never had success growing cilantro though, even though I’ve tried multiple times!

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

I get really fired up while talking and learning with other people about how to bring about a community and world with dignity, respect and justice for all of us. I love hearing people’s stories and learning their idiosyncrasies. Singing in groups, lots of dancing, working in my garden, gorge hikes, lake swims, spending time with children, reading books and eating ice cream!

If you could go back and tell your 18-year-old self one thing, what would it be?

Sit with complexity. The answer’s often a both/and rather than an either/or.

If you had a motto (or a mantra), what would it be?

We are unstoppable, another world is possible.

If you could cook a meal for any one person, living or dead, who would they be and what would you cook?

My family on my mother’s side has a homemade pancake recipe that’s been passed down through the years. I have so many memories of Saturday mornings sharing pancakes with fruit and maple syrup with different family members and friends in our apartment in Brooklyn. It’s a lot of fun to think of sitting around a huge table with our big extended family, grandparents who have passed on included, and serving them all up a warm, rich, sweet, delicious breakfast (my favorite meal of the day!). I’m so grateful for them all and don’t get to see them as much as I did in those days of childhood.

Name 3 things in nature that you find beautiful.

I love the beauty and meaning in things that spiral, so in keeping with that theme: fiddlehead ferns, snail shells and romanesco.

What is something you love to make?

Drawings– worlds of spiraling flowers, geometric shapes, moons and eyes.

What is your favorite word? What is your least favorite word?

It’s so hard to choose! When I was in elementary school my two best friends and I collected words that we loved the sound of on post it notes that we kept in altoid tins and other small boxes. There were thousands of post-its! I don’t know if it made the list back then but I really like the word “ampersand”. I’m not a big fan of “gumption”.


Instant Inspiration introduces you to an eclectic array of folks in our area connected with food and farming. We hope you find them and their work inspiring!  Contact us if you’d like to be featured! Read other Instant Inspiration posts by clicking on the “Instant Inspiration” category tag above. 
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