Farm to Plate Conference

Farm to Plate Conference

Uniting to Create, Educate, and Celebrate a Sustainable Local Food System

Join us for an exciting 3-day event that will honor our ancestors, the land and local farmers. We will share knowledge and resources about food production, preparation and community-wide resilience strategies, and build sustainable campus/community relationships.

Through Keynote speakers, workshops, and engaging interactive events we will celebrate the vibrant food and farming culture of the region.


Undoing Racism Workshop

Undoing Racism Workshop

Undoing Racism Workshop, a signature workshop facilitated by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, will take place in Ithaca, NY April 6 – 8th and registration is now open to the public.

The Undoing Racism Workshop is 2 days + an evening; April 6 (5-9pm), 7 (9am – 5pm) and 8 (9am – 5pm). Registrants must be able to commit to attending the entire workshop. Location: announced when registration confirmed.

Cost is $350 per person, $175 for small non-profit organization staff and high school students. (These are standard costs for these workshops.)

This Workshop is Full. You are welcome to Register and be added to the waiting list. 


Can’t attend but want to help? 


The Ithaca Undoing Racism Workshop is being organized and hosted by The Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming, the Multicultural Resource Center, the Youth Farm Project and Tommy Miller, and can only accommodate a limited number of individuals.

We are grateful to the Park Foundation for a mini-grant that directly supports tuition assistance to over 50% of workshop participants.

While there are organizations in Ithaca providing anti-racism education, the objectives of bringing the People’s Institute to Ithaca are to:

  • Cultivate a shared language around racism, white privilege, equity and diversity within an organization’s staff and board to inform recruitment, hiring and retention
  • Establish a cohort of local graduates who identify actionable steps towards undoing racism in Ithaca and surrounding areas and commit to post workshop collaboration
  • Enable local social justice leaders to participate in a workshop with peers, co-workers and community members
  • Call-in people in decision making positions to understand why race is central to multiple sectors including food, education, policy, social services, foundations and private business
  • Build our community’s capacity to undo racism and implement anti-racist strategies and policies

More about the Undoing Racism Workshops and the People Institute, can be found on their website,

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions, would like to volunteer or help fundraise for this workshop!

Thank you,

Katie Church and Rafa Aponte, Youth Farm Project

Elizabeth Gabriel, Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming

Fabina Colon, Multicultural Resource Center

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!

Maple Weekend at Wellspring Forest Farm

Maple Weekend at Wellspring Forest Farm

As part of the NY Maple Producers Association, join Wellspring Forest Farm for tours of the farm and sugarshack, taste sap and syrup, and take home our special maple flight! Vendors, musicians, and other activities for the whole family will be posted on Wellspring’s Facebook event page as they are confirmed.

SATURDAY features tours at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm, live music, a local farm and craft market, and delicious wood-fired pizzas from The Rusty Oven.

Wolftree Farm,…

​- TBA

Plus wilderness crafts and fire making with Primitive Pursuits!

SUNDAY is open for casual visitors to the sugarshack and will feature an Introduction to Log-Grown Shiitake class from 11am – 1pm. For $40 per person, learn how to make your own mushroom logs, and take one home! Sign up for the class at:

LEARN MORE about the weekend and find other open maple farms:

Tompkins County Community Matchup

Tompkins County Community Matchup

Have you felt the pull to get involved in your community but aren’t sure where to start? Join us at Community MatchUp, a quick and fun way to connect concerned community members with like-minded organizations.

Each organization (including nonprofits and other agencies) will have a mailing list signup, volunteer signup, and donation box. This is about building a relationship with an organization that catches your eye and helping them thrive in the troubled years to come. We will have cards available so you can give the gift of your donated time or money in the name of a loved one, the name of future generations, or the planet (we will have holiday cards as a gift for your giving).

We will also have food, music, and a silent auction to raise money for initiatives like youth activities, food pantries, and library programming in rural communities. You can also donate to this fund here.

Get matched and help ensure a vibrant, resilient, and inclusive community!

Amy Puryear, Tenzin Chopak, and Travis Knapp: Benefit for Morningsong Community Service Farm

Amy Puryear, Tenzin Chopak, and Travis Knapp: Benefit for Morningsong Community Service Farm

Please join us for a very special early evening of music with these three outstanding local artists, and help support the mission of Morningsong Community Service Farm.

Amy, Tenzin, and Travis will each play a set featuring their beautiful and compelling songwriting talents. Come hungry! We’ll have soup and corn bread (for an additional donation), and Sacred Root will have desserts. There will also be an opportunity to enter the raffle for a fine handmade Todd Rose steel string acoustic guitar.

Morningsong Community Service Farm’s mission is to help ensure that every person in our community has enough fresh, nutritious food to eat every day. With the support of caring and engaged people like yourself, we produce farm fresh food for donation to community members in need through local food pantries and meal programs, while also serving as a resource to support people in producing their own food and moving toward greater self-reliance.

Suggested Donation $10

From Farm to Table to Justice: An Evening of Food, Film and Farmworker Rights!

From Farm to Table to Justice: An Evening of Food, Film and Farmworker Rights!

Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming, Tompkins County Workers CenterCongo Square MarketLatino Civic Association of Tompkins Countythe Multicultural Resource Center, New Roots Charter School &  the Youth Farm Project present

From Farm to Table to Justice

An Evening of Food, Film and Farmworker Rights!

Friends Meeting House, 120 3rd St, Ithaca, NY 14850



$10 Suggested Donation

(No one will be turned away.)


A special fall Congo Square Market with dinner for sale by community vendors from 5:00-6:30PM and t-shirt sales by New Roots students and Groundswell Center.

A screening of “Food Chains”, a movie on the revolutionary Fair Food organizing of Florida based farmworker group The Coalition of Immokalee Workers!

A post-film panel discussion on local action for farmworker rights, featuring organizers from regional Workers Centers and more!

FABIOLA ORTIZ VALDEZ, Workers’ Center of Central NY: Fabiola is originally from Mexico, where she has been involved in the Zapatista movement in Mexico since 2001. She has worked with undocumented farmworkers since 2009. First as a health case manager and researcher in the egg, dairy and blueberry industries in Maine, and with dairies in New York. She is a PhD student in the anthropology department at Syracuse University. Her dissertation focuses on labor relations and labor organizing among dairy workers in Central New York.

CARLOS GUTIERREZ, Tompkins County Workers’ Center: Carlos was born in Chile, where he studied at the Technical State University prior to coming to the USA in 1976. He received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Carlos worked in NYC for the Department of Social Services and other private community private institutions as a case manager.

Carlos was a member of the Friends of the Chilean People, a solidarity organization promoting the return to Democracy in Chile during the period of the military dictatorship 1973-1990. While living in Ithaca, Carlos has worked for NYS Office of Children and Family Services and NYS Department of Labor. He received a Masters of Professional Studies from Alfred University, Alfred NY. Carlos is a member founder of the Latino Civic Association of Tompkins County. Carlos has volunteered with the Tompkins County Workers’ Center since its inception addressing labor issues affecting immigrant workers, and currently, he is holds a position as Labor Counselor, Occupational Safety and Health trainer training immigrants and vulnerable workers.


More info also at:




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Third Annual Finger Lakes Permaculture Tour Weekend

Third Annual Finger Lakes Permaculture Tour Weekend

August 26, 27, and 28, 2016

Screening of INHABIT: A Permaculture Perspective

  • Auburn Public Theater,  Auburn, N.Y.:  Friday 8/19, Saturday 8/20, Wednesday 8/24 (time tba)
  • Art and Mission Theatre,  Binghamton, N.Y.: Monday 8/22 at 7 p.m.
  • Press Bay Alley, 108 State St., Ithaca, N.Y. : Friday 8/26 at 8 p.m.

Admission to Press Bay Alley event is free, but your donations are needed and appreciated to support the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute and the Permaculture Tour Weekend.

Conscious Electronic Dance Music

  • Circus Culture, Press Bay Alley, 108 State St., Ithaca, N.Y. Friday 8/26 at 10 p.m.

Meet other tour participants and local permaculture activists. Dance to beats from local artist and activist Astro Hawk. Admission is free, but your donations are needed and welcome. Alcohol-free space.

Saturday, Aug 27th

Tours of Permaculture Farms, Gardens, Parks, & Homes

  • Various location within an hour of Ithaca, N.Y., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
    See examples of permaculture design. Meet the designers and practitioners. Plants, seeds, food, medicine and others gifts are offered for sale at many of the working farms. An online map will be found at this website (

Post-tour Reception

  • Finger Lakes Cider House, Interlaken, N.Y. from 6 to 8 p.m.
    • Music by local Folk-Jazz Fusionist Jen Cork
    • Permaculture Artifacts Raffle
    • Donations requested and raffle proceeds will support the Permaculture Tour Weekend.

Sunday, Aug 28th

Convergence & Plant Sale:

Networking for the Regional Permaculture Scene

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County, 323 Owego Street, Montour Falls, N.Y.
    10 a.m.-4 p.m.

    • Presentations, demonstrations, a gathering of permaculture practitioners and enthusiasts, plus a sale of perennial plants.
    • Admission to the event is free. Your donations will support the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute and the Permaculture Tour Weekend.
    • Proposals for presentations and workshops are still being accepted. More information…

Get Lifted Festival

Get Lifted Festival

A festival celebrating alternative methods of healing and thriving, by providing the community with access to the local resources available to uplift the collective! This incredible day-long festival will culminate with an incredible performance by Jah9, a conscious-reggae artist from Jamaica.
Hear Her:

Sunday July 31st will BE a day of healing through music, yoga, and local unity. The day will consist of three concurrent workshops in the morning and three more in the afternoon, focusing on health, wellness, and exploring an alternative local economy. These workshops will take place at GIAC, Southside, and Sacred Root Kava Bar. Register and DONATE to the event NOW to reserve a space in the workshops that interest you most:

Workshop topics include-

LIFE RESOURCES -Beyond Survival: Thriving in an alternative economy.
We wil be working to activated our dormant local economy by getting individuals involved in community bartering systems such as Ithaca Time Traders and Ithaca Families Gift economy, plus many more…

FOOD SOVEREIGNTY -From scarcity to abundance: How to secure clean, healthy food for all residents of Ithaca and our surrounding areas.
Here we will look at the many resources Ithaca has to offer to get fresh healthy food into the hands of our families while doing our best to bypass the hard systems of money and DSS.

YOGA AND MINDFULNESS FOR THE REST OF US- Above stereotypes: Bringing diversity to the mat.
In this workshop we will explore conversations about creating inclusive environments for all people to raise their consciousness, elevate their health, and lift their vibration through the healing methods of mindfulness and yoga.

REDISCOVERING TRUST- Exploring intersectionality: Building trust and healthier relationships across boundaries in our community.
This workshop is about further educating ourselves about what divides communities and empowering participants with tools to build bridges and break down the walls which separate and hinder us as a whole. Together we can have a strong collective impact!

HEALING OURSELVES- Reclaiming our health from Big-Pharma
In this workshop we will discuss the many ways of reclaiming autonomy and putting health care back into the hands of individuals as well as recreating empowered relationships with our health care providers.

HOW TO EAT REAL FOOD- Cooking demo with locally sourced and affordable ingredients.
This class will be very interactive, with cooking demonstrations, taste testing, and practical lessons on how to store and prepare fresh produce for a healthier family lifestyle.

Suggested donation $15.

NOFA-NY Presents: Moving into Wholesale Markets for Small and Mid-Sized Farms

NOFA-NY Presents: Moving into Wholesale Markets for Small and Mid-Sized Farms
Join us at Main Street Farms in Cortland, NY to examine the potential for moving into wholesale markets. Cornell’s Crystal Stewart will demonstrate the fundamentals for crossing over into wholesale markets, from record keeping to timing crops.
One of Main Street Farms’ primary objectives is to bring healthy, local food to the community. We will take a look at how Main Street Farms utilizes education and partners with the community to create a strong local food system.
Main Street Farms was founded by Allan Gandelman in 2011, and is dedicated to sustainable agriculture and local food security. They provide food to local schools, grocery stores, restaurants, local farm markets and CSA members all over Central NY.
Registration fees are $15/person or $25 for two or more people/farm. This event is sponsored by NOFA-NY through funding from the USDA-AMS FMPP Marketing grant. To view the event website and register, click here or call 585-271-1979.

Groundswell’s Spring Mixer & Plant Swap

Groundswell’s Spring Mixer & Plant Swap
Spring Mixer Banner
Groundswell’s Office  • 225 South Fulton Street , Ithaca, NY 14850
Let’s celebrate Spring and the coming growing season! Join us at our office (225 South Fulton Street) for fun, food by Iron Owl Kitchen, Hopshire beer, and great music by The Local Farmers Union. Bring some of your extra seedlings or seeds to swap and bring some new ones home for your garden!
Plants and seeds have been generously donated by: The Plantsmen Nursery, Cayuga Landscape Co., Main Street Farms, and Fruition Seeds.
Suggested Donation $10.

Groundswell’s Incubator Farm Volunteer Party / Work Day

Groundswell’s Incubator Farm Volunteer Party / Work Day

Groundswell’s Incubator Farm Volunteer Party / Work Day
Saturday, April 16, 10am – 2pm
Groundswell’s Incubator Farm • 115 Rachel Carson Way, Ithaca, NY 14850

It’s time to get out to the farm and get some projects done! We are calling on all of our friends, fans and fellow farmers to come on out and pitch in, learn a new skill, get a little dirty and have some fun! Help us build a hoop house and install fencing! Snacks and drinks will be provided. Sign up in advance (and attend) and you will be entered in a drawing to win a $25 Gift Certificate from Home Green Home and a Groundswell T-Shirt!

Due to the nature of the work, we ask that volunteers be age 16+.