The significance of our local food system: Groundswell’s response to COVID-19

Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming is committed to supporting farmers, food system workers, community members, and especially those most vulnerable during this trying time. We’re undergoing a double transition: adapting to digital alternatives during the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting new Interim leadership.

Welcoming Interim Leaders. Groundswell Executive Director, Elizabeth Gabriel, gave birth to a healthy baby boy last week. She and her husband Steve are full of sweetness and joy. At this time, we are supporting Elizabeth and her family during her maternity leave.

Patrice Lockert Anthony

As such, we are excited to introduce Patrice Lockert Anthony as Interim Executive Director. Over the next three months, Patrice will guide the organizational vision while supporting the team and the greater Finger Lakes farming community.  

“As someone who, for decades, has been working on the front lines of both operations and board governance; I am excited to lead Groundswell as its Interim Executive Director! It’s always great to be able to put one’s interests and skills to work on behalf of creating equity, justice, and accountability. At Groundswell those words aren’t just talking points. That’s an exciting challenge to take on. As an African American woman who has spent a lifetime as advocate, activist, teacher, entrepreneur, cooperator, trainer, and writer; I am thrilled to have the backing and support of the board, staff, and community, as I step in to do this very important work. No leader is an island unto themselves, though, and there are very talented and committed people in this organization at both staff and board level to help meet the challenge of helping Groundswell thrive until Elizabeth returns. Let’s see how brightly we can shine!”
– Patrice Lockert Anthony

Jonathan Bates

We also welcome Jonathan Bates as Interim Project Director. Stepping away from his volunteer position as Groundswell Board Chair, Jonathan is directing organizational finance and grant management, as well as assisting with farm-based educational program development.

Keep it Local. The Ithaca Farmers Market has compiled a list of local producers selling veggies, fruits, honey, maple syrup, meats, dairy, soaps, and more available for delivery or pick-up. Farmers, please join this list if you have products for sale. As we are experiencing locally, many larger chain and corporate grocers are facing food shortages and it is not easy to obtain essentials. However, in our local economy, we have an abundant network of local food producers. Supporting them supports sustainability in our local economy in a way that gives us a foundation of food security and resilience in hard times such as these. We recommend the Tompkins Mutual Aid Facebook for folks in the county seeking or offering assistance.   

We want to hear from you. We’re teaming up with the Central New York Young Farmers Coalition to host a virtual meet-up for Finger Lakes/Upstate NY Farmers to skill-share, exchange resources, and talk about our needs within the context of social distancing and COVID-19.  Farmers, join us for a virtual meet-up on Thursday March 26th 7 PM-8:30 PM. To register and receive webinar link, click here.

Going Digital. Given recommendations by the Health Department and CDC, we are cancelling public events for the next few months and will be rescheduling several of our programs as free online opportunities. Visit our website for more information and see below for several upcoming opportunities. Our office will remain closed until further notice.