Seeking Equal Opportunity in Local Farming
Tompkins Weekly 5-23-16
By Jenn Bassman
If you have ever composted, you have likely heard the term “browns and greens.” It refers to the carbon (brown) and nitrogen (green) materials in your compost bin. Achieving the perfect 3:1 ratio of these substances creates a mixture that turns everyday yard waste into magical garden-enriching gold, aka soil. Fail to include the proper ratio of any part of this recipe, and you wind up with something that may smell from here to the next county or just sit there and do nothing at all. (Bear with me here, there’s a metaphor in all of this.)
At the Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming, all of us on the staff (and several of the board members) are farmers. We think about things in context of soil, water, air, plants, animals, etc. So, when we an article by Leah Pennimen of Soul Fire Farm titled “After a Century in Decline, Black Farmers Are Back and on the Rise,” was sent to us multiple times, it got us thinking about farming, our mission and, well, compost. Of further coincidence, an event called “Browns + Greens: Racial Justice for Radical Sustainability” was held on recently, organized by multiple business and nonprofit leaders of food justice efforts.
Sustainability Center Moves into New Home
Tompkins Weekly 5-15-16
By Nick Goldsmith
The Sustainability Center Board of Directors has announced that the center is back in action in its new space in the Ithaca ReUse Center at 214 Elmira Road. Please join us to celebrate this milestone at our grand opening on the evening of Thursday, June 9. Additional details are below.
Until fall 2014, the Sustainability Center was located in a Tompkins County building at the corner of State and Albany streets. Since then, the center has maintained a low level of activity while waiting for its newly renovated space.
“We’re really excited about the new space,” board member and interim director In Shik Lee says. “It’s so accessible, and Ithaca ReUse did a great job with the renovations. The Sustainability Center occupies an open corner of the ReUse Center, which gives us our own identity, but literally leaves the door open to the collaboration between our organizations that is going to be so important.”
The spirit of collaboration, not just with the ReUse Center, but with sustainability organizations countywide, is already visible in the Sustainability Center’s upcoming events.
Family Embraces a Change in Lifestyle
Tompkins Weekly 5-9-16
By Mark Silver
My twin seven-year old boys have probably been one of the biggest barriers to my wife and me living a more sustainable life.
It’s not their fault, of course. They’re just kids, doing their thing. But, when it’s 6pm and we’re surrounded, again, by styrofoam restaurant take-out containers, my heart aches. I know, it’s just take-out food, no mortal sin.
Yet I also know the styrofoam is going to live on in a landfill. I know the food from the restaurant probably came from a global supply chain where the vegetables were grown with poison and the animals led unhappy, unhealthy lives, and all processed and shipped a long way.
On one hand, it’s just normal, how things are done. On the other hand, it’s kinda crazy, don’t you think? We’re surrounded by cows here in Tompkins County, does the hamburger my son eats really need to come from who knows where?
When I’m tired and just trying to get through a rough day with my family, the easy choice is where we sometimes fall, even though that’s not how we would choose to live our lives when we’re rested. This very dynamic is why we’re excited to be moving into our new home at White Hawk Ecovillage this month.