Sustainable Tompkins is a citizen-based organization working towards the long-term well-being of our communities by integrating social equity, economic vitality, ecological stewardship, and shared responsibility.

More About Sustainable Tompkins

News & Events

Neighborhood Mini-Grant Supports Citizen Science at Roy H. Park Preserve

As the Earth’s climate changes, the seasonal behaviors of plants and animals (leafing, blooming, nesting, migration, etc.) are shifting in complex, interconnected ways. Phenology, the study of these seasonal changes, has a key role in our understanding and adapting to the present and future impacts of climate change. To help the public contribute information to this field – while enjoying and learning about the natural world — the Finger Lakes Land Trust has created a Phenology Trail at its Roy H. Park Preserve in Dryden, with funding provided by a Neighborhood Mini-Grant from Sustainable Tompkins.

Trailhead kiosks provide datasheets for recording the condition of the leaves, flowers, and fruit of six trailside trees labeled with interpretive signs. Visitors may report their findings to the Nature’s Notebook website run by the National Phenology Network, or leave datasheets at a kiosk for submission by Land Trust staff. Submissions have arrived regularly ever since the trail opened in June 2016. Data gathered on the website is used in scientific research, education, resource management, and policy making; yielding widespread benefits from local observations.

The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program provides seed money to diverse initiatives to build environmental, economic, and social resilience and well-being in Tompkins County. In turn, we need your support! Please donate today and help us support more wonderful citizen-driven projects to improve life in our community.

2017 Signs of Sustainability Awardees Steward Our Living Planet

Sustainability and resilience aren’t bestowed upon a society. They are crafted and woven from the hard work, vision, and collaborative leadership of its members. Since 2006, Sustainable Tompkins has been celebrating the individuals and groups in our county that are improving our present and safeguarding our future, enriching our lives and making us better human beings. Awardees in our third annual People’s Choice Signs of Sustainability poll were celebrated on April 29 as part of our Climate March and Earth Day Ithaca events. 

We were so excited to see Hotel Groton, owned by Jeffrey Toolan, take first place in the Business category of the 2017 Signs of Sustainability Awards. The former Groton Hotel is now known as Hotel Groton since Jeff turned this historic landmark main street building into a sustainably-renovated-to-it’s-period-beauty, 100% electric-powered, all LED, carbon neutral building serving local and organic food in the café. Thereby restoring a decaying building into a renewed destination and helping to rebuild the local economy in Groton with an attractive, modern and sustainable business.  The project qualifies as a “truly heroic effort” and we anticipate many Ithacans will take a road trip to dine at the new Hotel Groton. Second place winners were Quinn Energy and Renovus Solar for their innovative work in clean energy. Third place winners made a 4-way tie for their sustainable business practices with Edible Acres, The Watershed, Good to Go Market, and Brookton’s Market. Read more…

People’s Climate March and Earth Day Ithaca Attract Large Crowds


We had a truly great day on April 29! After weeks of planning with our partners, Sustainable Tompkins hosted our local March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in conjunction with our annual Earth Day Ithaca events.  More than 700 gathered on the Commons for our opening rally with music by Burns & Kristy, followed by inspirational remarks by Assemblywoman Lifton, Nick Goldsmith from the City of Ithaca, Deborah Cipolla-Dennis from Town of Dryden and Irene Weiser from Fossil Free Tompkins on the critical importance of citizen engagement on climate policy at all levels of government.

The NACL street theater troupe from Sullivan County reminded us just what the Trump administration has in mind for the environment, and then the Fall Creek Brass Band led our long and joyous procession of young and old bearing signs and banners for the one-mile march to the Space where we held our second rally on taking action for the climate – and grabbing lunch from a solar-powered, wood-fired pizza truck and a bicycle-driven food cart full of delicious Latin American cuisine.  If you missed the rally and march, or just want to remember some of the fine speeches, please watch the wonderful video produced by Eddie Rodriguez of the opening rally and the march down to the Space. Read more…

Signs of Sustainability
Uniting for a Just and Sustainable Food System

Tompkins Weekly         6-12-17

By Kate Cardona

As farmer and educator Damon Brangman reflected last fall on the many food and agriculture conferences he has attended around the country, he realized that Ithaca, with its abundant farmland, fresh food, and community members interested in the connection between food and social justice would be an ideal place to host a conference.

Through conversations between Brangman, staff members of Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming and Cornell Professor Rachel Bezner-Kerr, a collaborative vision for the Farm to Plate Conference was born.

Read more…

Dish Truck – You Can Be a Part of the Solution

Tompkins Weekly         5-29-17

By Joey Diana Gates

Aiming for pollution prevention, the Ithaca-area based Dish Truck provides durable dishes to event coordinators, small-scale food enterprises and the general public to use in place of disposable dishware.

Solid waste displacement through the use of durable dishware at events provides an immense opportunity to reduce source point pollution, and to address local and statewide environmental, economic and environmental justice concerns. By simply replacing disposables with re-usable dishes, we are bringing the responsibility for our by-products back into the community.

Read more…

Sustainable Gardening in Ithaca

Tompkins Weekly     5-22-17

By Ron Liso

“There are only two things that money can’t buy – true love and home-grown tomatoes.”

This quote from one of the gardeners at the Ithaca Community Gardens sums up well what the Gardens are all about. Run by Project Growing Hope, the Ithaca Community Gardens is a potpourri of seasoned Ithacans, newly arrived immigrants, students, retirees, families and children. Gardeners all learn from one another as we share tools, seeds, and advice while admiring each other’s little Edens. It’s a place where the values of cooperation and community are practiced every day.

Read more…

ST Blog

Older Posts

Fracking: What Are We FOR?
Sustainability is a Society of Systems Thinkers
Don’t Thank an Antifracktivist

Follow our RSS feed

Energy and Equity Go Hand in Hand


Extreme income inequality, persistent racism, and increasing climate disruption are undeniable plagues of our time. We are fortunate that many people in Tompkins County are working on these issues. Some are advocates for racial and economic justice, such as creating living-wage jobs, removing barriers to reentry from the prison system, and ensuring affordable housing for all. Many others are involved in initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, such as, stopping gas infrastructure development, switching from fossil fuels to renewable sources, and conserving energy in housing, transportation, food, water, and waste. Read more…

Home Rule and the Greater Good

After hours of discussion at the June 16th county legislative meeting, the vote on the fate of the Old Library ended in a stalemate of 6 in favor of a large apartment complex for seniors (TravisHyde), and 6 in favor of a smaller adaptive reuse condo project (Franklin Properties) which had hundreds of petition supporters and inspired dozens of citizens to show up and speak in favor of the Franklin proposal. Read more…

How to Get Active on Climate? Even More Locally

By Miranda Phillips

With artic ice melting at great speed, and climate disruption happening a hundred years sooner than expected, climate change is promising to be the biggest challenge of the 21st century.  Not often talked about, at least in mainstream media, are the psychological and spiritual aspects of this challenge – among them, fear, guilt, and grief that make it difficult for us to act and act fast. Read more…

Secured By miniOrange