Many New Signs of Sustainability

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December 14, 2009 Tompkins Weekly
By Christina Orlandini and Marian Brown

This is the first in the series of articles in which we will introduce readers to the bumper crop of Sustainable Tompkins’ “Signs of Sustainability” for 2009. Even though this has been a fairly dismal economic year, we are able to note the appearance of the following new sustainable enterprises:

The Cayuga Sunrise Holistic Haven in Romulus is a bed and breakfast retreat overlooking Cayuga Lake. It offers vegan, raw and vegetarian cuisine and Sunrise yoga. Congo Square Market, a new market at the Southside Community Center, features music, vendors, food and fun for the community! The market is a collaboration between Southside, Ithaca Youth Bureau, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County’s Whole Community Project.

Emmy’s Organics creates raw, certified vegan, gluten- and dairyfree desserts. Their macaroons, granola, and ice cream are packaged in recyclable, biodegradable packaging. Essential Saltes Baby offers handmade cloth diapers and diaper covers made of sustainable fabrics like bamboo fleece and organic cotton. Farmer Ground Flour uses grains locally grown by Cayuga Pure Organics and Oescher Farms. Farmer Ground Flour is available at GreenStar and used in local bakery products. Food for the Planet is a new restaurant offering exclusively vegan foods, using organic and local ingredients where possible. High Point Farms, LLC in Trumansburg provides grass-fed beef and lamb, free-range eggs, and pasture-raised chicken and pork, free of antibiotics or growth hormones. High Point’s CSA members receive shares of meat, eggs and cheese once a month. Life’s So Sweet Chocolates uses 50 percent local and domestic ingredients for its handmade chocolates, and offers them in recycled and recyclable packaging.

M.E.S.S. Express is a social advocacy group that combats drunk driving among college students with two strategies: simplified bus chartering and prepaid taxis. M.E.S.S. Express has safely moved over 15,000 students. With Sapsquatch Pure Maple Products, members purchase shares of a local maple syrup harvest in a Community Supported Sugaring (CSS) project. Wishing Well’s online resource publication launched to focus on community journalism, local sustainable business and events, wellness and spirituality. XEO prepares authentic, fresh Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches and noodle bowls using exclusively local ingredients. A umber of new organizations emerged this year as well, each tackling a particular sustainability challenge. The Bioscience Resource Project illustrates the science of food and agriculture, and their environmental and social impacts. Their Web site,, provides scientific analysis of agricultural developments like GMOs and pesticides and offers insights into alternatives. The Dacha Project is a new 16-acre, self-sustaining educational homestead in Freeville that includes an earth-bermed structure and straw bale cottage, a fruit and nut tree orchard, and an organic garden.

The Danby Land Bank Cooperative formed to support rural proper-ty owners wishing to use their fields and forests for grass and wood pellet production. The Danby Trails Committee encourages healthful activity and eco-tourism in Danby, incorporating existing trails and abandoned roadways into a recreation trail through natural areas. The new Dryden Solutions group facilitates monthly conversations on issues such as energy efficiency, transportation and strengthening community. Greeks Go Green shows Cornell fraternities and sororities easy ways to make their chapter houses more eco-friendly and sustainable.

The Green Resource Hub launched the Sustainable Enterprise Network, a growing community of sustainable businesses, organizations and entrepreneurs. Growing Hope Together is a joint community project between the Newfield school district and the residents of the Kenyan village of Simenya. Newfield schools donated laptop computers to the Simenya community and the project supports school gardening in both locations. Ithaca’s Food Web is an online resource offering news and information about growers, producers, cooks and food preservation. The Food Web examines larger food system issues and offers a calendar of food-related events and activities. Shaleshock Citizens Action Alliance is a grassroots group of Finger Lakes residents concerned with protecting our communities and environment and work to stop the unsafe exploitation of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale. Share Tompkins, formed to help community members share and trade goods and services in Ithaca and Tompkins County, organized six Community Swap Meets.

Christina Orlandini is an Ithaca College writing intern. Marian Brown is a member of Sustainable Tompkins’ Board of Directors.

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