THE SIMPLE STORY: FARMERS NEED WATER
It's simple. Farmers can't grow food without water.
Your gift to this campaign contributes to a new pond at the Incubator Farm and directly supports 28 farmers like Eh Sey (pictured below) to irrigate crops with a sustainable and ecologically-beneficial water source.
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN: WHY THE POND IS SO CRITICAL
Groundswell's Incubator Farm in Ithaca, NY provides affordable land, equipment, walk-in coolers, and extensive infrastructure and tools to new farmers (especially refugees).
The project was originally launched in 2012 to support growers for a 3-year 'incubation period' and has always relied on town water for irrigation. However, The Groundswell's Incubator Farm's dependency on Ithaca town water is both expensive and inefficient, costing more than $6,000 annually even with extensive water conserving farming practices.
The 28 farmers utilize the Incubator Farm to gain supplemental income from produce sales, grow and provide fresh and culturally appropriate foods to their families and the local refugee community! After years of investing into the soil, learning the landscape, establishing markets and being part of a community, these farmers want to stay at the farm site and continue producing an abundance of crops.
To provide land and security to these farmers, in 2020, Groundswell is shifting the program from an Incubator to a Community Farm.
And the Farmers need your support.
A trend we're witnessing at Incubator Farms across the country, a Community Farm is a variation on the Incubator model that provides a base of infrastructure and land access, but it differs because it also enables farmers to have more autonomy in collaborative site management and decision-making, and allows growers to remain at the site as long as they are producing crops. We're already working side by side with the farmers to prepare them over the next year for a smooth transition to this Community Farm model, and we'll also be training a few of the farmers to be Farm Managers, a part-time seasonal position compensated by Groundswell.
But, as we lay the groundwork for the Community Farm, we want to do all we can to provide a foundation for success for the farmers. Removing the farm's dependency on town water is the biggest obstacle to the farmers success. Water is both the largest expense of the site and the most critical resource for a farmer.
Despite careful water monitoring and water conservation techniques, the municipal water is not a sustainable approach to irrigation at the Community Farm. With your support, this project will build an on-site pond so the water can be pumped throughout the farms' irrigation system. An investment in a pond not only greatly reduces long-term water costs for the growers, but also conserves water and establishes a new aquatic habitat that increases ecosystem diversity at the farm.
Will you support this conservation project?
A gift of any size has an impact.
ABOUT GROUNDSWELL CENTER FOR LOCAL FOOD & FARMING
Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming offers affordable workshops, training programs, land access support, business consulting and incubation for growers and producers in the Finger Lakes. We work to address environmental and social injustices in the food system by prioritizing support for underrepresented producers and centering equity and sustainability in all of our programming.
With the transition of the Incubator to a Community Farm, we're actively looking to lease or purchase other land in the Finger Lakes so that we can relaunch a larger Farm Business Incubator Program that accommodate a diversity of farm enterprises including livestock and to continue to provide land and training to beginning farmers.
September 2019 marks Groundswell's 10th anniversary! Thanks to a decade of experience and the support of our community, Groundswell has cultivated a strong foundation upon which we can now grow and touch more lives through farming.
Thank you for helping us and farmers achieve big dreams and cultivate a resilient food system!
Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming is a 501c3 nonprofit. Your gift is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Photo Credits : Sara Tro (top & bottom), Alison Usavage (middle)