Friday, 31 May 2013 14:58
By Luke Jones,
GSCP Program Director
In 2011, GreenStar Community Projects, Inc. (GSCP) and our partners organized our first successful Food Justice Summit with speaker Malik Yahini. In 2012, we made the Summit an annual event, with enormous success. In 2013, GSCP is finally ready to step out into the community as a force for food justice in the region, working to ensure equitable access to healthy food, which has previously been a limited privilege.
What is food justice? Food justice seeks to ensure that the benefits and risks of where, what, and how food is grown, produced, transported, distributed, accessed, and eaten are shared fairly. Food justice represents a transformation of the current food system, and is focused on cohesive networks of local food distribution, care for the community and the environment and, above all else, eliminating disparities and inequities.
In action, food justice means communities actively exercising their right to grow, sell, and eat healthy food. Healthy food is fresh, nutritious, affordable, culturally appropriate, and grown locally with care for the well-being of the land, workers, and animals. People practicing food justice leads to a strong local food system, self-reliant communities, and a healthy environment.
Sunday, 05 May 2013 16:45
Since every life ends in death, isn't dying consciously a way to take conscious living to the limit? And if mindful living, for you, includes minding your carbon footprint every step of the way, why not keep it as low as possible when you make your exit? Do you want your body reduced to ashes in an energy-guzzling process that sends pollutants into the air (as in the process of cremation — typically thought of as the best of available choices)? Do you want to have it pumped full of toxic preserving chemicals and stashed in a predominantly metal coffin, which then goes into a concrete or metal vault (the system used in most burial grounds to keep the earth from sinking)? Imagine this: your body could simply be returned to the earth — your final composting effort, as it were — in a place that doesn't rob land from nature and even provides protected space for wildlife, with a simple field stone for a marker, engraved, perhaps, but neither cut nor polished.
I had a long and truly inspiring conversation with Joel Rabinowitz, the director of Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve, to learn all about it. The cemetery that became operational in May of 2006 had its genesis when two women from Corning, Jennifer Johnson and Susan Thomas, got it into their earth-loving heads at the beginning of 2000 (right on January 1st!) that a local natural option should exist. The natural burial movement was just getting going then. The Green Burial Council, which provides eco-certification for cemeteries and funeral homes, currently lists 37 certified natural burial grounds in the United States, with more in existence operating without certification. Obviously, they're far outnumbered by conventional cemeteries. But note that conventional doesn't equal traditional: advocates of natural burial are quick to point out that current practices only began in the past couple of centuries. Factor in sustainability, and it's a no-brainer to go back to the old way.
Friday, 03 May 2013 16:39
By Patrice Lockert Anthony
In the beginning, on the south side of town, there were the Community Mothers. They were a group of Black women who took upon themselves the care, upkeep, and uplift of the Black Southside community. They were the village, as it were. From this beginning, an official organization formed, called the Francis Harper Women's Club. The Francis Harper Women's Club created the ServUs League. Members of the league raised money and persuaded four Ithaca businessmen to serve on the first advisory board. By 1927, the League and club were meeting in a house at 221 South Plain Street. In 1932 they were able to purchase property at 305 South Plain Street, the current site of the Southside Community Center. In 1937, the center as we know it was built (by the Works Progress Administration). In 1938, in a ceremony attended by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, the center was dedicated. It flourished.
Today, the Southside Community Center is experiencing a re-birth; a vibrancy. Nia Nunn Makepeace, the new Executive Director, is a large part of that renewal. She has brought a new sense of energy and purpose to the Southside Community Center. Indeed, Dr. Nunn Makepeace is purpose driven. She is a single mother, a fairly recent (two years) PhD (in psychology) recipient, the school psychologist at Beverly J. Martin elementary school, and a very engaged, respected, and beloved member of the Ithaca community.
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By Laura Buttenbaum,
What is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons unite...