Thursday, 30 August 2012 14:52
By Liz Karabinakis,
GSCP Program Coordinator
Farm fields and foodies flourish in the Finger Lakes, but the abundance of our region is not available to all. "Although Tompkins County is revered as an agriculturally rich region, unemployment and underemployment combined with rising food costs and other basic living expenses are causing our community to slip into food insecurity," says Liz Karabinakis, co-founder and Program Coordinator of GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP), the educational non-profit affiliate of GreenStar Cooperative Market. "Culturally acceptable and dignified access to growing and consuming good food is a human right being taken away from the majority. The global profit-driven food industry is contributing to peak oil and peak soil and is failing our people and planet. The purpose of the Food Justice Summit, organized by GSCP in collaboration with community and campus partners, is to bring people together to take back their food by building a sustainable local food system that is socially just, ecologically responsible and economically viable."
The Food Justice Summit begins with a walkathon at 10 am on Saturday, Sept. 22, outside of Neighborhood Pride (210 Hancock Street, Ithaca). The five-mile loop will include educational stops with opportunities to learn about food justice projects underway and chances for individuals and teams to win great prizes. The walkathon will culminate at a Street Fair from noon until 7 pm, featuring a local organic BBQ with meat, vegetarian and vegan fare, live music, craft vendors, culinary demonstrations, youth activities, performances and more.
Thursday, 02 August 2012 14:56
By Joe Romano,
— Donna Haraway
As members of the GreenStar community we have been following the progress of issues surrounding healthy food in our co-op, community, country, and culture. Some of us have been working over the span of a lifetime and it has been a slow, hard road to try to ensure that the future of our food is a healthy one. We have had to fight the power in government, in politics, and at the corporate level. As a grassroots organization, we have joined other grassroots organizations; we have spoken truth to power and, in many cases, taken control over the way our food is grown, harvested, packaged and sold. If we have not made the change we were seeking, we have at least made our influence felt.
Much of the attention we have given to issues like fair trade, farm workers' rights, livable wages, organic standards, and corporate ownership has resulted in a much more aware society at large — one that is ready, at least nominally, to take on these issues that affect more than just the quality of the food we eat, but the quality of the lives of the people who produce it. The work of progressive people everywhere caused these victories to take place, and co-ops have been right at the forefront, exerting their power as community organizations.
Thursday, 02 August 2012 14:51
By Meaghan Sheehan Rosen
On any given day, 364 days a year, dedicated volunteers in and around Ithaca visit numerous local food outlets and producers. They fill their cars with nutritious food and deliver it within hours to food pantries and other sites and programs nourishing local people in need. During August, GreenStar members have a special opportunity to support this effort, which is the work of Friendship Donations Network.
Friendship Donations Network (FDN) supplies food to 29 programs, reaching 2,100 people each week in six counties. Those programs include 14 pantries, 11 outreach sites (including low-wage work sites, mobile home parks, senior housing, and after-school programs), and four free meal programs. Most of these programs rely on donations through FDN for 100 percent of their food — only six of the 29 programs purchase food from regional food banks to supplement what is supplied through FDN donors. Typically, it's the bigger pantries and meal programs that purchase food from the food banks to ensure a supply that meets the needs of their large number of visitors.
The donations that FDN volunteers retrieve daily vary greatly, making it difficult to predict what type and quantity of food will be available from day to day. On average, FDN rescues and distributes 10,000 to 12,000 pounds of food per week, and more on holidays. During the bountiful growing season in the Finger Lakes Region, many farmers generously donate excess produce to FDN programs. Each weekend, at the close of the Ithaca Farmers Market, vendors donate their unsold produce, ensuring that their valuable harvest will end up on somebody's plate, whether at Loaves and Fishes or through a food pantry, rather than in a compost heap.
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5:30 Social engagement, Dinner, Tabling
6:40 President's Report with Committee Updates
6:55 Member Forum Report
7:05 General Manager's Report
7:15 Food Justice Video
7:35 Referendum Presentation, Pro/Con Statements, Q&A
8:10 Thanks and Closing
8:15 Dessert and Clean-up...