Each quarter, GreenStar selects three local not-for-profits to be the recipients of our Bring Your Own Bag, Use It for Good program donations. Our BYOB program encourages shoppers to bring their own bags by providing them with a token worth 5¢ that they can donate to one of the chosen organizations. At the end of the quarter, we make a donation to the groups based on the number of tokens given by our customers. This quarter, our recipients are Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming, the Tompkins County SPCA, and Loaves & Fishes.

Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming is training the next generation of farmers in the Finger Lakes. Groundswell supports individuals to develop agricultural skills and grow profitable, equitable, and ecologically sound farm businesses. They offer monthly workshops on farm business development, food justice, and sustainable agriculture, and also established New York State’s first Incubator Farm, a program that provides land, equipment, and infrastructure to new growers from underrepresented groups. In 2019, 80% of the 30 growers at the Incubator Farm are immigrants or refugees .

This year marks Groundswell’s 10th anniversary and a decade of transforming the local food and farming system through their core values: Farming and Food Abundance, Regenerative Agriculture, Equity and Justice, and Relationship Building. Groundswell has strong relationships with a large network of farmers and food system advocates .

Groundswell has major plans to transition the current Incubator Farm to a Community Farm that supports the refugee farmers to stay long-term and continue to grow an abundance of culturally significant food for sale and consumption. This shift has also catalyzed a search for new land for Groundswell to develop a new and expanded incubator program, with a focus on offering low-cost farmland access opportunities for beginning small-scale producers in vegetables, livestock, and more.

Check www.groundswellcenter.org for workshops and updates or to donate to support a just and sustainable Finger Lakes food system!

Are you involved with a not-for-profit organization that might benefit from this program? Apply to be a recipient here.