What is GSCP?

GSCP is collaboratively building a community food system that nourishes everyone. 

We do this by networking the communities of Tompkins County, aligning leaders in the food system to end local hunger, and empowering youth to grow their own food.

Share your story, garden or cook with youth, and/or advocate for your community food system! Contact to get involved or sign up to volunteer here.

For a full list of volunteering opportunities with GSCP, see here.

GreenStar Superworkers can get work credit for volunteering with GSCP. Find a SuperWorker info sheet here. To receive SuperWorker credit for volunteering with GSCP, including gardening at Esty Street Garden, submit your hours here. To receive SuperWorker credit for gardening at the school and community gardens GSCP supports (Dewitt Middle School, CCE) you must bring this form with you to the garden and then submit it at the Buffalo St GreenStar store.

Are you passionate about food justice?

Join a dedicated team working to collaboratively build a community food system that nourishes everyone. Network the communities of Tompkins County through coordinating conversations on critical food issues, align leaders across sectors of our food system to end childhood hunger, and empower youth who have experienced hunger with skills to grow their own food.

Board members attend monthly board meetings, serve on a committee or action group, and help support fundraising. In return, GSCP Board members receive Superworker credit (15.5% discount on purchases) at GreenStar! To learn more, contact Holly Payne at or 607-229-3540.

Learn More

GSCP facilitates quarterly, free Local Food Network sessions that span race, class, geography, and sector. Outcomes lead to good health for ourselves, our communities, and our earth.

Over 23 Network sessions, we have facilitated the networking of over 170 local, food-related organizations and more than 800 individual participants. Each session has involved sharing a delicious meal during a structured discussion addressing the most pressing needs and gaps in our food system.

To learn more or get involved with our next networking session, contact

The Childhood Nutrition Collaborative (CNC) brings together groups and individuals from different sectors of the food system to foster the community support and political will required to build a food system that nourishes all children (pre-birth to 24) in Tompkins County.

On any given day, a network of individuals and organizations go into feeding a child: family and friends, the child’s school, local grocery stores providing discounted food, local food pantries, non-profits seeking to end hunger, university networks, government food aid, among others. In 2016, GreenStar Community Projects established the CNC to align these cross-sector parties under a shared work plan to end child hunger in Tompkins County.

To participate or learn more about who’s involved, contact

GSCP runs the wheelchair accessible Esty Street Garden. At the Garden, we offer free events and youth programming to empower youth with skills to grow their own food and advocate for their nutritional needs.

  • At Esty Street Garden, we run a Youth Urban Garden Program that provides opportunities for youth who have experienced hunger to grow, prepare, eat, and take home nourishing food in a fun, nurturing space alongside adult mentors. We focus our programming on school breaks and summer vacation when school food is not available.
  • The Garden provides fresh produce to the community through #FoodisFree curbside events, as a Neighborhood Food Hub, and through produce donations to Loaves & Fishes, our food pantry partner within walking distance.
  • In the summer of 2018, GSCP launched our first full season of youth programming. Through a Seed-to-Supper curriculum, a garden coordinator taught 30 students to grow their own food and supervised peer-led nutrition and cooking classes.

To volunteer at Esty Street Garden or learn more about our Summer 2019 youth programming, contact

GSCP also works extensively to support other school and community gardens in Tompkins County. We are currently providing volunteer labor and resources to the Dewitt Middle School Garden and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

  • GSCP organized and is a member of the Food Policy Council for Tompkins County.
  • GSCP joins and publicizes partner initiatives (eg. Food Bank’s advocacy campaigns; Poor People’s Campaign)
  • GSCP runs Hot Potato Press, an advocacy platform that highlights overlooked stories and voices from our food system. On Hot Potato Press, join a an ongoing conversation about building an inclusive community food system.
  • GSCP leads the CNC to maintain the food layer of the Community Platform for Tompkins County, where reliable, updated information from peer-reviewed sources can be accessed to promote childhood nutrition in Tompkins County. Both quantitative government and nonprofit statistics can be sourced alongside qualitative stories that bring faces to the numbers on the Community Platform.
  • GSCP is strategically positioned at the heart of the cooperative movement. We work directly with community centers, schools, universities, government agencies to build our case in the city of Ithaca and across the county.
GSCP relies on the involvement, support, and generosity of our communities. Read our mid-year appeal here. Donate today!

Sign up to stay informed!


Programs & Events

Upcoming & Ongoing

Summer 2019 Esty Street Youth Garden

Join our Garden Team Leader Renny John to grow, cook, and eat food in our wheelchair accessible Esty Street Garden this summer! The program will run from June-August, weekday mornings from 9-1. Other activities include gardening at Permaculture Park, cooking at GreenStar, writing food stories at Engaged Cornell, and weekend family garden parties! Ages 12-18. 

Past 2019 Events

GSCP started celebrating Mother’s Day early with a celebration at Esty Street Garden on Saturday, May 11th from 10am-12pm. Community members enjoyed the spring day with healthy snacks, planted strawberries in the Garden and in planter boxes for you to take home. Gardeners were visited by a very charming furry friend!

May 4, 2019

Volunteers helped GreenStar Community Projects prepare the garden for the coming season of youth garden programs and learned how to build compost bins.

April 19, 2019

In April GSCP held a Spring Break Cooking Class with GreenStar Chef Sean. The students made homemade salsa with veggies that they can grow this season at Esty Street Garden (the tomato slicer was a hit!), learned about rice and bean varieties through a game of Rice, Bean or Ride (anyone else know pinto is both a bean AND a car?), and enjoyed a delicious meal!

April 4, 2019

Over a free meal, 50 community members met to discuss how to strengthen school and community gardens so they become more productive spaces to learn food self-reliance skills (the ability to produce and cook your own food) with community support.

The Session addressed:

  • Using gardens as a tool to increase access to affordable, healthy food, build food self-sufficiency, and connect our communities across race, class, and place.
  • Plans to connect school & community gardens to school curriculums, especially during school breaks when many families face food shortages.
  • Increasing youth food education programs & youth participation in gardens.
  • Strengthening garden infrastructure (via shared funding, in-kind swaps of supplies, volunteer labor, etc).

January 31, 2018

Greenstar Community Projects & Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County held a Local Food Network for community leaders to share their food stories. Participants joined in a conversation with grassroots innovators from the vibrant Tompkins County local food scene who, alongside many others, work to improve access to healthy food for all, open opportunities for farm and food businesses, create more food gardens, support the local food initiatives, bring vital resources + so much more!

July 10, 2017

GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) partnered with Friendship Donations Network, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, and Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management, to organize a Local Food Network session on food recovery efforts. The networking session included a panel of leaders in the food recovery movement in Ithaca, and roundtable discussions addressing existing efforts around food rescue & distribution networks to reduce local hunger.

February 6, 2017

GSCP held a networking session on the movement to grow food anywhere in Ithaca (even in raised beds over cement).

October 13, 2016

Over an Ethiopian Dinner prepared by Addisu Gebre, keynote speaker Mike Hoffman, Director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, addressed the implications of climate change on food production and what is likely to change. Following the talk, the audience brainstormed ideas for increasing food security in our community given the climate change trends.

June 29, 2016

GSCP led a Local Food Network session on childhood food & nutritional security as part of an ongoing effort to build collaboration among existing initiatives in Tompkins County to better address systemic food insecurity faced by Tompkins County’s kids.

Collaborative Outcomes

  • The Collaborative Nutrition Collaborative has grown to include, among others, Tompkins County Health Department, Tompkins County Youth Services, Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell University, GreenStar Coop, Youth Farm Project.
  • CNC backed Cornell Cooperative Extension and Youth Farm Project’s application for the Tompkins County Farm-to-School Project, a two-year grant received in December to increase regionally grown produce served in school lunches, and to spotlight food education.
  • In 2018, the CNC assisted the Ithaca County School District (ICSD) Child Nutrition Program’s application for a governmental provision which resulted in the implementation of free meals for all students in Beverly J Martin Elementary and Enfield Elementary Schools. ICSD produces these meals in collaboration with other CNC participants (Coalition for Healthy School Food and Youth Farm Project).
  • GSCP—in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension, CFCU Community Credit Union, and Loaves & Fishes Community Kitchen—operates the large downtown Esty Street Garden, an urban youth food education platform and wheelchair accessible food pantry garden. The urban gardening initiative teaches youth who have experienced hunger the skills to grow and prep their own food.
  • In the summer of 2018, through Esty Street Youth Garden program, 30 teens grew, harvested, prepped and brought home hundreds of pounds of fresh garden produce, and provided what they couldn’t use to the Loaves & Fishes Community Kitchen and in curbside #FoodIsFree events.
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