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, GSCP established the Childhood Nutrition Collaborative of Tompkins County (CNC)–which it continues to chair–to bring these parties into communication with each other to address gaps and effectively share skills and knowledge. The mission of CNC is to create a fair, non-harmful food system to ensure that all children—pre-birth to 24—have access to nutritious food every day.The Collaborative is a cross-sector group of local governmental agencies, nonprofits, schools & universities, religious groups, farms, businesses, and individuals. Aligned under a shared work plan, we use our strong cross-sector relationships to build the community support and political will required to end hunger.
To participate or learn more about who’s involved, please contact Holly Payne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GSCP runs regular, free & open Local Food Network sessions to encourage people to broaden their perspectives and collaboratively brainstorm solutions that add up to a food system where everyone in Tompkins County is able to access healthy food.
Over 22 Network sessions, GSCP has 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 conversation with people ranging across political and social power spectrums, and across class, race, and place (urban, suburban or rural) divides. Network sessions are geared toward outcomes that lead to good health for ourselves, our communities, and our earth.
In 2017, GSCP opened the Esty Street Garden—an urban youth food education platform, and wheelchair accessible food pantry garden—to help reverse hunger and build empowerment by providing the space and support for hungry youth to learn to grow their own food.
In the summer of 2017, GSCP launched the Esty Street Youth Garden. Led by a garden coordinator, 30 teens harvested, prepped, cooked and brought home what they grew. Through the Seed-to-Supper curriculum, the teens learned to grow their own food, were led through nutrition and cooking classes that taught healthy food habits in a fun, culturally sensitive environment and provided hundreds of pounds of fresh produce to the Loaves & Fishes Community Kitchen.
In the summer of 2019, GSCP will lead the second Esty Street Youth Garden program, with teen participants from 2017 returning as mentors. To learn more or connect a child to the Youth Garden contact Holly Payne at email@example.com.
The Esty Street Garden gives back to the community by providing garden-fresh produce to local pantries and through #FoodisFree curbside events.
Looking forward, to make the Esty Street Garden accessible to single parents with childrens ages pre-birth-5–nearly 60% of whom are below poverty–we are adding a safe play area for toddlers to the garden.
GSCP runs Hot Potato Press, a food news site that serves as a platform for an ongoing conversation about how we can work to make our food system work for everyone. Hot Potato Press focuses on the food-related needs and concerns of underserved populations by fostering community engagement in the food system. The site provides tips and advice on growing, buying and cooking nourishing food, stories highlighting efforts to improve our food system and links to community resources and events.
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.
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 underserved youth the skills to grow and prep their own food.
In the summer of 2017, through Esty Street Youth Garden program, 30 teens (many low-income and/or youth of color) 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.