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Archive for the ‘Agriculture’ Category

mouthprint.jpgCredit to Tyson Buerkle on the Cornell Daily Sun Blog:

This weekend kicks off what is probably the most exciting few months in the year for local foods in Ithaca – at 9 a.m. on Saturday the Ithaca Farmers Market opens its stalls for the 2008 season! The Ithaca Farmers Market started up in 1973 and has grown to 165 vendors selling a variety of products from produce to crafts. And this is the really cool part – every vendor comes from within a 30-mile radius! This stuff basically comes from your back yard. It’s local food in Tompkins County at its best!

The Ithaca Farmers Market is located on Steamboat Landing on 3rd Street, right off Route 13. You can get there by car, by foot, by boat, by bus, by bike, or by any other method you choose (helicopters excluded). With this in mind, parking on Saturdays tends to get a little cramped and congested, so it is best to carpool or use the TCAT (a combination of routes 30 and 13 or 16 should get you there from Cornell).

Saturday the market will open up with the Maple Festival – a very pertinent celebration for the beginning of spring. Stop by for a couple of hours to eat some good food, buy some cool things, talk to some awesome vendors (they really know their stuff!), listen to good music, and chill in a nice setting. Hope to see you there!

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Credit to Tyson Buerkle in the Cornell Daily Sun:  

If you haven’t heard of Greenstar Cooperative Market, you probably haven’t been in Ithaca all that long, but don’t worry, that’s okay – now you’ve heard of it, right? Greenstar started up in the early 1970s as a small purchasing co-op, and members would take turns picking up orders for the group at a wholesale market in Syracuse. At first the co-op was relatively small. However, membership grew rapidly and soon they began retailing from a permanent store site. Today the store is located on the corner of West Buffalo and Fulton streets in Ithaca.

So why am I telling you all this? Greenstar has a deep-rooted commitment to local foods, one that can be traced all the way to their mission statement.

In Greenstar’s produce, grocery, bulk and deli sections, they shelve as much local food as possible, sourcing their products from twenty local farmers. The co-op offers local produce year-round, but it is seasonal. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll get a nice head of local lettuce in February! During the winter months you’ll find mostly storage crops such as potatoes, onions, beets and squash. You can also find locally produced and processed foods in other parts of the store such as the bulk section and in the deli. One of the most popular products at Greenstar is the local tofu, processed by Ithaca Soy.

Recently Greenstar adopted a first-rate labeling system. Very visible signs point out exactly what on the shelves is local produce. After talking to the General Manager of the store, I found out that the co-op’s definition of “local” is a 30 mile radius as the crow flies – a much higher standard than the average 100 miles that people generally think of for local food. Due to the signage and labeling in the market it is quite easy to go into Greenstar and pick out some good local foods for dinner.

Admittedly, Greenstar is a bit further away than some of the other local food options I have described in the past weeks , but do not despair! The T-CAT bus route 21 makes a stop at the Ithaca Bus Station right across the street from the co-op.

I’ll end by saying, if you have never been to Greenstar, you should definitely check it out! Greenstar Cooperative Market is one of the key places that make Ithaca a local food hot-bed.

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Composting 101

Adopted from the Cornell Daily Sun:

The thought has crossed all our minds at one point or another, whether while chowing down on a Trillium cheeseburger or grabbing chopsticks for our sushi in the Ivy Room. “Who’s that weirdo standing next to the garbage can?” Well that kid’s not a weirdo. It’s me. And that’s no garbage can; it’s a compost bin. For the past year I’ve been working with Cornell Dining on sustainability initiatives such as composting and purchasing local food. We’ve made a lot of progress so far, but if we really want to reduce our environmental impact, it’s going to take a little extra effort from the students.

You’d be surprised how many Cornell students don’t know what compost is. Composting is the process of breaking down organic matter into a nutrient-rich soil substance called — you guessed it — compost.

Aerobic bacteria and other microorganisms help the decomposition. Traditional landfills lack the necessary oxygen that the bacteria need, so organic wastes take much longer to break down. At Cornell, Farm Services composts huge amounts of manure and greenhouse wastes in a large-scale composting near the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ agriculture fields. They use the compost as a natural fertilizer in their farms and campus gardens.

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Adopted from the Cornell Daily Sun

In yet another step toward making the campus more sustainable, the University has begun examining ways to permanently reduce its ‘agricultural footprint,’ or the amount land necessary to support human diets.

Christian Peters, M.S. ’02, Ph.D. ’07, a Cornell postdoctoral associate in crop and soil sciences, is currently working on research about the agricultural footprint. His research is dismissing the formerly held view that a vegetarian diet uses the least amount of land in New York. The benefit of this diet is that the land can sustain more people.

“The goal of our research was to improve understanding of how consumption of meat and fat influences a population’s requirements for agricultural land. We found that while adding meat to the diet generally increased the amount of land used to produce food, vegetarian diets did not always support more people. The reason for this apparent paradox is that livestock can produce edible food from resources that are inedible to humans, namely byproduct feeds, hay and pasture,” Peters said.

According to Peters, his research did not set out to find this ideal diet, but instead hoped to produce such answers for this area.

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Adopted from the Cornell Daily Sun

When eating in a dining hall, there is over a 20 percent probability that the food on the plate is locally produced. Last year, Cornell Dining purchased 23 percent of its foods locally and is looking to increase this percentage.

According to Anthony Kveragas, senior executive chef for retail operations, since last year, all of Cornell’s dining facilities have been directed to buy at least 20 percent of their food locally. The actual percentage of local food reached 23 percent last year, and Cornell Dining is in the process of calculating the figure for this year.

“We are working on tracking the actual number of cases of each product … but I know the percentage [of local food] has in­creased,” said Douglas Lockwood, office manager for Cornell Dining.

Cornell Dining is seeking to further incorporate local foods into dining here at Cornell in order to contribute to the sustainability of local agriculture and also to provide a better dining experience.

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An interactive community gathering on “Living Wage” implementation within our local food systems. Other topics could include local food security and development, local fair trade, and migrant farmers’ issues. Let’s strengthen our local food economy!

A collaboration of Alternatives Federal Credit Union, The Tompkins County Workers’ Center, and The Agricultural Justice Project.

Sponsored by Alternatives Federal Credit Union.

Sunday, October 14th at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market – Noon-3pm. Location will be the north end circle of booths.

Keynote Speaker: ELIZABETH HENDERSON of The Agricultural Justice Project

The Agricultural Justice Project (AJP) is a non-profit initiative to create fairness and equity in our food system through the development of social justice standards for organic and sustainable agriculture.

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Adopted from the Cornell Daily Sun:

Two new eateries, Manndibles in Mann Library and Moosewood in Anabel Taylor Hall, have opened this semester to answer the demands of Cornell students for increased sustainability on campus.

Moosewood Restaurant, a longstanding Ithaca landmark for vegetarian eating, opened their lunchtime café this semester.

Anthony Kveragas, senior executive chef of Cornell Dining, said that he has “been working with students to get more local and sustainable practices on campus” and that bringing in Moosewood to implement this plan brought in name recognition and helped Moosewood to test pilot the organic interest on college campuses.

Continue reading.

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