Friday, 01 August 2014 17:20
By Holly Payne,
GreenStar Community Projects Coordinator
What can a very small non-profit do to address the looming problem of food injustice, in which the current industrialized food system disempowers people — especially those living in poverty — from regularly accessing healthy food grown nearby? GreenStar Community Projects is a small organization with modest means, but it is strategically positioned within a cooperative framework to connect players to the emerging sustainable food system, with the goal of making healthy food accessible to all.
GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) has just received $20,000 — its largest ever grant — from the Park Foundation to help bring food justice to Tompkins County. We are grateful for this vote of confidence! GSCP will use the money to strategically link diverse players across mainstream boundaries of race and class and across professional sectors, empowering everyone interested to participate in the emerging sustainable food system.
In 2012 and 2013, with start-up support from the Park Foundation, GSCP initiated the work of linking players together by holding regular networking sessions — free and open to all — to strengthen voices less heard and build collaborative efforts for a fair, sustainable food system. Requests for many more sessions have catalyzed continued networking. This year GSCP has already held three sessions, each addressing a different component of the food system: a "Communications Action" session was held in February; a "Business to Business Action" session was held in April; and a "Food Policy Action" session was held in June.
Monday, 02 June 2014 15:26
By Joe Romano,
Don't eat anything advertised on TV.
— Michael Pollan
In late November of 1953, the executives at C.A. Swanson & Sons had the biggest Thanksgiving leftover problem in history. The Omaha, Neb., frozen food company had overestimated the demand for its 1953 Thanksgiving turkey supply, to the tune of over half a million pounds of fresh turkey. With nowhere to store such an amount, the Swanson brothers, Gilbert and Clark, loaded the turkeys into ten refrigerated railroad cars, which had to keep rolling to stay cold.
As the turkeys rode the rails from Omaha to the East Coast and back again, the two brothers gave their staff a challenge — figure out what to do with the birds before they got back.
One of their salesmen, Gerry Thomas, had just returned from the Pan Am kitchens, where he had been given one of their new silver, multi-compartment, airline meal trays as a souvenir. He figured it might be just what the Swansons needed to sell off that turkey. Thomas mocked up a turkey dinner-filled tray and suggested marketing the meals by linking them to the national obsession, television. The box would look like a TV screen, complete with knobs and dials. By the time the turkeys arrived back in Omaha, the TV dinner, a meal that needed no preparation or cleanup, had been born. More important, home-cooked food had successfully been typecast in the role it plays across America today, the inconvenient, annoying, and unimportant sidekick who only earns his keep when he amuses us.
Friday, 02 May 2014 15:11
By Joe Romano,
What's Goin' On?
I just wanna ask a question
Who really cares?
To save a world in despair
Who really cares?
— Marvin Gaye
In 1971, the world seemed to be in a dangerous place. Richard Nixon was president, nuclear proliferation was on the rise, and the Pentagon Papers had been released, revealing corruption at the highest levels of government. Any leaders who had offered hope, like John and Bobby Kennedy, Malcolm X, or Martin Luther King, Jr., had come to shocking and violent ends. The Vietnam War had been raging for over ten years, and Lieutenant William Calley had been convicted of murder for leading the My Lai Massacre in which over 500 unarmed villagers, including many infants and children, were brutally massacred. Catastrophic oil spills off the California coast, smog clouds over our cities, and harmful additives to our foods were the dirty footprints of our path to the future. Protests and riots were commonplace in overcrowded, drug-ridden cities. To many, the future looked bleak.
That summer of 1971, Marvin Gaye released "What's Going On," an album that critics, artists, and public surveys worldwide consider one of the greatest ever made. He did so against the advice of his record company, which preferred that he continue writing love songs. To that, Gaye responded, "With the world exploding around me, how am I supposed to keep singing love songs?"
With very similar intentions, the earliest members of a burgeoning food co-op in Ithaca, NY were crafting their response to a world gone awry. Marvin Gaye would describe his motivations in creating a vision of change: "I didn't know how to fight before, but now I think I do. ... I'm not a painter. I'm not a poet. But I can do it with music." At GreenStar we have the same vision, and are fighting the same fight. We do it with food.
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By Alexis Alexander,
In response to several requests, I am happy to announce that we're offering a new information session for member-owners and nonmember customers this summer, called Co-operative Enterprise 101. Membership Administrator Laura Buttenbaum, who developed a similar and well-received training for staff this past fall, will lead the session. Join us for one of two scheduled sessions on Thursday, July 9 or Monday, August 24. Classes will run from 7 to 9 pm in the Classrooms @ GreenStar. I...