Thursday, 02 August 2012 14:56
By Joe Romano,
— Donna Haraway
As members of the GreenStar community we have been following the progress of issues surrounding healthy food in our co-op, community, country, and culture. Some of us have been working over the span of a lifetime and it has been a slow, hard road to try to ensure that the future of our food is a healthy one. We have had to fight the power in government, in politics, and at the corporate level. As a grassroots organization, we have joined other grassroots organizations; we have spoken truth to power and, in many cases, taken control over the way our food is grown, harvested, packaged and sold. If we have not made the change we were seeking, we have at least made our influence felt.
Much of the attention we have given to issues like fair trade, farm workers' rights, livable wages, organic standards, and corporate ownership has resulted in a much more aware society at large — one that is ready, at least nominally, to take on these issues that affect more than just the quality of the food we eat, but the quality of the lives of the people who produce it. The work of progressive people everywhere caused these victories to take place, and co-ops have been right at the forefront, exerting their power as community organizations.
Thursday, 02 August 2012 14:51
By Meaghan Sheehan Rosen
On any given day, 364 days a year, dedicated volunteers in and around Ithaca visit numerous local food outlets and producers. They fill their cars with nutritious food and deliver it within hours to food pantries and other sites and programs nourishing local people in need. During August, GreenStar members have a special opportunity to support this effort, which is the work of Friendship Donations Network.
Friendship Donations Network (FDN) supplies food to 29 programs, reaching 2,100 people each week in six counties. Those programs include 14 pantries, 11 outreach sites (including low-wage work sites, mobile home parks, senior housing, and after-school programs), and four free meal programs. Most of these programs rely on donations through FDN for 100 percent of their food — only six of the 29 programs purchase food from regional food banks to supplement what is supplied through FDN donors. Typically, it's the bigger pantries and meal programs that purchase food from the food banks to ensure a supply that meets the needs of their large number of visitors.
The donations that FDN volunteers retrieve daily vary greatly, making it difficult to predict what type and quantity of food will be available from day to day. On average, FDN rescues and distributes 10,000 to 12,000 pounds of food per week, and more on holidays. During the bountiful growing season in the Finger Lakes Region, many farmers generously donate excess produce to FDN programs. Each weekend, at the close of the Ithaca Farmers Market, vendors donate their unsold produce, ensuring that their valuable harvest will end up on somebody's plate, whether at Loaves and Fishes or through a food pantry, rather than in a compost heap.
Thursday, 31 May 2012 15:47
By Kristie Snyder,
For 40 years GIAC has met the needs of its community — often when no one else would — and it's time to celebrate. The Greater Ithaca Activities Center's annual festival, scheduled for Saturday, June 9 from 11 am to 6 pm, will serve as a giant birthday party, honoring "40 Years of Building Community through Celebration of Cultures."
GIAC was created in 1972 following the loss of the downtown YMCA to fire and the closing of the Northside House community center. To meet the need for recreational programs for City children, the City of Ithaca, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD), the Tompkins County Social Services Department and the United Way came together to found GIAC. It was housed in an unused school building on Albany and Court Streets, which, after a major renovation a couple years ago, remains its home. Today the Center operates as a department of the City, but still maintains strong partnerships with the ICSD and receives United Way funding. A unique structure as a non-profit City department allows the Center to seek grant funding, which supports many of its programs. "We're here for the community, whatever the needs are," explained Deputy Director Leslyn McBean-Clairborne.
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By Laura Buttenbaum,
What is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons unite...