New York's Farmworkers: Toward Local Fair Trade

By Marielle Macher

Our small group of Cornell Farmworker Program interns stood outside the home of some New York State farmworkers to whom we had been asked to  provide English lessons; we were unsure what to think.  While we had already been to many farmworker homes over the course of the summer, this one was different.  From the outside, the home seemed abandoned.  There were plastic bags where there should have been windows, the porch had begun to collapse and the roof seemed in need of substantial repair.  Inside, the furniture was sparse and falling apart, the walls were largely unpainted and the ceiling beams were exposed.  However, despite these poor living conditions, the workers welcomed us into their home with incredible enthusiasm and hospitality.  After we provided the workers with an English lesson, they taught us about life in Guatemala and their experiences in the United States.


While the conditions of this home were not necessarily typical of farmworker housing in general, this home nevertheless reflects the invisibility and isolation of farmworkers in our state, and the sometimes overlooked issues of injustice within our local food system.

 


Read more: New York's Farmworkers: Toward Local Fair Trade

 

From the Farm: Starflower Farm

By Felix Teitelbaum, GreenLeaf Editor

“It helps to be isolated from other potato production,” says Andy Leed of Starflower Farm as he unearths a few Dark Red Norlands–one of the 36 varieties of potatoes he grows that shoppers can expect to find soon at GreenStar.

There’s no question about it, the farm is isolated. And very quiet.

When he hurls an overgrown tuber, a doe and fawn scamper off into the neighboring woods; newts creep underfoot; few cars pass.

The farm, in the hills outside of Candor, NY, grows potatoes for both seed and table.

Read more: From the Farm: Starflower Farm

From the Farm: Red Tail Farm

By Felix Teitelbaum,
GreenLeaf Editor

"Welcome to our tomato jungle,” joked Teresa Vanek gesturing toward an area swarming with indeterminate tomato vines where her husband Brent Welch prowled for the first ripe cherry tomato; it was delicious.

In the seven years since they began Red Tail Farm in Jacksonville, the two have brought the land out of continuous conventional corn and built a beautiful, sustainable farm producing fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, raw honey and more for the local market.

Read more: From the Farm: Red Tail Farm

 

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New in Produce

The Grapes are Coming!

Andrew Hernandez,
Produce Manager

thornbush-grapes-smYou've waited all year for them — Thornbush grapes are here this month! Along with a bounty of local produce of all kinds.

Apparently July, not August, is the hottest month of the year. I always think of August as being an unbearable sweltering wash of humidity and scorch ... looks like I'm wrong. What I do know, however, is that late August brings us local grapes from Thornbush! And, it's finally tomato season, one of my favorite times of the year! This month, Stick and Stone Farm brings us summer squash, cherry tomatoes (try them in the recipe on page 8), basil, chard, kale, and green beans! Remembrance Farm continues to deliver greens (also used in this month's recipe), and Blue Heron offers beets, eggplant, cucumbers, and garlic. (August also brings Gaahl, from Gorgoroth's, 38th birthday! Happy Birthday, Gaahl!) So I guess August isn't so bad ... sure it's the end of our two-month summer, but perhaps the local grapes and local tomatoes will quell your seasonal tears? If not there's always a time machine. Wait, no there isn't. Sorry about that.

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