Food Insecurity and Brooktondale Food Pantry Capstone – Candice

Studying Food Insecurity and Volunteering at the Brooktondale Food Pantry – Capstone Project for Sustainable Farming and Food Systems – by Candice

Brooktondale Food Pantry Pickup Site
Brooktondale Food Pantry Pickup Site

I decided to do my Capstone project on food insecurity and how it related to families living in poverty. For this project, I  researched how easy it is to sink into poverty and how hard it is to get back to a stable financial life. I have also been volunteering my time at a local food pantry located right in Brooktondale.  You may think that a normal food pantry just gives out food to families in need, but this one does a lot more than just giving out food.  The Brooktondale Food Pantry has a full kitchen where it gives kids a chance to learn how to cook, and they have a full garden out back where they grow all of their vegetables for the kitchen and to give away at the food pantry.

Brooktondale Food Pantry Donations
Brooktondale Food Pantry Donations

One of the tasks that is included in volunteering at the Brooktondale Food Pantry is unloading vegetables and meats from the Southern Tier food truck that comes to Brooktondale and drops off donations. We have to sort everything out –  all the meats go together, all the cereals go together, veggies go together and so on.  Then we must inspect everything, this includes writing the date on our inventory sheet that it came to pantry and the date that it will be put out for families to take. We also have to check the expiration date and check to see if the product is damaged in any way. If it is damaged or out of date it gets put back on the truck. This is a food safety precaution that we have to follow. Some of the donations such as local fruits and vegetables are given to us from local farmers from Dryden, Cortland, Brooktondale and even Ithaca.  We also have been receiving a truck full of different kinds of breads from the Ithaca Bakery.

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Food Trail Map For Cortland County Capstone – Maria

Developing a Capstone Project and A Food Trail Map For Cortland County – by Maria

Discovering my capstone project was my first task, a project all on its own, which entailed determining what I was interested in and what was available for me to work on.  Unlike my fellow students who undertook more manual labor oriented projects, I decided I preferred the more cerebral, food systems side of our program. In fact, what originally sparked my interest in sustainable farming and local food was the discovery while living in Maryland that raw milk was in fact illegal to buy in that state, a food I was raised on here in NY. I wondered how something as simple as a food choice could be legislated, and what other issues our industrial food system has created for nourishing food procurement.

Food Trail Map of Cortland County
Draft Food Trail Map of Cortland County

I had always been interested in farmers markets, which I saw as a means to opt out of the industrial model by allowing producers to sell directly to consumers. My initial ideas led me to interview Becca Rimmel, a market manager for the Ithaca Farmers Market, as well as preliminary planning to attend the Farmers Market Federation of NY 2016 NYS Farmers Market Managers Conference and/or begin the FMM Pro: SUNY Farmers Market Managers Professional Certification Program.  But when I heard there was discussion of a potential indoor, year-round farmers market in Cortland County, I hoped that capstone project idea would to fruition over any of the other ideas.

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Caroline Elementary School Garden Capstone – Steve

Caroline Elementary School Garden – Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Student Capstone Project – by Steve

Caroline Elementary Service Learning Day
Service Learning Day

When I first signed up for this Capstone class in Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Degree I really had no idea what the class was going to consist of, but I am super happy that it is part of my degree. This class makes you go out and do things in society that you might not think about doing on your own. I have always had a deep passion for gardening, teaching kids how to garden and grow their own food, and helping them to understand where their food is coming from.

Cleanup at Caroline Elementary School Garden
Steve Supervises Compost Hauling

I decided for my project that I was going to devote my time to Caroline Elementary School and teach some kids what I have learned while helping to restore the raised beds that the third graders plant in every year. I started my time there with a service learning day, where all the kids in the whole school came together and completed projects around the school to make it look better. Some were raking, some were weeding and some were taking wheelbarrows to the compost pile. We all got shirts that said we are needed and nothing could be more truthful than that. We had a great day and a lot got done and at the end of the day we all held hands around the whole school while a drone took our pictures from the sky. Unfortunately the pictures did not turn out all that well.

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Week of November 7th – CSA Newsletter

TC3 Farm’s PSA: Don’t forget to vote!! Ok folks, we did it! The 22nd and final week of the 2016 TC3 Farm CSA season. What a rollercoaster of a ride. First off, I want to say thank you to all of you. It’s been an honor and absolute pleasure to grow for you your food. … Read more

Week of October 31st – CSA Newsletter

Happy Halloween!! Well folks, we’ve made it to the penultimate week of the CSA season. I’m going to keep this week short but I’ll definitely dive into some detail next week with my recap of the growing season. In the meantime, last week was a continuation of all of the farm’s fall projects. I love … Read more

Week of October 24th – CSA Newsletter

So, October had a little bit of an identity crisis last week. We had some incredibly gorgeous weather early in the week to cold and rainy at the end. We removed our rain gauge from the field sometime in September but from what I’m hearing from others in the area, we got more rain in … Read more

Around the TC3 Farm – Student Post

Around the TC3 Farm Update – A Student Post by Steve

Well howdy there folks, just wanted to give you a little update on some things that are going on around the TC3 Farm lately. The tomatoes in the green house have pretty much run their course and we are now clearing out the plants to get the houses cleaned up and ready for winter plantings. Mostly thanks to our new Meadow Creature broadfork, we greatly increased our tomato yield this year compared to last, and we are still harvesting green tomatoes for the CSA and for the farm stand on campus. We also make sure we take the old plants away from the greenhouse to decay simply because we don’t want them around any other plants in case they have some sort of disease on them, playing it safe.

clearing greenhouse

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Week of October 17th – CSA Newsletter

Howdy folks! So, we’ve made it to the home stretch of the CSA season. Only three more weeks left after this week. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the season in depth over the next few weeks but I will say that with all we endured over the course of the growing season, this has … Read more

Week of October 10th – CSA Newsletter

Those Leaves, they are a changing! I truly love living in the Northeast and getting the chance to experience all the seasons. Working outside just about every day of the year gives you a great appreciation for all of Nature’s beauty and fall is always my favorite. Watching this hillsides change from afar is an … Read more

Week of October 3rd – CSA Newsletter

Greetings folks, So, what exactly happened to September? I swear it was just Labor Day. But here we are at the beginning of October. The season is moving right along as the impending cold weather seems to be approaching quickly. Even with the harvest continuing to come in, we are still progressing with getting the … Read more