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 July 25th – CSA Newsletter

So, Grassroots came and went and no rain! It’s the first time that I can remember that happening since I’ve been in the Ithaca area. But we got some today, and boy, did it feel good. I didn’t get a chance to check the rain gauge but when I went out to the field this … Read more

Week of July 11th – CSA Newsletter

Here we are folks, entering the 5th week of the CSA, and you guessed it, still no rain. There were some nice steady downpours throughout the day on Sunday but when I went out to the fields that night, there wasn’t much that had penetrated down into the soil. But we’ll take whatever we can … Read more

Farm to Hospital Presentation by TC3 Food Systems Instructor

Bobby J. Smith, who teaches Food Systems Seminars at Tompkins Cortland Community College, recently presented on his research about Farm to Hospital programs at TEDxCortland. In this talk he explores the supply chain relationship of locally produced fresh foods between hospitals or healthcare facilities and farms. This includes food that is incorporated into food service and patient meals as well as on site farmers markets. Smith’s research involves over 100 hospitals across the United States, as well as key informants from the programs operating at hospitals in Burlington Vermont, New Milford Connecticut and the Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca. In his TED talk, he stresses not only the benefits of Farm to Hospital programs for local food systems, but also the challenges of implementing such programs. The talk also focuses on the importance of Farm to Hospital programs for the economic development of the communities in which they reside. He is a great teacher, and we expect to have him back in the Fall to teach Food Systems Seminar I: Introduction to the U.S. Food System (ENVS 110).

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Sustainable Food Systems Cartoon

About the Sustainable Food Systems Cartoon: The other day I ran into a Culinary Arts student that I had in my Introduction to the U.S. Food System class last semester. She was in the TC3 Adjunct Office dropping off a political cartoon she had drawn to her Nutrition Professor. She told me that it had been inspired partly by things we had talked about in Food Systems, so I asked to see it. The cartoon is very clever, and very well drawn. It shows a lot of the dedication she has to feeding her family healthy food. In her case, this was necessitated by a number of health problems that she and her children were experiencing that have been greatly improved by particular dietary changes. She gave me permission to present the cartoon here. Without taking away from her creativity, her political views, or her personal experience with food, I just want to make a quick disclaimer that the content of the cartoon should not be confused with the content of my class. The cartoon consists of 8 panels. Click “read more” below to see the whole thing…

Food System Cartoon


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