On Tuesday, August 7, 2018, members of the Childhood Nutrition Collaborative (CNC, see list of participating members below) participated in a tour of the Youth Farm Project, accompanying New York State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D-District 125). Following a mid-afternoon downpour, Youth Farm Project summer program participants led local Ithaca stakeholders on an excursion through the fields where they grow row after row of leafy greens, garlic, and flowers; a newly planted garden featuring dozens of fragrant herbs; hoop houses growing tomatoes and seedlings; grazing livestock including sheep and chickens; and a composting program that returns nutrients to the soil.
The tour also highlighted the growth and evolution of the Youth Farm Project’s Mobile Market program over past growing seasons. The Mobile Market program supplies affordable, nutritious produce to underserved areas around Ithaca using a mobile vending cart. To maximize its impact, the Youth Farm Project is a participant in EBT, SNAP, WIC, and other Federal and State-supported nutrition programs.
Assemblywoman Lifton poses with Youth Farm Project summer participants (Photo: Youth Farm Project)
From left: ICSD Child Nutrition Director Beth Krause, Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton
Following the tour, Beth Krause (ICSD Child Nutrition Director) shared recent improvements in increasing the amount of produce and local food in school meals. A lively discussion on these successes followed, while acknowledging considerable implementation challenges remain to increasing additional local sourcing or funding universal meals for all children. Assemblywoman Lifton spoke at length regarding her legislative work around climate change, energy efficiency and how agriculture/food issues are closed intertwined with environmental concerns. She also underscored the influence that constituent voices can have driving budgetary priorities in Albany.
The Youth Farm Project has kicked off a summer fundraising drive with a goal to raise $6000 by the end of August to help support their mission to support local food systems, alleviate food insecurity, and cultivate the next generation of leadership in food justice and local food. Pledge your support their work here.
Links and Resources:
Collective Impact community partners in attendance:
- Beth Krause, Ithaca City School District (ICSD) School Food Service Director
- Jennifer Doolittle, ICSD Kitchen Manager
- Eldred Harris, ICSD School Board Member
- Lyndsey Lyman, Food Bank of the Southern Tier
- Erin Summerlee, Food and Health Network of SCNY
- Lara Parilla, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County
- Chris Kai Jones, Cornell Cooperative Extension of TC
- Sue Kittel, The Park Foundation
- Alicia Wittink, The Park Foundation
- Janet Cotraccia, Community Foundation of Tompkins County
- Holly Payne, GreenStar Community Projects
- Silas Conroy, Headwater Food Hub
- Yuuki Nakayachi, Cornell Department of Nutritional Sciences
YFP Board members in attendance:
- Audrey Baker, Cornell MPH Program
- Dan Flerlage, ICSD teacher, YFP co-founder
- Steve Gabriel, Cornell Small Farms Program
- Jamie Zervos, ICSD High School Food Service Director
YFP Staff in attendance:
- Ann Piombino, Farm Manager
- Laura Arias, Food and Farm Justice Educator
- Katie Church, Project Coordinator