Healthy Food For All helps Local Farmers and Food Insecure

Healthy Food for All, a project of Cornell Cooperative Extension is boxing up packages of fresh food for over 600 families in need to help those suffering with economic effects of the COVID crisis. Grant money is being used to pay local farmers for packages and are being distributed to food-insecure community members in Tompkins County. To request a box of produce and pantry items, sign-up here. To support the project and help provide fresh produce and pantry boxes for neighbors in need, make a donation directly on Healthy Food For All’s website. 100% of donations will go towards compensating local farmers for the food. Gifts to both the United Way and Community Foundations COVID-19 funds are also still being accepted. Donors can give through the United Way of Tompkins County online by selecting “COVID-19 relief,” or by calling (607)500-GIVE, and through the Community Foundation by writing in “COVID-19 Response Fund” under “Fund Name” or by calling (607) 272-9333. To find out more about this great program, read the Ithaca Voice’s article.

Greenstar becomes “Food Hub”

Greenstar has recently sold The Space, to be eventually be used as some food/beverage/entertainment space, part of a larger project called “Agora”. However, because of the COVID crisis, that development will be put on hold for the time being. But for now, it’s being put to good use. According to the Ithaca Voice, “Thanks to some coordination between the new buyers and Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles, it’s being used in the short-term as a “Food Hub” by the Food Bank, meal and CSA delivery services, and other organizations working to prevent a hunger crisis in a time where thousands of households have lost their jobs in the wake of the COVID pandemic.” Read more about this transition here.

CNY Food Access Resources

Friendship Donations Network has compiled a truly impressive and comprehensive list of all the programs, food pantries, etc that they donate fresh food to in Tompkins and neighboring counties, divided by day of the week! 😱🍓🥪🥗 On their website, they also have a list of other food-related resources in the region. Want to contribute? They are also accepting donations and looking for volunteers to help distribute. To learn more, visit their website.

Essential Building Equipment Funding Available

Empower Equity – EMPEQ, a NYSERDA-portfolio company focused on delivering equipment and project financing for commercial and industrial buildings, has broadened its portfolio with over $2 billion in available funding 💸💸💸. With this funding, EMPEQ can provide immediate financing, ranging from $10,000 to $10 million, for small- to mid-sized organizations to upgrade their essential building equipment—such as HVAC systems, chillers, and boilers—with new systems. They’re sealing the cracks! 👏👏👏 Bravo! Visit their website to learn more and click “APPLY” in the top toolbar to apply.

Loans Available from AFCU

Alternatives Federal Credit Union announces… the Community Assistance Loan Fund! They’re offering a 0% interest loan to offset the expenses that have accompanied COVID-19 💸💰🤩🥳 They’re offering Personal Loans up to $3,000 and Business, Non-profit, and Organizations Loans up to $8,000. Both members and non-members are encouraged to apply. Visit their website to learn more about your options or apply for a loan.

Chicken-Raising 101!

Raise some chickens! 🐓🐣✨Experienced Ithaca flock owner, Amanda Zerilli will teach you The City of Ithaca and the Villages of Dryden and Trumansburg allow residents to keep a small number of chickens in the back yard (check the specific municipal ordinances for any restrictions) with a permit and evidence of attending a class on raising chickens. This class meets that requirement and attendees will receive a letter from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County to give to their municipality. Cost is sliding scale, $0-$25/household, so pay if/what you can afford.

Op-Ed: Issues with Handling of Healthcare

Our current circumstances have many using a critical lens to look at our healthcare system and its fundamental shortcomings. Potential alternatives, such as the NY Health Act and Medicare for All, spark curiosity amongst many, including Tony Del Plato, a trustee for the Village of Interlaken and a business owner in Interlaken. Del Plato wrote an Op-Ed for the Finger Lakes Times on how New York State is handling (or neglecting to handle) healthcare around the pandemic and how they should be instead, arguing for a more affordable, functional, and better equipped healthcare system. Read the full Op-Ed here.

New Resources for Food Delivery and Safe Rides to Covid-19 Testing

Free and safe rides in a sanitized vehicle now are available for individuals scheduled for COVID-19 testing at the Cayuga Health Sampling Site located at The Shops at Ithaca Mall thanks to a group of transportation service providers and partner agencies including United Way of Tompkins County, Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Human Services Coalition, Tompkins County Health Department, TCAT, Center for Community Transportation and Way2Go. You must register for testing online or by calling 607-319-5708, then call 2-1-1 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm to schedule a ride with ASAP cab company. This service is free of charge. For emergency or regular food delivery, individuals should call 2-1-1 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm for assistance. Emergency food requests will be directed to the United Way of Tompkins County which is organizing deliveries from the food hub via Gadabout. Want to help? Volunteer to deliver goods by bicycle! You can be equipped with a bike delivery rig if needed. More info is available on the Bike Walk Tompkins website. For more info, contact Norma Gutierrez at by email or by phone at (607) 272-2292 ext 162 (Voicemail #248).

Director of Sustainability search Postponed in Ithaca in midst of COVID-19

The City of Ithaca enacted a hiring freeze this week, putting the newly created Director of Sustainability position, which would have started in early May, on pause for the foreseeable future. The new director was supposed to create an action plan for implementing an Ithaca Green New Deal, which would aim to create a carbon-neutral city by 2030, amongst other ambitious goals. A global conversation has ensued surrounding the necessary transition to more sustainable and just practices and infrastructure in the realms of energy & climate, economy, healthcare, etc, in response to COVID-19. It seems that the time is now to reimagine the structure of society on all levels, so this news is rather disappointing. What steps do you think the city should take moving forward? Read the Ithaca Voice article for more details about this news.

Ithaca Farmer’s Market Open Despite COVID-19

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Ithaca Farmer’s Market opened this weekend to the public, with some added precautions to keep vendors and customers more safe. According to the Ithaca Voice, “The market is scheduled to return for its spring market on Saturdays in April at the Steamboat Landing pavilion, with shortened hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The pavilion has 88 booths, but this month the vendor capacity will be capped at 40 –– with vendors spaced out in every other booth. The shorter hours and the empty booths will allow more room for customers to navigate the shopping area with the suggested 6 feet distance between patrons.” In addition, the market has been equipped with hand sanitizer stations and has outlined some guidelines for customers to follow, to make for the safest experience for all parties involved. To learn more about what this means for you, read this article by the Ithaca Voice and see guidelines on the Ithaca Farmer’s Market website.

Solar-Powered Complex Proposed in Lansing

A “net zero energy residential housing development” may be coming to the Village of Lansing in the near future if approved by the Planning Board. The housing complex would consist of 43 homes powered by solar energy and heat pumps, a project of The Solar Home Factory, a company based in Geneva. The houses would be clustered to preserve green space and minimize encroachment onto wetlands, and would be compliant with CLCPA [New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act]. Read more about this exciting plan here!

Ithaca Protesters Stand in Solidarity with the Indigenous Wet’suwet’en People

Protesters took the streets in Ithaca to oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline construction through Indigenous unceded land in “British Columbia”. Police blockades on both Green Street and Cayuga Street last Wednesday morning caused major delays for travelers, some of which were exiting their vehicles to confront the protestors. To read more about the protest, see Anna Lamb’s Ithaca Voice report. Want to get in on the action? Visit the Wet’suwet’en solidarity coordinating facebook page. For updates from the frontline, see the Unist’ot’en Camp Facebook page and the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en Territory Facebook page. To donate, and for all the info you could ever need, visit their websites.

Senators Push to Address Chemicals in Seneca Lake

30 U.S. senators, including local NY Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, have signed a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking them to implement the 2019 PFAS mitigation plan, made over a year ago. High PFAS are thought to be, at least in part, attributed to firefighting foam used by the town of Romulus for nearly 60 years, which ran off into the water. PFAS have been linked to birth defects, cancer, and other health risks, which raises concern for communities around Seneca Lake. Read more in the Finger Lake Times. Photo credits: Finger Lake Times.