Monday, November 30, 2015

Support GardenShare in 2016

The GardenShare Board of Directors is taking a more organized approach to fundraising activities and partnerships for the coming year. 
We will be holding three fundraising events:
  • Cabin Fever Trivia Night on March 3, 2016 at the Potsdam Elks Club
  • Annual Dinner on June 14, 2016 at Jake's on the Water in Hannawa Falls
  • Fight Hunger 5K in September at the Potsdam Farmers Market
In addition, there are opportunities to advertise in the Local Food Guide and the opportunity to sponsor GardenShare's annual report or website.
Details the different sponsorship options, including packages with multiple sponsorships included, can be found here.  Businesses or organizations that want to help should get in touch with Gloria McAdam or complete and return the pledge form.
Sponsorship of these programs will help make possible the realization of GardenShare's vision for the North Country:
  • Healthy Food  - Our annual Local Food Guide and farmers market promotion programs help ensure that the County has a vibrant, local food system where our food choices are healthy for us, for our communities, and for the environment.
  • Healthy Farms - Our work promoting CSAs and Farmers Markets helps ensure that local farmers are able to make a living that supports their families, contributing to a robust local economy.   
  • Everybody Eats - We make it possible for people to use food stamps at area Farmers Markets and help low-income families buy CSA shares so that everyone in the County has access to enough nutritious and affordable food to sustain a healthy lifestyle. 
 Thank you to our very first sponsor to sign up for 2016 - St. Lawrence Health System!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Holiday shopping?

It's always better to shop locally and support your local economy, but we know that sometimes here in the North Country, it's not possible to find what you are looking for locally.

If you do shop online, consider doing so at, where you can select your favorite charity to receive part of what you spend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thankful for you!

However you are connected to GardenShare, and here are just a few of the ways, we give thanks for your involvement this year!

(Let us know if we missed how you are connected to GardenShare!)

Our work at GardenShare is about building community and we are grateful that you are part of that community.  Thank you for your involvement, your support of our vision of a hunger-free North Country and your commitment to local food and local solutions.

Happy Thanksgiving!


228 million: The forecast for the number of turkeys the United States will raise in 2015. That’s down 4% from 2014.

841 million pounds: The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2015. Wisconsin Is estimated to lead all states in the production of cranberries, with 503 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts (estimated at 211 million).

32: Number of counties, places and townships in the U.S. named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock. The two counties are in Massachusetts (507,022) and Iowa (24,874). Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous place, with 75,057 residents in 2014. And then there is Mayflower, Ark., whose population was 2,345, and Mayflower Village, CA., whose population was 5,662.

4: Number of places in the U.S. named after the holiday’s traditional main course. Turkey Creek Village, La., was the most populous in 2014, with 443 residents, followed by Turkey Creek, Ariz. (412), Turkey City, Texas (396) and Turkey Town, N.C. (296).

Source: Census Bureau, 11/5/15, Thanksgiving Stats

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thankful for donors

As we count our many blessings this week, all of us at GardenShare are thankful for the people and organizations who give of their own time and treasure to support our work.

With a mission like GardenShare's - to solve the problem of hunger in St. Lawrence County - we need everyone in the community involved!

Why do people give to GardenShare?  Here are a few thoughts from donors:

"We are honored to support the work that GardenShare does for our local community.  At Jake's on the Water, we are proud to showcase fresh ingredients. Supporting our local growers and partners strengthens the area's economy and just feels right. As GardenShare works to make healthy food available to all, our commitment to our farmers works in tandem with that mission. Connecting neighbors, family and food- that is a recipe for a vibrant, sustainable community."  -Christine Compeau, Jake's on the Water

"The problems of poverty and hunger in our community are profound. I have long appreciated the work of GardenShare to  get at the root of these problems, and I think this small organization can make a difference for many of our North Country neighbors. Lending my time, energy, and expertise allow me to be a part of making that difference." - Carol Pynchon

"We love GardenShare!" - Dulli Tengeler, Birdsfoot Farm

Read about just a few of those donors here.

If you would like to donate to support GardenShare's work, go here.


The American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $50.11, a 70-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.41. The big-ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at a total of $23.04 this year. That’s roughly $1.44 per pound, an increase of less than 9 cents per pound, or a total of $1.39 per whole turkey, compared to 2014. The survey’s shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk. The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. This year’s survey totaled over $50 for the first time.

Source: American Enterprise Institute, 11/19/15, Thanksgiving Dinner 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thankful for volunteers

At this season of counting our blessings, we wanted to take a moment and acknowledge how grateful all of us at GardenShare are for the many individuals and organizations that support our work.

GardenShare is primarily a volunteer organization - volunteers do a little bit of everything that it takes to make an organization run, from office work to planning events to speaking to organizations.   Here are profiles of just a few of the great volunteers who make our work possible:

Maria Corse

Carol Pynchon

Anneke Larrance

Liz Hills

And what do volunteers say about their experience at GardenShare?  Here's one example:

I volunteer for GardenShare because I believe that good foodand access to at the core of so much that is important in the lives of individuals, communities and ecosystems.  GardenShare is important to me because we endeavor to build community, promote small and sustainable efforts, and also because I love to eat good food and want to share that joy with others.  - Margaret Harloe 

With a mission as vast as GardenShare's - to solve the problem of hunger - we need all of the help we can get!  If you'd like to volunteer, please visit or get in touch with us!


The chairpersons of the National Commission on Hunger updated Congress this week on its efforts. They reported that 5.6% of American households (6.9 million households) reported hunger in 2014. They defined hunger as the disruption of eating patterns and reduced food intake for at least one household member because the household lacked money or other resources for food. Hunger, they found, has many causes: low household income, insufficient nutrition assistance, underemployment and unemployment, single-parent families, racism, and personal decisions. The chairpersons stressed that the commission is still working on its recommendations, but they contended that solutions must focus on root causes. Reforms, they said, must speak to the following themes: work, nutrition and well-being, experimentation, and executive leadership. Their recommendations for SNAP will be designed to help benefit recipients find work; improve work incentives; promote evaluation of states’ work assistance programs; and endorse evidence-based strategies to encourage good nutrition, promote health, and help recipients make positive choices for their families.

Source: National Commission on Hunger, 11/18/15, Hunger Testimony

Friday, November 20, 2015


Soup kitchens have been collecting unwanted food from farms and businesses since the 1980s. Now, a wave of entrepreneurs have emerged who believe food waste shouldn't just be recycled for hipsters’ special occasions and soup kitchens; they have created viable businesses out of giving food waste a whole new look. Philip Wong and Ann Yang saw an opportunity to repurpose imperfect foods in the booming desire for cold-pressed juice. They created Misfit Juicery, a brand of cold-pressed juices that are now available in 38 locations near Washington, DC. Overall, roughly 70- to 80 % of its raw materials is blemished or misshapen produce that would have otherwise gone to waste. Misshapen produce is also the foundation of the jams and chutneys made by UK-based Rubies in the Rubble. And Hewn Bakery in Evanston, IL has been folding 30 to 40 pounds a week of spent grain from local breweries into its bread.

Source:, 11/6/15, Food Waste

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Farm to Institution Market Readiness Training Opportunity for Winter 2015-16

Institutional food service buyers– from small group homes and summer meal programs, to schools, colleges and hospitals – are interested in purchasing more “locally-grown” food in New York, especially fresh and minimally-processed fruits and vegetables, but also eggs, meat and dairy.

To take advantage of these markets, farmers need to understand product selection, packaging, food safety, insurance and other requirements of schools, government agencies, and food service management companies. Equally important, growers need to establish relationships with end buyers as well as with distributors and food hubs who service them.

The Farm to Institution Market Readiness Training program will build a network of trainers with the resources and connections to buyers that will enable more New York farmers to connect with schools, colleges, hospitals, daycare and senior meal centers, food banks and more.

Thanks to funding from Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NESARE), American Farmland Trust is offering Farm to Institution Market Readiness Training to Cooperative Extension educators, non-profits and government agency service providers or other professionals who work with farmers on business and marketing skills, food hubs, cooperatives or supply aggregators.

There are no fees to participate in the training, which includes a two-day training conference and hotel accommodations in central New York on January 27-28, 2016. All training materials and promotion support for grower workshops will also be provided.

Twenty five Extension and agri-service providers will become familiar with institutions and individual buyers in their regions and gain the knowledge and tools to:
  •  Offer workshops to growers to learn about the opportunity in institutional markets and the particular procedures and requirements of food service buyers, management companies, state agencies and school districts
  • Help growers build relationships with buyers in the supply chain in their region as well as at the New York State level
  • Provide ongoing assistance and opportunities to growers who have taken the workshop
For more information and to apply, please visit our website or contact Glenda Neff at
Applications are due by November 30, 2015. 

Why do this kind of work?

As you may know, I worked for thirty years running a food bank in Connecticut.  People would ask me what kept me motivated and the answer was always people - both the people who need a little help and the people who offered that help.

Facebook's "On This Day" feature tells me that I received this letter six years ago on this date.  This is the kind of thing that kept me motivated, even against the odds.  I'm not quite a year at GardenShare full-time, but I know there are stories just as eloquent here in the North Country.  If you have one, I hope you will share it by dropping me an e-mail or go here to make some anonymous comments.


Here's the letter from six years ago:

Dear Gloria,

I received your request for me to renew my support of Foodshare, "although we have not heard from you in a while." The reason? I was unemployed for almost two years. My family supported me as best they could after all my savings were depleted. I called the church asking for help, they told me to call St. Vincent dePaul Society. I did. I cried on the phone with the worker. She tried to comfort me and tell me it was not my fault. She was going to bring me what canned goods were available for a vegetarian, but my mom said, "no," she would help me. I was desperate.

I finally landed a temp job, but by then, I was in a lot of debt. Eventually, I found a job. So, now I am slowly digging out of this financial hole. I don't wish this burden on anyone. The stress causes sickness, and when you have no insurance...

Thank God for you and the caring folks who have a clinic for people to go to when they need medical care. Even this is tough, getting there before they close (after work), but they saved my life.

Now, I don't have much to spare, but I want to help others who are caught with no money for food, clothing, the basic necessities.

God bless you for all that you do!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015


A new study suggests that improvements in U.S. eating habits have prevented more than a million premature deaths in a 14-year period. But the study also says the overall American diet still needs improvement. The biggest improvement was seen in reducing trans fat intake, which contributed about half of the improvement in overall dietary quality. A nearly 36% reduction in sugary beverages and juice also helped. Additionally, Americans are eating more fruit, whole grains, nuts and legumes, and polyunsaturated fatty acids and eating a bit less red and processed meat. These dietary changes cumulatively prevented 1.1 million premature deaths and resulted in 12.6% fewer cases of type 2 diabetes, 8.6% fewer cases of heart disease, and 1.3% fewer cancer cases over the 14 years.

Source: CBS News, 11/3/15, US Eating Habits


Despite years of efforts to reduce obesity in America, federal health officials report that the share of Americans who are obese had edged up slightly in recent years. About 38% of American adults were obese in 2013 and 2014, up from 35% in 2011 and 2012 and 32% in 2004. Obesity among young people was unchanged. Some of the most striking numbers were among minorities. About 57% of black women were obese from 2011 to 2014, the highest rate of any demographic. Next highest were Hispanic women, at 46%, and Hispanic men at 39%. About 36% of white women were obese, and 34% of white men.

Source: New York Times, 11/12/15, Obesity Rises

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Giving Tuesday in two weeks

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.

High Tunnel Workshop coming up in December


More and more elementary school principals are urging others to adopt breakfast after the bell programs, citing higher participation in school breakfast among low-income children and an improved school environment as positive results, according to a new report. School breakfast fights hunger and provides countless educational and health benefits, yet just over half of the low-income children who participate in school lunch eat school breakfast. The report found 82% of school principals surveyed noted increases in school breakfast participation after introducing the program. Overall, principals in schools with breakfast after the bell programs noted an improved school environment with students being more attentive, fewer occurrences of tardiness and absenteeism, fewer disciplinary referrals, and improved reading and math test scores.

Source: Food Research Action Council, 11/10/15, School Breakfasts

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nominate someone for an award!

Call for Nominations:  Agricultural Advocates, Enthusiasts, and Visionaries

The Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives program will seek out and celebrate 100 visionaries - the entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders who are shaping the future of agriculture and the fabric of our nation. To recognize the diverse ways individuals are contributing to the future success of rural communities, nominations will be accepted in the following ten categories:

Deadline: December 18th
10 Categories
  • Leadership (over 21)
  • Youth Leadership (21 and younger)
  • Rural Policy Influence
  • Beginning Farmer or Rancher Achievement
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Sustainability and Natural Resource Conservation
  • Financial Stewardship
  • Mentoring and Volunteerism
  • Agriculture Education and Community Impact
  • Rural and Urban Connection
Share Stories: The 100 selected honorees will have the opportunity to share their stories, inspire others with their vision and advocate for agriculture. 
$10,000 Award: Ten exceptional leaders, one in each category, will each receive a $10,000 award to help further their contributions to thriving rural communities and agriculture. 

Event in DC!: These 10 honorees and a guest will be invited to Washington, D.C., to participate in a special recognition event in 2016. Read more!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tuesday is National Healthy Lunch Day! Plan ahead!

November 17th is National Healthy Lunch Day!

In continuing recognition of National Diabetes Awareness month, the American Diabetes Association urges you to “lunch right with every bite” on National Healthy Lunch Day (November 17th). Choosing foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients can lead to weight gain, low energy, type 2 diabetes, and other obesity-related diseases. On November 17th, we can all take one small step together towards making healthier choices. Help by raising awareness about the importance of nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle and by enjoying a healthy lunch. Visit to learn more and click here to download your free e-toolkit.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Commercial kitchen research project - take the survey

Growth in the number of food businesses is increasing the demand for commercial kitchen space. Ashley Colpaart, a doctoral candidate at Colorado State University (CSU) is conducting research on commercial kitchens and food businesses to identify challenges and opportunities around commercial kitchen use. Your participation in this survey will provide us with valuable feedback to identify future opportunities for increasing access to kitchens.

The two surveys are aimed at: 

1. Commercial kitchen owners/managers that rent or are interested in renting space in the future. These could be a:

  • commissary (shared commercial rental)
  • incubator or accelerator (provides business support) 
  • community (church, community center, food bank) 
  • co-packer
  • institution (school, hospital, senior living)
  • privately owned (restaurant, bakery) 

2. Food Businesses defined by self-identified occupation and couple be a: 

  • baker 
  • caterer 
  • personal chef
  • food truck or push-cart owner
  • food artisan or value-added producer
  • food or beverage manufacturer
  • cottage foods producer (home)
  • educator or cooking instructor
This surveys should take 5-10 minutes each and your answers are anonymous. There are no known risks or benefits to participating in this survey. Participation is voluntary.  Choosing to fill out the on-line survey implies consent.  If you change your mind and decide not to participate, you may withdraw your consent at any time without consequence.

Take the Commercial Kitchen survey here. Take the Food Business survey here.

Should you have any questions about this survey, please contact Ashley Colpaart at or Advisor Marisa Bunning at If you have any questions about your rights as a volunteer in this research, contact the CSU IRB at  RICRO_IRB@mail.colostate.edu970-491-1553.

Thank you in advance for your time.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Grants for school garden projects

Tractor Supply Company is launching an exciting new program for teachers across our state. Through a partnership with the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, New York schools have been selected to receive support in funding school gardens.

If you would like to start a school garden, revitalize an already existing garden, or expand the garden at your school you can submit your Dig It application today! Selected schools will be awarded $500 gift cards to your local Tractor Supply Company store and provided a comprehensive garden curriculum.


Schools across New York in Tractor Supply Company communities will be supported by this new program. Please see the application for complete funding guidelines. 
  • K-5 teachers in the state of New York
  • School districts must be located within 30 miles of a Tractor Supply Company Store (Find your local store here) 
  • Application deadline is January 1, 2016


Food insecurity is a risk factor for poor diabetes control, yet few diabetes interventions address this important factor. A recent study suggests that food pantries may be ideal sites for diabetes self-management support because they can provide free diabetes-appropriate food to people in low-income communities. Between February 2012 and March 2014, the study enrolled 687 food pantry clients with diabetes in three states in a six-month pilot intervention that provided them with diabetes-appropriate food, blood sugar monitoring, primary care referral, and self-management support. The intervention showed improvements in blood sugar control, fruit and vegetable intake, self-efficacy, and medication adherence.

Source: Urban Institute, 11/5/15, Food Pantries & Diabetes

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Another volunteer on the GardenShare Board of Directors

Name:  Maria Corse

Town of residence:  Pierrepont

Role at GardenShare:   Board of Directors (newly elected Secretary of the Board) and Co-Chair Outreach and Education Committee

How long?  2.5 years

Why I do what I do:  There are multiple reasons for my direct involvement in GardenShare: Number one being  the important mission and vision of ending hunger in St Lawrence County.  Number two being the amazingly dedicated and fun people who work for and with GardenShare towards this mission.  And, number three being my family's lifestyle choices which include growing our own food, cooking and preserving it, and supporting local farmers.

Role outside of GardenShare:  I am the Founder and Director of Deep Root Center for Self-Directed Learning in Canton.

Hobbies:  In my downtime, I spend my time writing  blog posts and children's stories.  I am also a voracious reader.  I love to cook and bake, as well.

What has changed or stayed the same in your time at GardenShare?  The thing that has stayed the same or even gotten worse since I began as a GardenShare board member two and one half years ago, is the gross inequity in St Lawrence County.

What's the hardest thing you've done or had to learn at GardenShare?  I have learned to speak up in group meetings as well as take on a leadership role at GardenShare.

If you were a superhero, what would your power be?  My power would be to create a socially just, peaceful world where everyone was able to get everything they needed to be healthy, and fulfilled.

Something about yourself that few people know.  Very few people know that my first degree is in Fashion Design from Cazenovia College. 

What are you most proud of?  I am most proud of my two independent, compassionate, and spirited
children who are out in the world doing good things while following their dreams.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?  If you opened my refrigerator right now, you would find leftovers (when your kids leave home you have plenty of leftovers for lunch!), a gallon jar of homemade kimchi, a half gallon of homemade yogurt, 2 dozen local eggs, mushrooms, a bowl of whole hot peppers, a bag of kale, a jar of chaga tea, a jug of hard fresh pressed apple cider, and lots of cheese.

Anne Frank once said that in spite of everything, she believed people were basically good.  Do you agree or disagree?   I agree with Anne Frank's statement, because when most people are treated with kindness  and respect, they will reciprocate.


Cities and states have a vested interest in tackling obesity, which affects nearly 80 million American adults. Obesity is a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and can cause a host of chronic health issues, from diabetes to high blood pressure to cancer. Across the country, obesity-related health problems cost $147 billion to $210 billion each year. Obesity is also associated with diminished productivity on the job and to work absenteeism costing the country $4.3 billion per year. Governors in Arkansas, New York, Georgia, and Tennessee have all announced plans to combat high rates of obesity. Most look to increase physical activity and access to healthy food for schoolchildren. Georgia, for example, initiated a partnership with the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Braves that includes an app to assess fitness and uses social media to get its message across.

Source: Stateline, 11/2/15, State Anti-Obesity Efforts

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Learning from the past


Would an extra $30 per month for each person in your household help?  That’s about $370 per person per year, or almost $1,500 for a family of four.  That’s the amount of money USDA estimates the average American spends on food that’s not eaten—the annual equivalent of approximately 2 months’ worth of groceries. USDA recently launched a new section on to raise awareness about how much edible food is wasted nationwide, along with tips on ways to reduce food waste at home. Sometimes consumers throw away wholesome food because they are confused about how to safely store it or the meaning of those dates stamped on the label.  In spring 2015, USDA launched a FoodKeeper App to provide consumers with easy access to clear, scientific information on food storage, proper storage temperatures, food product dating, and expiration dates. The information is also on the agency’s website at Food Date Labels.

Source: USDA, 10/20/15, Food Waste

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Grants for new farmers

New Farmers Grant Program: Request for
Deadline--January 22, 2016
The purpose of New Farmers Grant Program is to support beginning farmers who have chosen farming as a career and who materially and substantially participate in the production of an agricultural product on their farm. These grants will help farmers improve profitability resulting in the growth of agribusiness and tax revenues within the state.

The New York State New Farmers Grant Fund will help farmers improve farm profitability through one or more of the following goals: 
  • Expanding agricultural production, diversifying agricultural production and/or extending the agricultural season
  • Advancing innovative agricultural techniques that increase sustainable practices such as organic farming, food safety, reduction of farm waste and/or water use
  • Creating or expanding partnerships with other entities such as farm operations, institutions or regional food-hubs for processing, selling and/or distributing agricultural products. 


Here's a unique new program idea...

Thanks to a $3.3 million grant from USDA and a $1 million contribution from UnitedHealthcare, the AARP is helping SNAP recipients in the Memphis, TN area buy more fruits and vegetables. Shoppers at select Kroger grocery stores and farmers markets in the region who buy between $10 and $20 in fresh fruits and vegetables using a SNAP electronic benefit card will receive a 50%-off coupon for use for their next purchase. Each SNAP household can receive two coupons a month.

Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal, 11/4/14, AARP Discount on Produce

Monday, November 9, 2015

The challenges of small nonprofit work

As I was meeting with a prospective donor today, I was reflecting on the challenges of doing what I perceive as my life's work...

The single biggest challenge at a small organization is finding the time to do everything and the balance among competing priorities.  Should I be meeting with a donor who might fund something a year from now or should I be working on implementing this program I already have funding for?  Can I drop work on the annual fund appeal in order to attend to some program business that actually puts food on someone's table, or if I'm late getting the appeal out will it affect results and therefore our ability to put food on people's tables in the future.  There's this intriguing new program idea just starting to develop, but how do I find the time to develop the idea, raise the money to implement the idea, and keep all of our current programs afloat, too?

And then, of course, there is the jack-of-all-trades I worked on next year's budget, on a set of technology policies and procedures, met with a new volunteer, prepared for and ran a staff meeting (for all three of us, but still have to do it!), prepared for and met with the donor, did some preparation for a Board of Directors meeting, and resolved several questions or issues from staff or volunteers.  And this was a light day!  Sometimes all of those things could happen within a couple of hours!

How I wish I had a magic wand to wave to ensure that we had all the resources we need to do all of the work that needs to be done!

Until then, know that, despite the frustrations and challenges, I wouldn't have it any other way!  I'll write more about the rewards of nonprofit work sometime soon!



A new study suggests that programs like food stamps and housing vouchers cut poverty by almost twice as much as we thought they did. According to standard census numbers, the poverty rate in New York from 2008 to 2011 was 13.6%, before taking these programs into account. Food Stamps, TANF, state-level general assistance programs, and housing aid dropped that down to 10.8%. But the study, which uses non-census government data, suggests the real number was even lower: a mere 8.3%. If that's true, then the estimated poverty-fighting power of these safety net programs has been dramatically understated for years.

Source: Vox, 10/27/15, SNAP Power

Friday, November 6, 2015


For all the attention given to highly educated women “opting out” of the workforce, it’s low-income women who are the most frequently pushed out of work due to caregiving challenges. High-income workers are more than five times as likely to have access to paid family leave than low-income workers and are almost six times as likely to have access to paid sick days. Families with incomes below the federal poverty line spend about four times as great a percentage of their income on childcare as do other families. Low-income women are the most likely to have jobs with unpredictable schedules, where “flexibility” is meted out according to the whims of employers. They’re the least likely to have access to paid family leave, paid sick days, and high-quality affordable childcare. As a result, they’re the most likely to lose their jobs when they have family caregiving needs. And their families disproportionately suffer from the income shocks – and long-term impediments to wealth accumulation – that come from employment interruptions.

Source: Center for Law & Social Policy, 11/4/15, Work-Family Balance

Thursday, November 5, 2015

SNAP Income Guideline Update

Every October 1st, SNAP benefits are adjusted to reflect changes in the cost of living. As a result, SNAP recipients may see changes in their benefit amounts this fall. Depending on individual circumstances, the amount of the monthly SNAP benefit may remain the same, increase or decrease on October 1st to reflect the cost of food.
Household Size
Monthly Gross Income at or below
Guideline for seniors and/or disabled or families paying child or adult care
For each additional person add

Due to the increased poverty guideline, households that were not eligible for SNAP before may now be eligible. For more information or a confidential prescreening please contact the St. Lawrence County NOEP outreach worker at


Several years go, Fresh Direct, an online fresh food order and delivery service, launched a pilot program in the Bronx that enabled low-income residents to use their SNAP benefits for purchases and have them delivered for free. Apparently, the company views the experiment as a success, presumably because the profits from the additional purchases at least offset the costs. Last year’s Farm Bill allows government and nonprofit organizations to accept SNAP benefits for home-delivered food.  They can accept the benefits only for food delivered to households headed by someone who’s at least 60 years old or disabled and “unable to shop for food.” Organizations can charge for delivery, but no more than $20 at any one time. They can also set an order minimum up to $50. In mid-July, USDA proposed a rule to reflect the law. At the same time, it said it would soon seek up to 20 food purchasing and delivery services for a one-year pilot.

Source:  Poverty & Policy, 10/29/15, Home Delivery

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Introducing....GardenShare's Board President

Name:  Carol Smith Pynchon

Town of residence:  Canton

Role at GardenShare:  Volunteer President of the Board of Directors

How long? 4 years on the Board of Directors, previously served as a volunteer

Why I do what I do:  The problems of poverty and hunger in our community are profound. I have long appreciated the work of GardenShare to get at the root of these problems, and I think this small organization can make a difference for many of our North Country neighbors. Lending my time, energy, and expertise allow me to be a part of making that difference.

Role outside of GardenShare:  Trustee, Village of Canton

Hobbies:  I love to travel and consider myself a “global citizen.” Seeing other parts of the country and the world helps me appreciate all we have in the North Country and gives me ideas for things we can do to make a positive difference.

Most recent accomplishment:  Coordinating Canton’s Local Food, Local Places project

What has changed the most in your time at GardenShare?  Leadership. We have been lucky to grow under the leadership of three strong and passionate directors: first our founder Phil Harnden, then Aviva Gold, and now Gloria McAdam. They all provide an extraordinary foundation for the work of the Board, staff, and volunteers.

What has stayed the same? Our commitment to ensuring “healthy food, healthy farms, everybody eats.”

What's the hardest thing you've done or had to learn at GardenShare? My work with GardenShare has given me a deeper awareness of the problems of hunger and poverty in our county – in my village and town. The reality is sobering and discouraging.

Favorite song, book, or movie? Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Last read? The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

What one word would you use to describe yourself? Connecter

Share something about yourself that few people know. I lived in Italy for several years as a child, did my junior year abroad there, and have visited several times since. I speak Italian and love everything Italian.

What are you most proud of?  My family.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now? Fruit and veggies from Martin’s farm stand, meat from 8 O’Clock Ranch, and way too many extras brought home from camp. I’ve committed to not buying anything – nothing – until we’ve “eaten down”!


The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging pediatricians to screen all patients for food insecurity and to refer parents to appropriate agencies so children do not go hungry. Sixteen million children live in homes where there is consistently not enough food, according to USDA. Those children get sick more often, have poorer overall health and are hospitalized more frequently than peers who are adequately nourished. The academy said that pediatricians might identify hungry children by posing two questions to parents: whether, in the last year, they worried that their food would run out before they had money to buy more, and whether the groceries they bought lasted until they had more money available to buy more. The answers to these questions identify 97% of families that are insecure about food.

Source: New York Times, 10/23/15

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Nationwide, one in six food charities fears that resource shortfalls will force it to close down, according to a 2014 Feeding America report, which also found that nearly 25% of all the food distribution agencies connected to the organization had to reduce service in the previous year. In Ohio, about 40 food pantries have been forced to close or merge with another outfit in the past 16 months.  Charity officials in that state think the closures there stem from a 2013 decision Gov. Kasich made to decline a federal waiver that would have slightly softened SNAP work requirements. As fewer people qualify for SNAP (Ohio’s SNAP enrollment is down by 115,000 since January 2014), more go to food pantries for help. The increased demand often outstrips the food banks’ resources.

Source: Think Progress, 10/26/15, Food Pantry Stressors

Monday, November 2, 2015

Grants and fundraising tools for school gardens

Over the past three years, Kitchen Gardeners International has awarded 440 grants to diverse food garden projects (youth gardens, community gardens, food bank gardens, tribal gardens, shelter gardens, etc.) across the US and in 30 countries. This work has become our focus and rather than have it buried one layer deep in our website, we've created a new name and home for it on the web: 

SeedMoney offers traditional grants, but in addition to that we're offering crowdfunding tools and technical assistance to food garden projects so that they can grow their own funding sources. The deadline for our first round of grants is November 12, right around the bend.

For those of you on facebook, here's a very cute and very shareable post

Junior Iron Chef registration is open!

Registration is now open for the 2016 North Country Junior Iron Chef!

Go here for more information!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


The USDA reports that farm-to-school programs are associated with reduced plate waste, better acceptance of healthy meals, increased school meal participation, lower program costs, or increased support from parents and community members. Farm-to-school programs are now being operated in 42,000 schools, and schools purchased 55% more local food in the 2013–2014 school year than in the 2011–2012 school year.

Source: The Hill, 10/20/15