Thursday, December 3, 2015

Announcing the 2015 Growing Community Award

Each year GardenShare recognizes an individual or organization whose efforts strengthen food security in northern New York State with the Growing Community Award.  Past recipients have included farmers, food service staff, a food bank, community groups, and others.  Individuals, families, or organizations who are making progress in solving the problem of hunger through policy and advocacy work or by building a stronger food system to better serve all North Country residents may be nominated for this recognition. 

We are pleased to announce that the recipients of the 2015 Growing Community Award are:
Bob Washo and Flip Filippi of 
littleGrasse Foodworks in Canton

GardenShare intern, Anna Kowanko, wrote this profile of Bob and Flip and their work:
Bob Washo has said, “we’re not in the business of selling food, but in the business of feeding people.” While this statement may seem obvious, it is actually a paradigm shift from the industrial food system so many of us must rely on today where there is a vast disconnect between growers and consumers. Bob Washo and Flip Filippi, the founders of littleGrasse Foodworks in Canton, NY, have a farm surrounding this principle, the principle of creating more than food, but forming a community. According to Bob and Flip, "litleGrasse is a community farm open to all people interested in engaging with our local food system in a meaningful way."
Growing up in Pennsylvania, Bob made it to Canton in 2000, and as he put it, “fell in love with the place.” Outside of the farm Bob is a chair of the Canton Sustainability Committee and has recently been elected to the Town of Canton Board. He was also an active member of the discussion and planning at the Local Food, Local Places planning project. Growing up in a homestead in the North Country, Flip returned in 2008, excited to become part of the community again in a meaningful way. Flip is currently earning an M.Ed. degree at St. Lawrence University. Her thesis investigates how individuals who were shareholders at littleGrasse as college students are interacting with food systems in their post-graduation life. Generally, she is interested in experiential teaching environments that immerse students in the subject matter in meaningful and engaging ways.
Bob and Flip started littleGrasse in 2009, fulfilling both of their passions,  little Grasse itself is a CSA with about 55-60 shareholders. Bob is now in his third decade as a CSA grower.  At the farm they teach shareholders about seasonality and the constraints of a Northern climate. They provide workshops to show families how to begin feeding themselves locally for twelve months a year.
They are in close contact with local college students providing them with summer internships, Community Based Learning volunteer positions, as well fall farm shares. littleGrasse also participates in GardenShare’s Bonus Bucks Program, receiving about six applications this past year, which helps to support a wider range of local residents. Monthly potlucks are held at the farm to encourage community members of all ages to come together.
Carol Pynchon explained in her nomination submission, “Bob and Flip are a force in the local food movement in the Canton area, and in educating people about the benefits of growing and eating locally.”  
“Bob and Flip both take the time to explain and teach with such patience and incredible knowledge,” wrote Jenelle Matthews in a separate nomination, “they both deserve recognition for their time and efforts, which they display to spread their 'growing' knowledge on a daily basis.”

With two separate nominations coming in, the choice was clear for the GardenShare Board of Directors!  We hope you will join us to honor Bob and Flip's work.

GardenShare Growing Community Award
January 30, 2016
2:00 PM
TAUNY, Main Street, Canton, NY