Saturday, December 31, 2016

Two online sustainable food and farming classes this winter

The UMass Amherst Sustainable Food and Farming program is offering two online classes during January.  Both are relevant to anyone interested in sustainable food systems.  They are: 
These classes cost $472 per credit and they are 3 credit classes that will transfer to other universities.  Classes officially start on December 27 but if you are registered, you will get access to the class materials next Tuesday (12/20) to check out the class and decide if you want to take it.  

Here are the instructions on how to enroll:

Friday, December 30, 2016


Military households are relying on food pantries and other charities, and the Military Hunger Prevention Act would help more of these families apply for SNAP benefits. The bill, introduced by Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), would exempt the military’s Basic Allowance for Housing when determining eligibility for SNAP and other federal food programs.  About two out of every three service members nationwide draw the allowance, and the monthly amounts vary by each person’s pay grade. Troops with spouses or children get a bigger allowance. Payouts also are pegged to housing and utility costs in each region of the nation. The allowance is high enough to disqualify many service members from receiving SNAP.

Source: San Diego Times Union, 11/28/16, SNAP for Troops

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Most of us underestimate our own role in creating food waste—and overestimate our efforts to reduce it. Like the residents of Lake Webegon, 73% percent of Americans believe they waste less food than the average American. (A mathematically impossibility.) Recognizing our own instincts is a crucial step in moving toward a truly waste-free kitchen. Research shows that people don’t like to have an empty refrigerator or an empty shopping cart, which leads us to buy more than we can realistically use right away. More than half of grocery store purchases are impulse buys. People also want to have options, rather than be committed to particular meals, so they’ll buy more than they need. And there’s a “diversification bias”: people like the idea of new types of foods (kale, quinoa), but don’t necessarily use them after they take them home. Some research has found that people feel less guilty about wasting food if they compost it rather than throw it in the trash. A list of generalized tips is a good starting point to get over some of these psychological barriers, but it might be more valuable to identify patterns of food waste in our own homes—and building a plan from there.

Source: Civil Eats, 12/12/16, Food Waste

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

We love getting mail!

Today's pile of mail included this note:

"Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all at GardenShare!  This is on behalf of my colleagues at work in lieu of office gifts.  thank you for all the ways you benefit our community and all who live in it.  I wish this check could be for a million $!"

We all might wish for that million dollar check, but the reality is that it's the donations of $10, $25, and $100 that keep us going and let us do GardenShare's work out in the community.

If you were thinking about a year-end donation, it's simple, safe, and secure at this website or you can mail a check to GardenShare, PO Box 516, Canton, NY  13617.

Thank you!  And Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Local Residents Elected to GardenShare Board of Directors

Philip Paige of Madrid was recently elected to serve a three-year term on the GardenShare Board of Directors starting in January 2017.  Mr. Paige is a graduate of SUNY Potsdam with a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University.  He was recently appointed as the Assistant County Administrator for St. Lawrence County.  Mr. Paige brings a passion for organic gardening and working on the problem of hunger to GardenShare's work.  He will serve on the organization's Finance Committee.

Earlier this year, Tamera Rizk of Potsdam was also elected to  a three-year term on the GardenShare Board of Directors.  Ms. Rizk is the Assistant Dean of Students at Clarkson University, where her activities include coordinating student efforts around local hunger issues.  She is passionate about food system and food justice issues and expresses her desire for all community members to have access to healthy, local, and ethically sourced food.  Ms. Rizk is serving on both the Finance Committee and the Education and Outreach Committee.

"We are thrilled to have these committed and highly qualified people join our volunteer Board of Directors," said Board President CarolPynchon of Canton.  "They bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to allow GardenShare to continue to serve the needs of our communities in St. Lawrence County."

GardenShare has worked to end hunger and strengthen our local food system since 1996.  Originally formed as a network of gardeners sharing their extra harvest with local food pantries, GardenShare has since embraced a larger vision for the region, which is summarized in the slogan, "Healthy Food, Healthy Farms, Everybody Eats."  The organization's work to help low-income people access fresh, locally grown food and to strengthen the food system are designed to move the community toward  GardenShare's mission - to solve the problem of hunger in St. Lawrence County through policy advocacy work and by strengthening the food system to benefit all County residents.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Help GardenShare make an impact

If you've been reading our "12 days - 12 ways" series, you already know that you and the community made 2016 the most amazing year yet for GardenShare's work to solve hunger, a fitting way to mark our 20 years of service.  Just a few highlights of the year just past:
  • SNAP usage at the farmers markets increased by 70%, benefiting both low-income families and local farmers.  Some local farmers said their sales increased by as much as 50%!
  • Participation in our CSA subsidy program for low-income families increased by 56%.
  • Our Local Food Guide generated many comments along the lines of, "the best Local Food Guide ever!"
  • We rolled out "Hunger 101," an experiential learning program about the issue of hunger.
  • Through a grant from the state, we are actively working on engaging more volunteers on fighting hunger in the region.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

With your continued support, we'll implement some big plans in the new year, including:
  • Expanding the concept of the Bonus Bucks program from just CSA shares to include farmers market shoppers who are lower income, but not on SNAP.
  • Expanding a program we piloted this past spring to provide farmers market tokens to families whose children receive backpacks of food at school.
  • And, of course, continuing and building on the 2016 successes.
Your donation before the end of the year will help continue all of this important work and also help ensure that we will be here serving the community as long as needed!

Will you make a gift now?
It's easy and secure at this link

Sunday, December 25, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 12

As we review GardenShare's work and successes for the year 2016 - we have saved the best for last!

This past season, farmers market sales to people using their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps) benefits at the farmers markets increased by 70% as compared to 2015.  $6,536 in SNAP benefits were spent at the five farmers markets in St. Lawrence County this year, compared to $3,834 last year.

In addition to the actual SNAP sales, GardenShare was able to double the value of SNAP purchases, with a combination of a grant from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, donations from individuals, and the Food Bank of Central New York's CNY Health Bucks program.

This is a win for all!  For low-income families, purchasing fresh, locally grown food can be a challenge because often less healthy foods are also less expensive.  As a result, families make food choices based on their limited budgets rather than nutrition.  The work to provide access to fresh food at the farmers markets is important to families who receive SNAP benefits to improve their diets and health.  It's also important to local farmers who benefit from these additional sales.  And all of these funds stayed in our local economy, rather than with a chain store.

Look for information soon on how we will be building on this program in the new year!

Read the rest of our 12 days series here.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 11

As we wind down our review of 2016 at GardenShare, we just had to highlight September's Fight Hunger 5K!

On Sunday, September 11, 116 people turned out to run or walk the 5K course - more than twice as many participants as last year!  Together with the business sponsors, the participants raised $8,500 to support GardenShare's mission of solving the problem of hunger in St. Lawrence County.  The funds raised will help low and moderate-income people access fresh, locally grown food and in the process, support our local farmers. 

We're excited about the success of this two-year-old event, not just in fundraising, but more important, in bringing people together around the issues of hunger, local food, and food systems policy.  

Planning will begin soon for next year's Fight Hunger 5K and it takes a dedicated group of volunteers to make this work.  Would you like to help?  Get in touch!

Read the rest of our 12 days series here.

Friday, December 23, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 10

As we look back on the year, we had to highlight our new Hunger 101 program.

Hunger 101 is an interactive, role-playing exercise where most participants play the role of a head of household trying to get enough food for the family.  After figuring out the households budget for food, the participant can visit a grocery store, the farmers market, the social services office, and the food pantry in this quest for food.

As part of our Hunger Action Month activities in September, we scheduled Hunger 101 workshops at Clarkson University, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton, and the Little River School.  We have also presented the program to students at St. Lawrence University in more than one class.  To date, about 100 people have taken part in a session and we are actively seeking to do more.

Here are just a few comments from recent participants:

  • It gives you an idea of the frustrations people feel when trying to get help
  • Having theresponsiblity of feeding a family when on a low-income is a lot of pressure
  • It was horrifying to see the real application for SNAP
  • More people should come!

Want to schedule a Hunger 101 for your organization?  Get in touch!

Read the rest of our 12 days series here.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 9

Just a few more in our 12 days of highlighting GardenShare's successes in 2016...

In October, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County recognized GardenShare with the 2016 Friend of Extension Award at the Association's Annual Dinner Meeting on October 13th. Extension Director, Patrick Ames, cited Gardenshare's unwavering commitment to fight hunger and improve local access to healthy foods across St. Lawrence County.

Pictured from left to right are Patrick Ames, Carol Pynchon, Gardenshare Board President, Carlene Doane, GardenShare Associate Director and Sandy Stauffer, GardenShare Board Member.

Read the first 8 of our 12 days posts:

Day 8 - key donors support the cause

Day 7 - New collaborations to fight hunger

Day 6 - the people of GardenShare

Day 5 - Summer intern and "Farmer Friday"

Day - New York State Council on Hunger and Food Policy

Day 3 - Local Food Guide

Day 2 - Making CSA's affordable

Day 1 - Growing Community Award

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 8

Day 8 of our review of 2016 takes us back to a hot evening in August as we celebrated some key donors and their contributions to GardenShare.

GardenShare's "Sustainers Circle" is a group of donors who are committed to our mission of solving hunger and building a stronger local food system and who have made a three-year or longer pledge to support that mission.

These generous donors provide the backbone of support that lets us do our important work and we cannot thank them enough!  Each summer, our Board of Directors hosts the Sustainers for a reception.  This past August, on one of the hottest afternoons of the summer, we gathered at littleGrasse Foodworks for some conversation, some good homemade treats, and a tour of the farm from our 2015 Growing Community Award recipients, Flip Filippi and Bob Washo.

Bob and Flip give a farm tour.

Read some of our other highlights:

Day 7 - new collaborations to fight hunger

Day 6 - the people of GardenShare

Day 5 - Summer intern and "Farmer Friday"

Day 4 - New York State Council on Hunger and Food Policy

Day 3 - Local Food Guide

Day 2 - Making CSA's affordable

Day 1 - Growing Community Award

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 7

One more look back at 2016, day 7 of our 12 days...

Collaboration has always been at the heart of GardenShare's work, and this year, we have built on that history with a new project designed to bring more volunteers into the work to fight hunger in the area.  Partnering with Campus Kitchens, the Canton Farmers Market, the Church and Community Program, the Free Will Dinner at the United Methodist Church and the Potsdam Farmers Market, GardenShare secured a Volunteer Generation Grant from the State of New York.

Through this collaboration and with the support of the grant, we hope to strengthen all of these groups volunteer efforts, to bring in new volunteers, and help manage, train, and retain volunteers.  

An early effort is to help fill the volunteer needs while college students are on break.  These programs rely so heavily on students that it's a challenge when the students are not in town.  You can help right now!

Campus Kitchens - meal is served on Monday evenings at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton.  Volunteers are needed for a variety of shifts 1:00 to 8:00 on December 19 and 26 and January 2 and 9.   If you can help, a sign-up sheet can be found here.  Questions can be directed to Ashlee Downing at 315-229-5135.

Free Will Dinner - meal is served on Wednesday evenings at the United Methodist Church in Canton and volunteers are needed from 4:00 to 6:00 to serve drinks, bus tables, and interact with guests.  Maximum number for any one day is six volunteers.  Volunteers are needed December 7, 14 and 21 and also January 4, 11, 18, and 25.  If you can help any of these days, please go here to sign up.  

Read our earlier posts:

Day 6 - the people of GardenShare

Day 5 - Summer intern and "Farmer Friday"

Day 4 - New York State Council on Hunger and Food Policy

Day 3 - Local Food Guide

Day 2 - Making CSA's affordable

Day 1 - Growing Community Award

Monday, December 19, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 6

We continue our 12 day review of some of GardenShare's highlights of 2016...

Some great new people joined the team at GardenShare, including:

  • Several interns who did great work over the course of the year
  • Many volunteers helping out at the farmers markets and in other ways

People who make GardenShare's work possible!  Thank you, each and every one!

Read our earlier posts:

Day 5 - Summer intern and "Farmer Friday"

Day 4 - New York State Council on Hunger and Food Policy

Day 3 - Local Food Guide

Day 2 - Making CSA's affordable

Day 1 - Growing Community Award

Sunday, December 18, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 5

Our series highlighting 2016 continues, day 5 of 12 days of GardenShare successes...

For the second year, GardenShare was selected to be part of the St. Lawrence University Public Interest Corps (SLU PIC).  This amazing program places a SLU student in a full-time, forty hour per week internship for ten weeks in the summer.

Our talented 2016 SLU PIC intern, Amanda Korb, wrote a weekly profile of a different farmer each week all summer.   Her Farmer Friday profiles were a hit!

Day 4 - New York State Council on Hunger and Food Policy

Day 3 - Local Food Guide

Day 2 - Making CSA's affordable

Day 1 - Growing Community Award

Saturday, December 17, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 4

We're looking back on 2016 at 12 of the highlights - GardenShare's own 12 days of Christmas.

For today, we're still excited about our Executive Director, Gloria McAdam, being appointed by Governor Cuomo to the New York State Council on Hunger and Food Policy.  This new Council was created to provide state policymakers with expertise on how to address hunger and improve access to healthy, locally-grown food for New York State residents.

The council has numerous goals, including developing new outlets for local food in underserved communities, and improving students’ access to free or affordable breakfasts and lunches in New York State schools. It also will work to ensure more healthy, locally-grown foods are used in school meals.
The council is comprised of state agencies, anti-hunger organizations, organizations with an interest in food security and representatives from the agricultural community.
All of us at GardenShare are pleased have Gloria giving voice to North County concerns and issues and that she can bring her thirty-plus years of experience to the table.

Day 3 - Local Food Guide

Day 2 - Making CSA's affordable

Day 1 - Growing Community Award

Friday, December 16, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 3

As the year comes to a close, GardenShare is looking back at some of our accomplishments from 2016, one each day for 12 days.  Kind of our own 12 Days of Christmas.

For Day 3 it's our annual St. Lawrence County Local Food Guide...

When the Local Food Guide came out in the spring, we were thrilled to hear from our founder, Phil Harnden, who called it "the best Local Food Guide ever!"

The Local Food Guide lists farmers, farmers markets, farmstands, u-picks, and other outlets that offer food raised locally in the County.

Day 1 - Growing Community Award

Day 2 - CSA Bonus Bucks

Thursday, December 15, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 2

We are currently highlighting a GardenShare success from the year 2016 each day for 12 days.  Kind of our own 12 Days of Christmas!

For Day 2, it's the GardenShare CSA Bonus Bucks program:

In 2016, GardenShare helped 39 low-income and working families afford a CSA share.  This compares to 25 in 2015!

Here's what one recipient had to say about the program:

"We love the program, it's the only way we could do a CSA.  As long as it's offered, we'll stick with it. Grocery store fresh produce is outrageous!"  

Day 1 - Growing Community Award

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 1

Starting today, this blog will be highlight a GardenShare success from the year 2016,  For the next twelve days, read about some of the highlights of the year!  Kind of our own 12 Days of Christmas!

First up, the 2015 Growing Community Award, presented in January 2016...

GardenShare honored Bob Washo and Flip Filippi of littleGrase Foodworks with the Growing Community Award.  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.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

GardenShare is moving!

After seven years in space generously provided by the St. Lawrence University Environmental Studies Department, GardenShare has outgrown that space and will be moving into a new office this week.  This new space is generously provided by St. Lawrence Health System and should work for us well into the future.

At GardenShare's last Board of Directors meeting, President Carol Pynchon (center)
signed the lease with St. Lawrence Health Systems, while Executive Director
Gloria McAdam holds one dollar for the annual rent!

This move means so much more than just a larger space!  It's an exciting time at GardenShare.  With the addition of a Volunteer Coordinator and an Americorps volunteer to our team, we are working to build on and expand programs developed over the organization's twenty-year history and developing new ways to address food system and hunger issues in the region. The right infrastructure will help GardenShare continue to make healthy, fresh, locally-grown produce available to low-income families in St. Lawrence County. 
GardenShare will be closed Thursday and Friday, December 15 and 16 for the move, reopening on Monday, December 19.  Our phone number will be unchanged as will our PO Box for mail.

With more space comes the need for more furniture and equipment.  If you might be able to help with donating any of the following, please let us know with an e-mail to
  • 2 desks 
  • 1 or 2 large file cabinets (4-5 drawer)
  • 1 small file cabinets (2 drawer)
  • bookshelves
  • desk lamps
  • microwave
Or go here to make a financial donation to support GardenShare's ongoing work.

Wish us luck with the move and look for an invitation to an open house sometime in the new year!

Child nutrition bill dies

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts has announced that no agreement could be reached in this Congressional session on the pending Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR), which is now more than a year overdue. The CNR is the every-five-year Congressional review and reauthorization of all child nutrition programs, including the school lunch program. The 2010 CNR ushered in new school nutrition standards (more whole grains and more fruits and vegetables). Just two years later, the School Nutrition Association proposed rolling back some of those reforms, a call taken up by conservative House Republicans. The Senate Agriculture Committee hammered out a bipartisan agreement that seemed to satisfy the major stakeholders. But the bill drafted by the House Education & the Workforce Committee would have weakened nutrition standards, significantly limited the Community Eligibility Provision, allowed more junk food on school campuses, and created a three-state block grant pilot for school meals, an idea which some saw as a precursor to dismantling the entire National School Lunch Program.

Source: Civil Eats, 12/7/16, School Meals

Monday, December 12, 2016


The House Agriculture Committee has unveiled a new report summarizing the committee’s two-year review of SNAP. The Committee found nothing to suggest that SNAP be gutted or eliminated. It found a number of ways the program is working successfully and a number of areas in need of improvement, innovation, and adjustment: service delivery, work requirements, program administration and evaluation, and access to healthy foods.
The Committee found, among other things:

  • The need for nutrition assistance cannot be addressed by just one program or just one group—it requires more collaboration between governments, charities, businesses, health systems, communities, individuals, and many others.
  • The diversity of programs serving low-income households has simultaneously generated overlaps and gaps in recipient services.
  • Combined with other welfare programs, SNAP recipients may face a “welfare cliff” when they are just above the income eligibility level, which can create disincentives to  finding work or increasing earnings.
  • Better enforcement of work requirements is needed in some states, and enforcement needs to be coupled with more effective SNAP employment and training programs.
  • SNAP needs clear program goals and must be evaluated according to metrics aligned with those goals to generate program improvement.
  • SNAP fraud rates can be improved through innovative state and federal strategies and technologies.

Source: House Agriculture Committee, 12/7/16, House SNAP Report

Friday, December 9, 2016

NY farmers donate 11.4 million pounds of food

In what has been a difficult growing season, New York’s farmers have still come through in a big way with food donations across the state. New York Farm Bureau members along with the Food Bank Association of New York State announced today that nearly 11.4 million pounds of fresh food and farm products have been donated by farmers this year through the month of November. That translates to nearly 10 million meals being provided to New Yorkers in need. And with a month to go in the donation effort, the large number is expected to climb. In addition, the New York Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee gave a $200 contribution today to the Food Bank Association of New York State.

Read more

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Secretary of Agriculture statement on SNAP

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released the following statement on the House Committee on Agriculture's new report on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which contains the Committee's findings from a series of hearings on the program:

"After holding 16 hearings on SNAP over the past two years, the House Agriculture Committee reached a simple conclusion: SNAP provides a critical nutrition safety net for millions of low-income Americans, and we need to do all we can to protect and strengthen the program so it can continue effectively serving American families in need.

"Four out of five SNAP participants are children, seniors, people with disabilities, or working adults. SNAP reduces food insecurity, increases access to healthy food, and generates economic activity and creates jobs all along the supply chain—from the store where food is purchased, all the way back to the farmer who produces it. The program has also been shown to have a positive impact on children's health, academic performance, and long-run economic self-sufficiency. SNAP rewards work with benefits that decrease gradually as earnings increase, and SNAP Employment & Training helps participants build the skills they need to get good-paying jobs and move off the program the right way.

"SNAP is designed to respond swiftly to changing economic conditions—on a national scale, as we saw during the Great Recession when SNAP lifted millions of people out of poverty, or locally, when a plant closes, disaster strikes, or another event causes sudden unemployment or hardship in a particular community. As the report highlights, states already have significant flexibility to tailor the program to their unique needs, while maintaining the responsiveness, effectiveness, and oversight of the Federal program.

"Proposals to convert SNAP into a block grant are misguided and would mean the program could no longer respond to economic conditions and serve all eligible Americans without drastically reducing benefits. As Congress begins working on the 2018 Farm Bill, they must protect SNAP and resist pressure to weaken the program by turning it into an ineffective block grant."


According to the Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition, 1 in every 3 patients arrives at a hospital malnourished. Elderly patients are particularly at risk. Experts suggest malnutrition has a significant negative impact on state budgets. A recent study found that direct medical costs caused by disease-associated malnutrition were between $36 and $65 per capita across the states—ranging from a total of $7 million in Alaska up to $492.5 million in California. The national overall annual cost of disease-associated malnutrition is more than $15.5 billion.  Malnourished patients are twice as likely to develop a pressure ulcer in the hospital and have three times the risk for surgical-site infection. But tool kits and protocols that provide evidence-based, high-quality, patient-driven malnutrition care for older adults can mitigate problems. For example, one recent study found that the Cleveland Clinic was able to reduce the length of stays, readmissions, and costs of care after implementing a malnutrition protocol.

Source: Council of State Governments, 12/16, Malnutrition Costs

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Obesity among low-income children (ages 2-4 years) enrolled in WIC dropped from 15.9% in 2010 to 14.5% in 2014.  In addition, 34 of 56 WIC state agencies reported modest decreases in obesity among young children. The findings come from a joint study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA. Obesity prevalence varied by state, ranging from 8.2% in Utah to 20% in Virginia. The study’s authors noted several factors that may have contributed to the drop in obesity:

  • In 2009, USDA redesigned WIC food packages to align with updated U.S. dietary guidelines. This change led to improved dietary quality of WIC food packages, better nutrition education, and more health care referrals.
  • National, state, and local childhood obesity programs helped raise awareness among parents, early care and education providers, community and business leaders, health care providers, and public health officials.
  • CDC provided funding, training, and guidance to states, local health agencies, and daycare providers to help promote successful childhood obesity prevention strategies.

Source: CDC, 11/17/16, Obesity

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


USDA has proposed new SNAP eligibility  requirements that look to prohibit murderers, sexual abusers, and lottery winners from receiving food stamps. The proposed changes would prohibit “fleeing felons — including people convicted of murder and sexual assault — from receiving food stamps if they are not in compliance with the terms of their sentence.” It would also target families that have won the lottery, “until the household meets the allowable financial resources and income eligibility requirements,” the agency said. The public has 60 days to comment.

Source: The Hill, 11/30/16, New SNAP Regs

Monday, December 5, 2016

How the good food movement can solve the problem of hunger

When community worker Nick Saul became the executive director of The Stop in 1998, he found a cramped and under-funded food pantry.  Through his vision and leadership, The Stop was transformed into a thriving, internationally respected Community Food Centre. The Stop has flourished with gardens, kitchens, a greenhouse, farmers markets and a mission to revolutionize our food system. In an easy to read, down to earth way, he tells us what The Stop could mean for the future of food.  His passionate argument that everyone deserves a dignified, healthy place at the table is hard to disagree with.

The Stop, a Community Food Centre, introduces us to a whole new way to combat hunger and poverty.  In a way that few have accomplished, The Stop brings the anti-hunger and good food movements together.  It's worth the read for anyone working to fight hunger or on the good food movement. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Volunteer Opportunities!

GardenShare received a Volunteer Generation Grant from the State of New York.  The grant is a partnership project with the Canton and Potsdam Farmers Markets, Campus Kitchens, Church and Community Program, and the Free Will Dinner at the Canton United Methodist Church and has a goal of bringing more volunteers into anti-hunger work.

The two dinners rely heavily on college students to support their efforts.  So, one of the challenges these programs have is the lack of volunteers when the college students are on break.

With the upcoming end-of-semester holiday break, we're looking for people who are willing to come in and help serve once or even more often.  Children are welcome, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.  Here are the details and the links to sign up.

Campus Kitchens - meal is served on Monday evenings at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton.  Volunteers are needed for a variety of shifts 1:00 to 8:00 on December 19 and 26 and January 2 and 9.   If you can help, a sign-up sheet can be found here.  Questions can be directed to Ashlee Downing at 315-229-5135.

Free Will Dinner - meal is served on Wednesday evenings at the United Methodist Church in Canton and volunteers are needed from 4:00 to 6:00 to serve drinks, bus tables, and interact with guests.  Maximum number for any one day is six volunteers.  Volunteers are needed December 7, 14 and 21 and also January 4, 11, 18, and 25.  If you can help any of these days, please go here to sign up.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


Despite the fact that over 42 million Americans live in food-insecure households, collectively, we manage to throw out an estimated 80 billion pounds of food every year. According to a survey by the American Chemistry Council, the average household throws out $640 of food each year. Why are we wasting so much food? A survey by researchers from Ohio State University found:

  • 68% of Americans believe that throwing away food once its expiration date passes lowers their chances of getting sick from it.
  • 59% believe that food waste is "necessary" to consistently produce fresh, flavorful meals.
  • Only 42% feel that food waste is a major source of wasted money.

Source: Motley Fool, 11/3/16, Wasted Food

Friday, December 2, 2016

Nature's Storehouse Raised Over $500 for GardenShare

Nature's Storehouse customers donated $505 to support GardenShare's work to solve the problem of hunger in the ten days before Thanksgiving.  Customers were asked to donate a $1 as their orders were checked out.

L to R, Gloria McAdam, Executive Director of GardenShare; Maria Corse, GardenShare Board of Directors;
and Rainbow Crabtree, Leslie Schwartz, and Lisa Lazenby from Nature's Storehouse.

"We're thrilled with these results," said Rainbow Crabtree, co-owner of Nature's Storehouse. "Our customers care about health and the environment and they were so generous with this promotion, it's clear they also care about their neighbors here in the North Country.  When asked for $1, a few even donated $10!"

"Thank you to everyone on the team at Nature's Storehouse and to all of the customers who donated," commented Gloria McAdam.  "For a small organization like GardenShare, this is a huge support and will make a significant difference in our year-round work to fight hunger in the region."

Jr. Iron Chef registration is open

5th Annual North Country Jr. Iron Chef is Coming!
Registration is Open!
Space is limited, don't delay!
teams of 3 to 5 middle or high school age youth

healthy recipes using a combination of Local & USDA commodity foods
against teams from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis & St. Lawrence counties
March 11, 2017 at 
A.A.K. Middle School, Potsdam

Check out event guidelines,
see pictures and videos,
& browse recipes at
Important 2017 Update!
Registration is limited to one team per division (middle or high school) per school or organization.  See more updates to the competition at

North Country Jr. Iron Chef is a project of the Health Initiative.        
North Country Jr. Iron Chef | Health Initiative, Inc. | 315.261.4760|