After graduating from Ithaca College as a journalism major, Kara Cusolito worked on a number of farms, including in Australia and Cape Cod. Now, she owns and operates Plowbreak Farm in Hector, New York, which she and her partner, Aaron Munzer, began in 2011. They rely on a community supported agriculture (CSA) model, which strengthens the relationship between the farmer and the consumer.Read More
Over the course of last summer, Fran, 75, and Don, 89, who are both retired, took advantage of a number of free energy-related programs which have greatly contributed to their home’s comfort, as well as to its safety and lower energy bills.Read More
If you’re interested in saving money on energy bills and doing something good for the environment, energy efficiency is the place to start. Here are four things that you might not have known to help you keep the heat in, the cold out, and the bills low.Read More
Lester Sowell, a manager at Maguire--the largest car dealer in the Ithaca area--had every possible car choice available to him. Lester cares about car design--and is a dapper fellow himself--and had his eye on a sports car as he got closer to retirement age. So, this summer, when he drove home a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, his family was surprised.Read More
Dream about dumping the pump one day and going all-electric? Wondering if you could save money by upgrading to a more fuel-efficient vehicle? Here are four things that are useful to know when considering a switch to a hybrid or all-electric vehicle.Read More
Looking to carpool and improve your ways of transportation in Ithaca, but don’t know where to begin? Look no further - the following tips and programs will help you get started and be part of a network in Tompkins County where over 5,000 people are sharing rides every day.Read More
Meet Tenzin and Wendy - their personal stories and experiences with carpooling (aka "ridesharing") not only show how to save money and time but also how to build relationships.
Tenzin Dolma, a junior at Cornell University, is an avid user of the ridesharing program Zimride for her travels between Ithaca and her home, New York City.Read More
I can’t remember the last time I bought meat from the grocery store. Whereas most hunters learned through a family tradition passed down from generation to generation, myself and many new-age hunters did not grow up in hunting families, and had to learn or seek out help on our own. Through persistence, and a lot of failure, we have learned to enter the woods not merely as visitors, but as active participants in the ecosystem. And we taste the fruit of our labor every night around the dinner table, where the prize of our success afield is shared and enjoyed among family and friends.Read More
One Young Man’s Quest to Make Hunting More Accessible and Inclusive
Chances are that if you hunt, you were born into a hunting family. Local hunter and conservationist, Cosmo Genova, 26, is at the center of efforts to change that equation. Since 2012, Cosmo has been organizing activities to not only guide people through the logistics of hunting in upstate New York but to also cultivate a fascination with their food and where it comes from. His passion is evident in simple the way he talks about it all – the thrill in harvesting his own meat, being an active and aware participant in the ecosystem, and the beliefs that give meaning to his mission. But what he wants people to know more than anything else is that he is not who you think he is.Read More
Susie Monagan, a teacher at Ithaca College and a mother of two teenage sons, is an regular at secondhand stores in Tompkins County. She has been shopping for almost 40 years since she started as a teenager in the late 70s. Back then, the punk aesthetic and vintage style was trending. Funky hats and bowling shirts were easy to come by, and the more beat up the clothing was, the better. As a person who easily got bored of her clothes, Susie found secondhand stores to be wonderful since one can buy “a variety of things to wear and experiment with different looks” in an inexpensive fashion.Read More
Arr, Mateys! Find Yer Treasure on the Reuse Trail!
What do vinyl records, baby clothes, computers, and a vintage mirror have in common? You can find them all locally on the Reuse Trail, a collaboration of 45 stores that sell used goods. This October, join Get Your GreenBack to discover the wealth of goodies at reuse stores across Tompkins County during the Reuse Trail Treasure Hunt. Pick up a game card at any of the 14 participating stores, and play one of two games during October: to “Dip Yer Toe”, simply visit three stores and have them stamp your card; to “Walk The Plank”, solve a puzzle with clues from all 14 stores. Drop your completed game card in the treasure box in a participating store to be entered into a drawing to win $40 to $200 in gift cards. Participation is free and no purchase is necessary; but you can take 10% off a purchase if you find a treasure you want to take home.Read More
Gail Neely has lived in Tompkins County most of her adult life, since she moved to Ithaca from North Carolina in 1989. She left the area briefly, but her love for Tompkins pulled her back. “I believe that home is where the heart resides -- where it endures and where it flourishes”, Gail said. “And for me that is right here in Tompkins County”. So a few years ago she settled down in her current home in Newfield. Although she was interested in going solar to contribute her own “little bit toward the collective goal of moving the world away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy”, she initially thought solar would be beyond her budget. But when she learned about the Go Solar Tompkins program through Get Your GreenBack’s newsletter she decided to give it a try. Gail is now powering her home with panels installed in August by local contractor Renovus Energy, and paying less a month on her loan than she was on her electrical bill.Read More
If you’re looking to save money on your monthly energy bill, you may want to considering going solar. The combination of significant federal and state incentives and dropping equipment costs (see chart below) make the price of solar energy remarkably low. In fact, in a typical scenario, if financed, your monthly loan payment on your solar panels can be less than or equal to your current monthly electricity bill.Read More
As the July heat settles in, heat pumps are increasingly recognized as an efficient-- and, according to a new study conducted in Tompkins County, affordable-- way to heat and cool your homes. Despite the counterintuitive name, heat pumps can both warm up a space and cool it down.Read More
With two winters behind him, Tom Butler has no reservations about having installed air-source heat pumps to heat his home and a rental property he owns. Tom lives with his wife and their daughter in Groton in a two-story home overlooking a large pond, woods and varied gardens on 5 acres, where several cats, including a manx, freely roam, occasionally stopping by for a pet. Several years ago they installed solar panels to provide electricity for their household and the small rental cottage on their property. Tom thought the annual surplus 2,000 kWh from the panels could power a heat pump system and help him move away from fossil fuels.Read More
Susan Schattschneider had been searching for a CSA to join for a while, as she said she “wanted a convenient way to fill my diet with more veggies”. CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is an arrangement where consumers purchase a share of the farm’s produce, generally receiving a weekly portion of the harvest from June through October. Susan and her husband live in the Town of Lansing, a strong farming town; however, she hadn’t found a convenient way to join a CSA locally. Then the perfect opportunity fell into her lap: she learned about a CSA drop-off at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, where she works. She signed up two years ago and hasn’t looked back since.Read More
Erin Eldermire first got hooked on Community Supported Agriculture, also know as CSA, when she signed up for a share at Cornell University’s Vet School, where she works. The weekly share of local produce is delivered right to her workplace, one of many CSA drop off locations in Tompkins County, and has changed the way she and her family eat, as well as their connection to food and local farms.Read More
Gibrian Hagood had never gardened before he received seeds and a 5-gallon bucket of soil from Tompkins Community Action two years ago. During the summer, his bucket garden filled up with more fresh produce than Gibrian thought possible. Last year Gibrian rented a plot in a community garden and grew even more. Now Gibrian is volunteering to teach others through Seed to Supper, a free series of classes for budding gardeners.Read More
Ever wanted a free introduction to growing your own fruits and vegetables? This summer, join community members around Tompkins County for Seed to Supper, a series of classes on the basics of gardening that can help you on the road to becoming a master gardener and having more fresh produce to eat.
The class series is based off a curriculum started in Oregon and adapted for New York State that covers topics like garden planning, soil preparation, compost, seed starting, transplanting, planting in the garden, maintenance, dealing with weeds and pests, and harvesting.Read More
Don Barber and Rita Rosenberg knew that they needed to make a change to their heating system when a technician told them that their aging oil-fired boiler would likely need emergency maintenance soon. Don and Rita, firm believers in renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades, were also looking to get off fossil fuels for their home heating needs. After attending a presentation on the benefits of pellet heat and energy efficiency sponsored by Get Your GreenBack and CCE-Tompkins, Don and Rita decided to install a wood pellet boiler that keeps their home more comfortable, requires little maintenance, and reduces the risk of their heating costs increasing dramatically when fossil fuel prices rise.
Through NYSERDA’s Renewable Heat NY program, they received a 45% discount on the pellet boiler and installation costs, making Don and Rita’s switch to a more comfortable, reliable, and carbon-neutral fuel economically feasible.Read More