Summer youth employees from Workforce NY landscaping at Conley Park aka the Permaculture Park Project
Image by Josh Dolan

Youth employees from Workforce NY landscaping at Conley Park (Summer 2020)

Solidarity Gardens

The Solidarity Gardens project is a coalition of CCE staff, BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) focused organizations, community stakeholders, and volunteers who are organizing together to build gardens in Tompkins County. We believe that gardens are healing spaces that uplift the spirit as well as the body and should be a central strategy on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic. This program was made possible thanks to a grant from NY State Department of Agriculture & Markets.

Our work focuses on addressing the root causes of food insecurity including land access and land-use policy, physical resources, education, and institutional racism. We are working within CCE to shift from a top-down approach to remove barriers to full participation within our food system and greater support for initiatives arising from the grassroots. We are also working to identify urban and rural agriculture opportunities, both community and commercial, and to support entrepreneurial opportunities within the food system.

Community Liaison

The community liaison position within Solidarity Gardens will serve the entire Ag/Hort team at CCE Tompkins. This position will be directly responsible for making and cultivating connections in the community, increasing outreach activities, and playing a role in the leadership of our steering committee. This position will be geared toward a BIPOC individual with strong ties to the community, community organizing experience, administrative skills, and a strong interest in ag/hort issues. No experience in ag/horticulture is required and requisite training will be provided, which may include master gardener training, seed to supper training, and specific classes on offer at CCE Tompkins. We will begin accepting applications soon. Please email Josh Dolan at for more information.

Coalition Building

Solidarity Gardens has been working to bring organizations together under the banner of solidarity and food sovereignty. We prioritize BIPOC communities in our work and our main goal is to align efforts with the desires and needs of those we serve. We will work to find ways to have these conversations, invite dedicated individuals into leadership, and support the efforts of BIPOC lead organizations. Our goal for Winter 2021 is to form a strategic vision and a path to equity in our food system. The coalition will work to identify shared goals, opportunities, and barriers; gather resources and distribute them within the group, identify joint projects, work together to enact favorable policy, AND conduct outreach in the community to match families with resources and programs.

Land and Market Assessment

One goal for 2021 is an inventory of both land and entrepreneurial opportunities. One of the crucial elements of successful urban agriculture projects is land access. We will catalog city-owned land, vacant or marginal lands held privately, and other parcels within Tompkins County with a priority for easy access for low-income residents. We will also work with our partners to identify emerging opportunities related to urban agriculture and entrepreneurial projects/employment.

Grow Guide and Grow Along

Our goal is to create a growing guide to help new gardeners or gardeners with too little time the ability to achieve successful harvests to supplement their SNAP benefits. This Growing Guide will be a result of research to identify the intersection of fruits and vegetables that 1) offer dense nutrition, 2) may be harder to access or pay for at the grocery, and 3) are generally successful for new gardeners. Up to 12 participants will be compensated for their involvement in a grow along process, whereby CCE supports and monitors gardeners who are growing and evaluating crops based on the above criteria.

Solidarity Gardens Corps

In partnership with workforce NY we will be offering 4 summer youth employment positions and 2 year round positions. This program will teach workers valuable job skills in horticulture and agriculture as well as provide a higher level of job readiness to participants. It’s also a great resume builder and will be a doorway to future employment in the local job market.

Pilot Projects

Stay tuned to hear about our raised beds, microgreens, and mushroom pilot projects

Support for Gardens

In 2021 we will support previous participants to increase their success and expand their gardens. We will also be on the lookout for a few new sites with garden champions who are ready to grow new gardens. If you are a new gardener and would like support, or would like to lend your skills to our efforts, please fill out our 2021 intake form here: JOIN or VOLUNTEER


Josh Dolan
Food Gardening Outreach Educator
(607) 272-2292 ext. 190

Last updated February 19, 2021