photo by Katie Quinn-Jacobs
Last week, dozens of people attended a home food storage tour at the Quinn-Jacobs house, just outside of Ithaca. The highlight of the tour was the family root cellar, a modern, well-lit corner of their basement that houses a year’s supply of food. Attendees also learned how to make fruit leather and watched a demonstration on packing beets into a perforated storage container. Then, in the waning evening light, they toured the gardens, the orchard, and livestock area, asking endless questions about ideal varieties, organic pest control, and more.
This was the second food storage organized by CCE-TC this season, and each drew 40 registrants, the maximum allowed. “Folks are very interested in making the connections between gardening, processing, and storing the harvest,” said homeowner Katie Quinn-Jacobs.
Katie’s interest in food storage extends beyond her own home. She is the founder of IthaCan, a non-profit grassroots citizen action project designed to promote local food processing in Tompkins County, encourage household self-reliance, and strengthen our community's foodshed.
“Building connections between food producers and home food processors in order to ensure a 12 month supply of local food is central to our mission,” Katie said, emphasizing that home food preservation "is critical to the development of the local foodshed, builds community resiliency, encourages household self-reliance, can contribute significantly to individual efforts to lower carbon footprints, and is a wonderful way to network with others, to learn and share.”
IthaCan’s free online social network and skills sharing group has attracted more than 130 members since launching last spring. Recently on the site, members have discussed making goat cheese, troubleshooting canning problems, and where to harvest berries for elderberry mead. IthaCan is a spin-off project from sister site PreparedTompkins.org.
(Full disclosure: yours truly is a member of IthaCan and recently joined the admin team.)