Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.69
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date March 8, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Cornell University
PAE-19: Community Sustainability Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Amanda Kittelberger
Communications Manager
Land Grant Affairs
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Does the institution participate in community sustainability partnerships that meet the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with the local community:

The Food Dignity Project is an action research initiative focused on engaging food insecure communities and universities in building sustainable community food systems. The project is led by Christine Porter, Ph.D. '10, an assistant professor of public health at the University of Wyoming. The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, grew out of Porter's Cornell Ph.D. dissertation in the field of nutritional sciences.
The Food Dignity Project is a five-year collaboration between Cornell, Ithaca College, the University of Wyoming, and five communities in three states aims to engage students, faculty and staff in their local food movements through community-based learning and action research. The overarching goal of the Food Dignity Project is to invest in citizen solutions to food system issues. The research attempts to learn from all the wisdom on the ground, to help inform and connect the food systems movement in terms of what's missing, and use this information to inform the USDA and land-grant universities on how they can be partners to support this work.

The Ithaca initiative will involve the Whole Community Project of Cornell Cooperative Extension, a collaborative effort of organizations and individuals in Tompkins County to support the health and well-being of children and youth and address issues related to obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and food injustice. Each regional initiative will serve as case models for how extension can be done more effectively. Also, small grants administered through these initiatives will invest in citizen solutions to their own food system issues.

URL: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/June11/USDAFoodGrant.html

Cornell's Civic Ecology Lab supports community gardening, community forestry, participatory watershed restoration, and other locally-organized civic ecology practices that integrate community and environmental outcomes. The Lab builds awareness of these practices among practitioners in the fields of education; individual, community and ecosystem resilience, in particular after conflict and disaster; and natural resources management. The approach to extension includes participatory action research, working in partnerships with urban sustainability initiatives, and developing youth education programs.


Cornell Professor Marianne Krasny’s recent work has engaged youth in learning alongside adults in urban community gardens. The Garden Mosaics project resulted in award-winning web-based, DVD, and print materials, many of which are available on the Garden Mosaics website. Whereas Garden Mosaics originally focused on science education, it grew to encompass inter-generational learning, environmental action, and multi-cultural understanding. Her more recent Project Ecopolis builds on Garden Mosaics and on the "No Child Left Inside" movement. The goal of Project Ecopolis is to provide opportunities for children to benefit from local nature, through spending time learning alongside adults in community gardens. Project Ecopolis is a partnership with the American Community Gardening Association and has received endorsement by the National Forum on Children and Nature.


Local Roads Program
Professor Rebecca Schneider’s lab in Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources has studied how roadside ditches contribute to flooding, droughts, and degraded water quality in downstream waters. Her research lab has documented that roadside ditches are a significant, rapid conduit of E. coli, a fecal indicator bacteria, from different land uses, particularly from manure-amended agriculture, to streams and drinking water sources. The relevant stakeholders include town planners, local town government officials, and highway department staff. The results have been conveyed via in-person presentations and workshops with local (village, town and county) highway and public works supervisors and other local officials. Many of these workshops were hosted by the Cornell Local Roads Program.

Invasive Species Program
The New York State Invasive Species Research Institute (ISRI), hosted by Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources, and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Invasive Species Outreach Program provide state-wide programming on invasive species of concern to New York State. Research results are disseminated more broadly and readily through the ISRI and multi-county collaborations of natural resource professionals (PRISMs) are served by the Invasive Species Outreach Program. For example, the Department of Natural Resources conducted more than 20 workshops across the state in 2010 on the emerald ash borer, including information on life cycle, detection, monitoring, and control. Audiences served included professional foresters, public natural resources managers, landowners, not-for-profits, and farmers. A Web site (nyis.info) provides detailed species descriptions, print on demand handouts, and partner information and contacts. Cornell Cooperative Extension educators are active in the PRISMs.

The Whole Community Project
The Cornell Division of Nutritional Sciences is taking an ecological approach to obesity prevention. Traditional approaches focus on education and individual behavior change, which may be hampered by environment, such as presence of vending machines in schools, family eating habits, or lack of access to exercise opportunities. An ecological approach includes changing food and activity environments to support and enable healthy eating and active living. Extension educators receive professional development and have access to materials and other support from researchers and Extension faculty. The ecological approach to preventing childhood obesity is supported by Farm to School and 4-H Youth Development programs on healthy eating.

Cornell Cooperative Extension, Tompkins County
The concept “local foods” refers to foods produced close to the point of consumption. Cornell Cooperative Extension promotes local foods in its nutrition, agriculture, and community development programs, connecting producers, consumers, and local economic developers, supporting farmers markets, producing guides to local foods, and educating consumers on preparation of fresh foods. Expansion of local foods has implications for local economic development and sustainability in addition to potential nutritional benefits.

Greening of Nassau Project
Due to the large area of land that they hold, schools are perfect sites for the sustainable replanting of trees, which serves as a means for providing opportunities for students to become stewards of the environment.

Cornell Cooperative Extension, Tompkins County
Energy and Workforce Development. In partnership with local Building Performance Institute-accredited contractors, The Energy Corps trains student interns in building science, energy diagnostics, home energy assessments, and communication. Energy Corps members gain leadership skills and practical experience in home energy efficiency that leads to jobs after graduation.

Agroforestry Resource Center, Greene County|
The Agroforestry Resource Center provides educational programs, supports research, and promotes collaboration among organizations concerned with sustaining the forest dominated landscape of the Catskill Mountain/Hudson Valley Region. Agroforestry is the art and science of integrating timber production with other crops and forest related income opportunities.

Southern Finger Lakes Region Land Use Leadership Training
In 2010, CCE Schuyler County worked with Cornell's Community and Regional Planning Development Institute (CaRDI) and the Cooperative Extension Associations and Planning Departments in Tompkins, Tioga, Chemung and Steuben counties to bring Land Use Leadership Alliance (LULA) training to the five-county region.

9. Complete Street Initiative
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties worked with two communities to pass "complete streets" policies around schools, low-income housing and housing for the elderly. "Complete streets" designs create environments that are safe and accessible for pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchair users and transit users.

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:

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