Kara Cusolito & Aaron Munzer

Whether feature writing or farming, Ithaca alumni Kara Cusolito ’08 and Aaron Munzer ’08 are building the future with their own hands. 

a woman and a man walking through a planted field

Kara Cusolito and Aaron Munzer head out to work on Plowbreak Farm with their daughter, June, and family dogs. 

The fields buzz with the low hum of insects in late summer as Kara Cusolito and Aaron Munzer harvest cilantro on Plowbreak Farm with their daughter, June, who drops bunches of cilantro into boxes.  

“Turns out, most of farming is just putting things in boxes,” jokes Aaron.  

Twelve years ago, Plowbreak Farm started out as Kara and Aaron’s family garden. When they produced more bounty than they could consume themselves, they started a small community-supported agriculture (CSA) service selling to 10 homes—friends and neighbors—locally.

“From there on, we said, ‘Maybe this could be a business,’” says Aaron. “We just hustled for five to eight years before we could quit our other jobs and run the farm full time.” 

Today, their 50-acre farm (with 10 acres of vegetable production) employs three to four people, plus themselves, each year. Plowbreak’s crops supply certified-organic, wholesale produce to restaurant chefs and CSA boxes throughout the greater Ithaca region and New York State generally.  

“I think the more local farms in the area the better, because we really need to build the regional food system,” says Kara, about the unsustainability of shipping produce thousands of miles.

“I love working with local chefs,” says Kara, noting that local farming built around a community is also a much more efficient way to farm. “I think that if we're going to have a successful regional food system, there has to be more of that, too.” 

Kara and Aaron have become a nurturing part of the regional food system—and can be counted among the 2 percent of the population in the United States that is engaged in farming.  

“Getting a degree helped me grow as a person. I took really awesome classes that opened my mind.”

Kara Cusolito

Spreading the News of Sustainability   
Kara and Aaron both studied journalism at the Roy H. Park School of Communications. After they graduated from Ithaca College in 2008, they covered food, agriculture, and the environment as freelance journalists. They also traveled around the world—including Hawaii, Australia, and Cape Cod—where they worked on farms during the recession and began to shift their focus from freelance writing to farming. 

The two agree that their time at Ithaca helped shape their values and their future to focus on sustainability and regional food systems. Not only were they inspired to stay close to the college in an area they view as ideal for starting a farm, but they also used what they learned at IC to run the farm.  

They send out a weekly email from the farm to 250 restaurants and wholesalers, and that brings in much of the farm’s income through the successful marketing of their produce, a skill honed at IC. “Effective, clear, consistent communication has, I think, helped us grow to be the farm that we are now,” says Aaron. 

IC prepared the couple for life after college in other ways, too. “Getting a degree helped me grow as a person,” says Kara. “I took really awesome classes that opened my mind.”  They often go back to IC to talk to students as well—not about journalism but about farming. “It's one of the most ancient of jobs, and we're updating it for the modern era,” Aaron says. 

Even with the many technological advancements on modern farms, Plowbreak continues to face ever-changing climate conditions, from droughts to floods and extreme heat complicating the growing process. Despite these challenges, both Kara and Aaron hope more people will join them and take up farming locally to build a more sustainable future.  

"It's a nice thing to be able to have a small business and support the economy and get people fresh, delicious produce,” says Aaron. 


A collection of introductions to the Ithaca College story—about those who continue to write it.
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Nick Capodilupo

Nick Capodilupo

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David Prunty

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