2020 NH Agricultural Policy Forum

Policy advocates from across state share legislative priorities and policy briefs in this virtual event

On Monday, November 16, 2020, the Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition (MFCC) and the NH Food Alliance invite NH residents to join us for 2020 NH Agricultural Policy forum — an online event highlighting the efforts of advocates who have been working hard throughout this challenging year on policy supportive of agriculture.

The importance of locally grown food to our health, well-being, and local economies has never been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fears around the instability of large-scale food production resulted in a sharp rise in sales of locally grown farm products at farm stands and CSA shares. But for those farms who don’t use these wholesale distribution channels, this year has been particularly challenging. Some predict the shutdown will result in the loss of farms, especially those who were struggling before, despite COVID-19 relief funding.

“NH farms were under pressure to make ends meet long before COVID-19,” according to MFCC Director, Roe-Ann Tasoulas. “With a short growing season, low prices and demand for dairy, and unpredictable weather impacting size and quality of harvest, many farmers scramble to make ends meet – including holding part-time jobs. The pandemic put pressure on an already stressed situation making farmers struggle to find debt relief, new distribution points – anything to keep their heads above water.” Tasoulas continues, “In our future, do we want to rely on food shipped from other regions, grown in ways that may or not be sustainable, or will our lawmakers buy in to the economic, physical, and environmental benefits of locally grown products and get behind policies that support the health of our farms, consumers, and communities?”

Such as policies that address: the impact of the pandemic and drought on the fiscal health of farms; land use, farm practices, crop and livestock production, and water regulation that support a more robust and sustainable agricultural future; making locally grown food more readily available to all residents through school cafeterias and government programs, as well as other priorities.

During the online forum, representatives from the NH State House Environment & Agriculture committee, NH Farm Bureau, and NH Food Alliance policy teams: Climate Resilience, Land Use, Food Access, and Farm to School will share their priorities in the legislative session and briefs that support a vibrant food system. A limited Q & A will be available during the session; questions not addressed directly will be submitted to representatives post-event and a follow up report will be emailed to audience members.

“The most important takeaway of the forum is to provide stakeholders options to engage with policy in a meaningful way, whether it is by joining a state policy action team, signing up for policy alerts from the NH Farm Bureau, or being better acquainted with lawmakers in Concord working on behalf of agriculture,” says Tasoulas. “In this very powerless time in history, there is nothing more empowering than working towards real solutions in our future.”

To find out more and to register, go to: https://2020nhpolicyforum.eventbrite.com

The Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition is a coalition of 140 member organizations who come together regularly to build a sustainable local food system by cultivating community action and building collaboration to implement effective programs, projects, and policies.

The NH Food Alliance aims to influence and shape the future of our emerging local food economy to build a food system that works for all in New Hampshire: people, businesses, communities, and the environment.

GATHER: Revitalizing Native American Foodways

On October 6, Monadnock Food Co-op, Monadnock International Film Festival, and Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition will co-host a virtual screening of GATHER, a documentary that traces the intentional destruction of Native American foodways and the renaissance to reclaim indigenous agriculture and food systems.

The film starts at 6:30 p.m. with a live post-film discussion with A-dae Romero-Briones (First Nations Director of Programs – Native Agriculture and Food Systems) and other guests to be announced. This event is free, but registration is required at moniff.org/events.

Featuring the work of First Nations Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative, GATHER highlights tribes and Native communities as they build sustainable foodways that improve health, strengthen food security and increase control over Native agriculture and food systems. GATHER follows Nephi Craig, a chef from the White Mountain Apache Nation (Arizona), opening an indigenous café as a nutritional recovery clinic; Elsie Dubray, a young scientist from the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation (South Dakota), conducting landmark studies on bison; and the Ancestral Guard, a group of environmental activists from the Yurok Nation (Northern California), trying to save the Klamath River: gather.film.

“The food sovereignty movement has so many powerful stories that needed to be told from the community perspective,” said Michael E. Roberts (Tlingit), First Nations President and CEO. “Hearing stories about Native people from Native people, along with experts in this type of storytelling, brings a tribal producer’s vision and First Nation’s work to the forefront.”

NH Maple Weekend

Originally published on New Hampshire Maple Producers Website

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Hosted by the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, Maple Sugaring Month runs March 7 through March 29, spanning four weekends of maple madness! The 25th Annual NH Maple Weekend will be March 21 – 22, 2020.

Join the fun at a local participating sugar house! Across the state, sugar makers open their doors to the public to demonstrate the centuries-old craft of maple sugaring.

Meet the maple producers of New Hampshire. Discover how their operation works, enjoy free samples of fresh syrup, maple candies and confections, coffee and doughnuts. Some locations offer pancake breakfasts, petting farms or horse-drawn rides. Come taste why pure New Hampshire maple syrup has long been a delicious harbinger of spring.

A Decade of Plaid Friday Celebrations in the Monadnock Region

For the tenth year, independent businesses and community members in the Monadnock Region will celebrate Plaid Friday on the day after Thanksgiving. This year’s event falls on Friday, November 29, 2019.

Individuals will wear plaid on Plaid Friday to show support for the local economy and their commitment to spending more of their dollars at locally owned businesses during the holiday season. Last year, nearly 400 community members pledged to participate in Plaid Friday.

To amplify this year’s event, Savings Bank of Walpole will host a Plaid Friday Week from Friday, November 29 to Tuesday, December 3.  The bank will set up information tables at each of their branches with Plaid Friday swag to inspire more people to participate in this year’s event.  Community members are encouraged to wear plaid throughout this week and stop by the bank’s Marlboro Street branch to take a selfie in front of the bank’s Plaid Friday backdrop.  Savings Bank of Walpole will then share these photos on social media to further promote this event.

“With Savings Bank of Walpole (SBW) being the community’s local bank, we want to show our support for our local businesses,” said Danielle Ruffo, Savings Bank of Walpole’s new Community Engagement Coordinator.  “SBW serves many customers in our community — and keeping your money local is what we are all about.  Supporting Plaid Friday and the ‘Shop Indie Local’ movement is all part of helping our local community thrive and grow.”

Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of local and independent businesses. It’s a fun and festive alternative to the “Black Friday” consumer frenzy perpetuated by big box stores.  This event originated in Oakland, CA with the intent to bring back the times when shopping for friends and family was a pleasurable and leisurely activity.

A growing list of locally owned businesses will serve as Plaid Friday Hubs, photographing customers decked out in plaid and answering questions about this event.  View a list of Plaid Friday Hubs.

Local photographer Kim Peck will host a Plaid Friday Photo Booth outside of The Toadstool Bookshop at 12 Depot Square in Peterborough (times TBD). In Keene, Ted’s Shoe & Sport at 115 Main Street will host a Plaid Friday Photo Booth inside his store with Luxury Box Photo Booth, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The photo booth will then move to Elm City Brewery at 222 West Street (times TBD). Photos will be added to a Plaid Friday collage, celebrating all who wore plaid: bit.ly/MBLplaidfriday.

A number of participating businesses will offer specials to honor the day and thank community members for their support. View these specials.

Plaid Friday is part of the “Shop Indie Local” movement growing throughout North America.  From November 1 to December 31, Shop Indie Local encourages residents to choose local and independent businesses for more of their holiday purchases.

The Monadnock Region’s Plaid Friday event is sponsored by Beeze Tees Screen Printing, CC&D’s Kitchen, Cheshire Horse, Creative Encounters, Cultural Cocoon, The Dragonfly Shop,  Elm City Brewery, The Farm Cafe, Food Connects, Frogg Brewing, Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Joseph’s Coat, Korvin Appliance, LuvINK&Paper, The Luxury Box Photo Booth, Marcia Kayser, Mayfair Farm, Monadnock Food Co-op, One Stop Country Pet Supply, Peterborough Art Academy, Prime Roast Coffee, Savings Bank of Walpole, Ted’s Shoe & Sport, Toadstool Bookshops in Keene and Peterborough, Tribals – Rugs by Hand and  The Works Cafe.