Monadnock Food Co-op Announces Fourth Year of Farm Fund: Supporting Sustainable Local Food Production

Applications Due February 1, 2020

The Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund program, in partnership with the Cheshire County Conservation District, is now accepting applications from local farmers. Currently, in its fourth year, the fund has supported nine farms in the Monadnock Region.

This year, the Farm Fund will award up to $27,000 to help farms in Cheshire County and abutting New Hampshire towns develop or expand their production for wholesale markets, including selling to the Monadnock Food Co-op and Food Connects. Farmers may apply for grants ranging from $500 to $10,000. Funds can be used to support a range of projects, including the purchase of equipment and infrastructure, packaging and labeling design needs, and technical assistance.

Interested farmers are invited to attend one of two Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund Information Sessions:

  • Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 12 p.m. at the Hannah Grimes Center in Keene
  • Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 12 p.m. at the Cheshire County Conservation District Office in Walpole

Information session details and registration are at monadnockfood.coop/farmfund.

“The Farm Fund empowers local farmers to grow their businesses to help them become more financially sustainable,” said Michael Faber, Monadnock Food Co-op General Manager. “It also helps the co-op broaden its offerings of locally grown, raised, and made foods – that means more local food for you, your family, and our community.”
A Request for Proposals and an application are available at monadnockfood.coop/farmfund. Applications are due February 1, 2020.

Tax-deductible donations to this fund can be made to the Cheshire County Conservation District at cheshireconservation.org/make-a-donation. Additional fundraising activities will occur at the Monadnock Food Co-op, including a Round It Up Donation Drive in January & February 2020.

The Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund’s mission is to support local farmers in increasing sustainable food production and wholesale sales to contribute to a thriving local farm economy. This grant supports several of the co-op’s goals, including building a healthy, sustainable food system, supporting local farmers and producers, and contributing to a strong, sustainable, and improving local economy.

For more information on eligibility, please visit monadnockfood.coop/farmfund or call Amanda Littleton at the Conservation District at 603-756-2988 ext. 4.

Apply for the Monadnock Farm Share Program

farmshareprogram_bannerThe Cheshire County Conservation District is proud to announce the start of a new program bringing farm fresh CSA shares to limited-income Monadnock Region residents. The Monadnock Farm Share Program aims to make farm fresh vegetables affordable for everyone. Participating families and individuals end up receiving a discounted vegetable share at 50% of it’s value!!!

Choose from 8 local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms to particpate with. Farmers raise funds to cover 25% of the program costs, 25% is provided through the Healthy Monadnock Initiative, leaving the customer to pay only 50% of the total CSA cost.

APPLY EARLY!

Applications will be selected on a first come, first served basis and funding is limited.

For more information visit cheshireconservation.org/farmshare.  View a detailed participating farm list.

Participating farms include:

Abenaki Springs Farm

Foggy Hill Farm

Hillside Springs Farm

Hungry Bear Farm

New Dawn Farm

Picadilly Farm

Sun Moon Farm

Tracie’s Community Farm

Monadnock Region CSA Fair

 

CSA-Fair-2019-11x17-FINAL-3-768x1187A free Monadnock Region CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Fair will take place at the Monadnock Food Co-op cafe on Sunday, March 10, 2019, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Seven area CSA farmers will set up informational tables and answer questions about their farms and CSA memberships.

Although each local CSA farm is unique and individually run, each offers “shares” of locally grown food to community members. There are variations in the price, share size, distribution, choices, pick-up sites, payment plans, and variety of food offered. Some CSA farms concentrate on vegetable production, while others provide eggs, meat, flowers, berries, maple syrup, honey, raw milk, cheese, yogurt, or other local products.

The commitment from community members to join a CSA implies a willingness to share with the farmer both the rewards and risks of small-scale farming. Weather, pest damage, and crop failures affect both the farmer and the shareholder. The entire community absorbs the costs of raising food in sustainable ways, and farmers receive consistent appreciation and financial support for their efforts. The shareholders know when, where, and how their food is grown.

A CSA membership supports local farms and the local economy, eliminating many of the environmental and food quality costs of marketing, packaging, and shipping food long distances. Freshly picked, locally grown fruits and vegetables are a good value because they have superior flavor compared to many large-scale commercially raised crops. Sustainable farm practices also avoid the hidden costs of pesticide residues, soil erosion, and polluted surface groundwater often associated with large scale conventional agriculture.

“Local farmland in CSA use becomes healthier through crop rotation, composting, cover crops, natural fertilizers, and periodic resting,” said Frank Hunter of Hillside Springs Farm. “Small farms are also able to grow heirloom or little-known varieties of fruits and vegetables, which helps maintain the diversity and vitality of the world’s seed bank, and also puts healthy and delicious food on the table!”

This year’s Monadnock Region CSA Fair participants:

Abenaki Springs Farm in Walpole offers berries, herbs and vegetables in rotational production; uses biodynamic principles and remineralizes the soil: 603-209-7100, abenakispringsfarm.com, info@abenakispringsfarm.com.

Hillside Springs Farm and CSA Garden, a hand and horse powered farm in Westmoreland, offers vegetables, herbs, apple cider, pick-your-own flowers: 603-399-7288, hillsidespringsfarm.com, hillsidespringsfarm@gmail.com.

New Dawn Farm in Westmoreland produces a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, hops, and cut flowers. Dedicated to using beyond organic practices and includes a Pantry Program, which supports Joan’s Pantry in Chesterfield: 603-399-4859, newdawnfarmnh.com, info@newdawnfarmnh.com.

Picadilly Farm in Winchester grows certified organic produce. Various types of CSA shares are available June-December, with share pick up at the farm or in Keene or Brattleboro: 603-239-8718, picadillyfarm.com, jenny@picadillyfarm.com.

Sun Moon Farm in Rindge provides vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers to members. Located at “The Meeting School,” a property that has been continuously farmed since 1783, the farm grows over 75 varieties of old and rare Dahlias and offers members artisan breads that are baked on the property: 603-899-2806, sunmoonfarm.org, sun.moon.craig@gmail.com.

Tracie’s Community Farm in Fitzwilliam offers Spring, summer and fall shares including a wide variety of vegetables with a home delivery option, as well as options to add herbs, flowers, fruit, bread, eggs, and more: 603-568-6102, traciesfarm.com, farmers@traciesfarm.com.

Village Roots Permaculture Farm in East Alstead offers spring and fall season greens and poultry shares. All birds are raised on pasture and fed only organic grains. Breeds include Freedom Ranger broiler chickens and heritage Narragansett turkeys: 603-477-5533, villageroots.org, marty@theorchardschool.org.

View event updates at monadnockfood.coop/event/csa/.

Eat Local for the Holidays

By Samantha Cave, NH Food Alliance

Shift Your Shopping began officially on November 1st and will last until December 31st, giving you a full two months to think about buying locally for the holidays! To match your commitment to the local economy and community values, the NH Food Alliance is spreading holiday cheer by highlighting ways you can show love to local food businesses and farmers during the fall and winter months. As an official partner to Shift Your Shopping, the Food Alliance hopes to encourage you to give back to the families that feed you and to the food system in general.

Stores, Markets, and Co-ops

You might think that after summer ended, farmer’s markets go into hibernation during the colder months. Luckily, many markets in New Hampshire have an entirely separate winter season offering many of the same products that you love at other times of the year, with some seasonal favorites as well like baked goods, maple syrup, and handmade crafts. The NH Department of Agriculture has a list of markets throughout the state. Many markets use Granite State Market Match during the winter, and stores continue their Double Up Food Bucks programs through December.

Don’t forget about the many local food and drink products at co-ops and farmstands, too. Try a new seasonal wine or beer you’ve never had before, or get a locally-made ready-to-eat pie if you want one less thing to worry about for Thanksgiving! It can also be helpful to think creatively – what is something new that your family might love, and could become a new tradition (for example, joining the Cider Monday festivities!)

Homemade Holiday Favorites

While creating delicious foods with local ingredients from scratch is not something everybody has time for, it can certainly be rewarding (and impressive) to make a few dishes for your relatives and friends! Dig out Grandma’s recipe cards and swap out some ingredients for things you can find locally – how about using farm-fresh eggs in your eggnog this year? Try those sweet potatoes that you bought at the farm just down the street for fresh candied yams? Use the kitchen as a learning opportunity too, to show the kids where their food comes from and the value in making things yourself.

If you don’t have time, that’s okay too. Try to find some prepared foods using local ingredients, like dinner rolls, or swap out a few sauces and condiments for ones made in NH. You can also save yourself a lot of effort and stress by encouraging family members to bring dishes they’ve made to the holiday table.

The Main Attraction: Turkey

Turkey is by far the most popular holiday food, and every family seems to have their own secrets for preparing the best and juiciest turkey. Instead of picking up a less-flavorful bird from the supermarket this year, think about ordering a farm-fresh heritage or pasture raised turkey from your neighborhood farmer, instead. New Hampshire is full of family-owned small farms that raise turkeys – just check out these lists by The Heart of New England or New England Today (note that these are by no means comprehensive). You can also do a quick search for “turkey” on Local Harvest. Our best tip is to order soon, because farm-fresh turkeys are limited and often sell out very quickly!

Giving Back

If you have the means, give back to your community members by donating food items, money, and time to local food pantries and the NH Food Bank, many of which run special holiday basket programs during the winter. Make sure to call first or look online to see which items each place needs the most.

You can also consider hosting your own holiday food drive, or encouraging your child’s school to. The NH Food Bank also has a new license plate decal you can purchase as a charitable contribution while also showing your support! Don’t forget about other organizations that support local food and farming such as conservation trusts, homeless shelters, charitable foundations, schools, and farmer’s unions!