News

STORIES FROM THE FIELD: Celebrating our Local Food System in Words

Thursday, December, 3, 2020
6:30pm – 8:30pm – Online Event


Join farmers, eaters, educators, legislators, & others for an evening of celebrating our local food system through words!

Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition invites you to an evening of storytelling with folks who grow, educate about, lovingly prepare, advocate for, and eat (!) locally grown food. One thing is for sure: the benefit of local food to our well-being, town economies, and environment has never been more evident than in this challenging year. So, let’s celebrate another great year of the harvest, of farming, and of community in this inspiring event. We promise some laughs, maybe a couple of tears, but mostly real insight into the lives of folks who work hard to bring local food to our tables and some whose lives it has changed.

Family friendly, online event
Suggested donation: $10

Emcee: Kate McNally, Host, “The Folk Show” on NH Public Radio.

Live music provided by chanteuse extraordinaire, Wendy Keith.


Storytellers:

  • Kate McNally, Emcee and host of NHPR’s “The Folk Show”
  • Tara Sad, NH State Representative, Environment & Agriculture committee, (ret.)
  • Kin Schilling, Founder, The Cornucopia Project
  • Beth Hodge, Echo Farm Puddings
  • Jordan Scott, Chef, Machina Arts ArtBar & Cafe
  • Holly Gowdy, Brookfield Farm
  • Ashley Rickey-Hale, Monadnock Farm Share participant
  • Mary Jensen, MFCC board member
  • & others

Announcing the Taste of Food Connects

Food Connects will host the first Taste of Food Connects from November 1 to 21. This event brings together over 90 local businesses throughout the Windham County and Monadnock Regions to celebrate our vibrant local economy. This unique event is part Local Passport, benefitting local businesses, and part Silent Auction, supporting Food Connects’ annual fund.

The idea for this event came as a response to COVID-19 putting a damper on Food Connects’ initial fundraising plans for the fall. “Typically we’d bring together a number of local chefs to feature locally grown and produced foods,” says Laura Carbonneau, Food Connects’ Marketing Manager. “That just wasn’t a safe option this year. So we thought: how can we hold a fundraiser for our programming and support local businesses during these challenging times.” And the Taste of Food Connects was born.

So how does it work? From November 1 to 21, shop at any of the 21 participating businesses—when you spend $10 or more you can add a sticker to your passport. After three stickers you can be entered to win one of nine great prizes, including $1,000 to spend at local businesses or however your family needs this holiday season. Multiple passport entries are encouraged. 

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“The team at Food Connects hopes that this program will help encourage community members to shop at local businesses,” says Carbonneau. “We understand how COVID-19 impacted and continues to impact our community partners and we need to continue to fortify and strengthen our local economy. We are stronger together and the community needs us all to shop locally this holiday season.”

The culmination of this program ends with a 5 days virtual silent auction from November 16 to 20 to support Food Connects annual fund. Food Connects, a 501c3 non-profit, continues to grow despite these challenging times. Their Farm to School programming continues to develop unique ways to support schools through COVID-19 and leverage opportunities for increased food security. At the same time, the Food Connects Food Hub continues to grow and be a regional leader in fortifying local food infrastructure. 

“Our goal is to raise $5,000 for our programming,” says Carbonneau. “We strive to create healthy, families, thriving farms, and connected communities—we couldn’t do this work without the generous support of our community and donors. This is a great opportunity to get your holiday shopping done while supporting a great cause. The silent auction features amazing bundles of products and services from local businesses, encourages community members to shop locally, and provides us with the much needed operating revenue. Thank you to all of those who will support us through this auction.”

To learn more about the Taste of Food Connects head to www.foodconnects.org/taste-of-food-connects.

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.