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!

9th Annual “Feast on This!” Film Festival

Presented by Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition and the Monadnock Food Co-op

The Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition (MFCC) and the Monadnock Food Co-op, have teamed up to present the 9th Annual “Feast on This!” Film Festival, an event to educate the community about the diverse issues affecting national, regional and local food and agricultural systems.

“We are genuinely excited by the variety of themes of this year’s lineup and look forward to the array of conversations that will ensue thanks to great panel discussions, moderators and guest appearances”, notes Roe-Ann Tasoulas, director of the MFCC; a coalition of 89 member-organizations that are working together to improve the local food system in the Monadnock Region. The film festival is sponsored by: Belletete’s, C & S Wholesale Grocers, Yankee Farm Credit, Savings Bank of Walpole, W. S. Badger, Archway Farm, NBT Bank, Stonewall Farm, Edward Jones/Allen Mendelsohn, Monadnock Conservancy, The Hungry Diner and The Works Café.

This year’s featured film,  “Farmers For America” is gaining media attention thanks to its timely exploration of the changing American farm scene and changing consumer trends. Narrated by “ Dirty Jobs” star, Mike Rowe, the film answers the question: As the average age of US farmers is pushing 60 years old, who will grow our food?

The film explores the delicate issue of transferring land from one farmer or farm family to the next. Hosting the film is MFCC member, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), who will moderate a 20-minute panel discussion following the film, peppered with local experts in farm transition who will share how they work to keep land in farming. “Farmers For America” will be shown at Stonewall Farm on Friday, November 9, 2018 at 6:30pm. Pisgah Farm will provide hors d’oeuvres.

MFCC is bringing back a new roster of short films from the Real Food Media’s POPup Film Festival on Saturday, November 10, 2018, 7pm – 9pm, at The Hive at Hannah Grimes Center. Ten, 4-minute award winning shorts feature real food heroes whose innovation in farming is changing the way the world eats. From former gang members turned urban farmers, to the sustainable farms of Kinkala, Africa, farmers are striving to meet the food needs of tomorrow.

This year, MFCC honors “Farmers Helping Farmers” a farm share program connecting people and farms by subsidizing the cost of summer CSA shares.  Jack Rixey, farm manager of Tracies Community Farm, is one of the members. “We are a group of farmers who gather regularly to talk about the joys and challenges of farming here among other things,” shares Rixey. “We want farming to be a viable and valued occupation and the high quality food we grow to be accessible to more familiies. That is why we started the farmshare program.”  Hors d’oeuvres by CC & D’s Market Café, a cash bar, and a makeover of The Hive by Machina Arts, sets the tone for a night of celebrating the creativity, vision, and hard work of local farmers.

Kicking off the Festival this year is “Fed Up!” a documentary produced by Katie Couric and Laurie David (producer of An Inconvenient Truth). Hosted by Monadnock Understands Childhood Hunger (MUCH) on Thursday, November 8th at 6:30pm at Franklin School, “Fed Up” argues “everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong,” according to the film’s synopsis. MUCH members will share how they work to get healthy food onto the plates of our region’s food insecure children.

Local beekeepers will join Community Garden Connections for a matinee screening of “More Than Honey” on Saturday, November 10th at 1pm at Antioch University New England.  This documentary investigates the cause of bee colony collapse disorder and illuminates how activists work to keep local bee populations viable. Popcorn grown by Community Garden Connections will be served during the film.

There is a suggested donation of $10 at each venue. $30 all-film festival passes will be for sell at each venue at film screenings. In honor of National Hunger Week, donations of food are welcomed at each venue and will be distributed to area food pantries.

For information, descriptions of films and updates on the Feast on This! Film Festival; visit the event page,

FOTFF Main Poster 2018 FINAL NCAT fix.png


Thursday, November 8, 2018, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Franklin Elementary School cafeteria, hosted by Monadnock Understands Childhood Hunger

Fed Up!

Everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong. FED UP is the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP will change the way you eat forever.

Friday, November 9, 2018, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Stonewall Farm, hosted by National Center for Appropriate Technology
Farmers For America, narrated by Mike Rowe
With the average age of the U.S. farmer pushing 60, and with young people unable to afford farmland and equipment, who will grow our food? Farmers For America explores the challenges our farmers are facing and the reasons why agriculture is facing a looming skills gap unlike anything we’ve ever encountered.

Hors d’oeuvres by CC&D’s Kitchen Market

Saturday, November 10, 2018,
1pm – 3pm
Antioch University New England, hosted by Community Garden Connections
More Than Honey

Over the past 15 years, numbers of colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world but the causes of this disaster remain unknown. In the latest estimates, 1.5 million (out of 2.4 million total beehives) have disappeared across 27 states in the U.S.

Homegrown popcorn served.

7pm – 9pm
The Hive at Hannah Grimes Center

Brews + Bites + Real Food Media POPup Film Festival at The Hive at Hannah Grimes Center, a collaboration with Machina Arts!
Ten, 4-minute award-winning shorts feature real Food Heroes who are changing the way the world eats.
SHORTS: “Kelly Street Garden”, “At Needlepoint”, “Harmony Gardens”, “Under the Wall”, “Dictionary of a Food Hero”, “Edible Jungle”, “Homegirl”, “Mama Adrienne”, “Bread”, “Our Work is Life”
Cash bar and hors d’oeuvres by Pisgah Farm
Honoring Farmers Helping Farmers, a group of local farmers seeking to connect people and farms by subsidizing summer CSA shares.


Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition is a regional coalition who mission is to support a sustainable food system by cultivating community action and building collaborations to implement effective programs, projects and policies. We bring together our 89 member organizations and individual stakeholders regularly, in quarterly forums and in working group meetings to assure our collective work is on-going and efficient.

The Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene, NH is cooperatively owned and operated by people in our community, and exists to meet our community’s need for:

  • An accessible, community-owned downtown food market
  • A marketplace that welcomes and connects community
  • A healthy, sustainable food system
  • The support of local farmers and producers
  • Appropriate education and training for the community
  • A strong, sustainable and improving local economy

NH Eat Local Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Join the New Hampshire Food Alliance and New Hampshire Eat Local Month in a virtual scavenger hunt celebrating our local food system.

WEEK ONE: Who’s Your Farmer? (August 5 – 11, 2018)

  • A farmer at your local farmer’s market
  • A farmer you’ve never met before
  • Meat at the farmer’s market
  • Sample of cheese at a farmer’s market
  • Farm animal in a field
  • Heirloom fruit or vegetable
  • Farm that sells textiles (wool, fur, etc)
  • Pots of fresh herbs for sale
  • Carton of eggs
  • Basket of PYO berries

The first person to finish the list, or the person with the most items found, will win a fantastic prize: A gift certificate to a farmer’s market near YOU sponsored by Vital Communities Valley Food and Farm.

Remember that all items found must be produced in NH, and always ask before taking a photo.  See the full details below.

Follow the hunt on Instagram


How to Participate:

  1. Download Instagram on your phone, or use your existing account. Follow the instructions to create an account, or log in.
  2. Follow @NHEatLocalMonth and the @NHFoodAlliance to receive each week’s list.  Each account will post the weekly hunt.
  3. Find and photograph one of each of the items on that week’s list.
  4. After finding an item, post the photo to your Instagram account. In the photo’s description, say what the item is and tag it with #nheatlocalhunt so it can be counted!
  5. Continue to post your finds as the week goes on. All finds must be posted for that week by Saturday at midnight.
  6. After the week ends, the NH Food Alliance team will count the entries and announce a winner!


You could win one these four weekly prizes:

Vital Communities

A gift certificate to a farmer’s market near YOU, sponsored by Vital Communities Valley Food and Farm


A gift card to a Food Co-op near YOU, sponsored by the Monadnock Food Co-op


A gift card to the NH Made online store


A gift provided by the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets, and FoodDept ag

Thanks to our very generous sponsors!

Make sure to participate throughout August

The person with the most finds for the entire month will win our grand prize:

Colby Hill Inn

An overnight stay at the Colby Hill Inn in scenic Henniker, NH, generously provided in connection with NH Farm to Restaurant. This beautiful country eco retreat  features 14 guest rooms. The inn also offers a farm-to-table driven restaurant named The Grazing Room and full catering services for events and weddings, up to 120 guests, on its 5-acre property, which includes a barn that dates back to the 1840s.


Rules of the NH Eat Local Hunt

  • The NH Eat Local Hunt begins on August 5th and ends on September 1st.
  • All products found must be made or produced in NH.
  • All entries must be tagged with #nheatlocalhunt to be counted!
  • All photos submitted must be your own, and always ask before taking a photo.
  • The weekly winner will be whoever has the most finds by midnight on Saturday. The grand winner will be the person who has the most tagged finds by September 1st.

Monadnock Buy Local Celebrates Farmers Market Week In August

Part of New Hampshire Eat Local Month:
Celebrate All That Farmers’ Markets Have to Offer

Monadnock Buy Local joins with farmers’ markets and buy local networks across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from August 5-11.


As demand for local food continues to grow, so too have the opportunities for America’s farmers to market fresh food directly to the consumer. According to statistics recently released by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.

“Farmers markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but in forming a healthy, prosperous food systems,” says Jen Cheek, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Vendors are teaching customers about agriculture and sharing recipes and new foods with their neighbors. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier.“