News

Community Supported Solar Project Receives Funding to Assist Monadnock Region Farms with Energy Expenses

The Cheshire County Conservation District (CCCD) is excited to announce the launch of a Community Supported Solar Initiative for Farms in the Monadnock Region! With support from the Thomas W. Haas Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation, this initiative aims to help lower energy costs for local farms in the region. This opportunity for local farms is being offered in partnership with the Monadnock Sustainability Network (MSN), an organization with a mission to encourage sustainable living practices and resource conservation in the Monadnock region.

It should come as no surprise that farmers in New Hampshire face significant energy expenses to run their businesses. This project will help to stabilize and lower costs of electricity for participating farms through the Community Supported Solar framework and in turn, increase the viability of those farms.

Solar electric (PV) systems provide a secure electricity supply and reduced exposure to electricity price inflation. Solar energy systems are rapidly taking root worldwide and Community Supported Solar is an opportunity for solar to be installed on one site, that is best suited for it, while member farms commit their electric meter to group net metering and connection to the utility grid. A number of agricultural producers have expressed interest in solar, but many do not have the capital to invest in the infrastructure and/or a good location for the PV system. The Community Supported Solar model allows for community investment to offset the costs of the participating farms.

Farmers are invited to find out how they can increase their energy independence and resilience, reduce their carbon footprint and boost the financial strength of our communities. The CCCD and MSN will host informational workshops in (3) different locations throughout the County so that interested farmers may learn more about participating in this project. Please join us for an information session from 12pm-2pm

Wednesday, March 6th at Stonewall Farm in Keene, NH

Thursday, March 7th at the Jaffrey Civic Center in Jaffrey, NH

Friday, March 8th at the CCCD office in Walpole, NH

Registration is required – Please register online at: https://tinyurl.com/y794w6sb For questions or assistance with registration, please contact the CCCD at 603-756-2988 x116

This is a free event and lunch will be provided.

Marketing Success for Produce Farmers

FREE 2-Day Workshop

Day 1: February 4, 2019
Day 2: February 7, 2019

8:30am – 4pm
Stonewall Farm
242 Chesterfield Rd., Keene, NH 03431

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Register today!

Farmers may attend one or both workshops and will receive the FamilyFarmed manual of their choosing. Attend both days and receive both manuals!

Day 1: Marketing, Branding, & Promotion
Who is your customer and why do they buy? Meeting the needs and values of your customers is fundamental to creating a healthy long-term relationship — a relationship that requires attention to details from varieties, quality, pricing, communication, sequential planting, quality control, merchandising, trends, and more.

Day 2: Efficiency & Cost of Production:
Postharvest Systems & Crop Planting
Cost-effective and scale-appropriate systems are critical for a small or mid-sized farm to compete in any market. Success requires good postharvest practices to preserve quality and shelf life, as well as thought-out crop planning that includes a sequential planting/harvest plan.

Facilitated by Atina Diffley: Organic farmer & author of the 2012 award winning memoir, Sweetcorn: Organic Farming Works. FamilyFarmed’s Farmer Training program has provided workshops for more than 14,000 farmers in 43 states on best practices in farm operations, handling, food safety, and marketing.

 

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

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

This year, the Farm Fund will award up to $18,000 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. 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.

The Request for Proposals and application are available at https://monadnockfood.coop/farmfund. Applications are due February 1, 2019.

“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.”

Tax-deductible donations to this fund can be made to the Cheshire County Conservation District at https://monadnockfood.coop/farmfund/#donate. Additional fundraising activities will occur at the Monadnock Food Co-op, including a Round It Up Donation Drive in early 2019.

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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, to apply for a grant, or make a donation to the fund, please visit https://monadnockfood.coop/farmfund or call Amanda Littleton at the Conservation District at 603-756-2988 ext 116.