Water! We drink it, we bath in it, we swim in it, and we use it for our livestock and to grow our food. And for centuries, man has used it successfully as a natural resource to power industries. Hancock’s Charles Daloz is trying to revive one of these industries, and take it a step further.
At one time, the New England hills were covered with rushing streams tumbling down rocky slopes dotted with water-powdered mills and filled with scurrying hired hands busy manufacturing everything from wooden clothespins to boxes, pails and barrels. One of those mills is what is now known as the Daloz Mill, in the family since 1958.
Located on Ferguson Brook, according to Daloz it is the last of three known structures on that site. In 1900, the second mill’s beams were incorporated into the current structure, a mill used for the manufacture of boxes and barrels for the apple trade. Water still drives two turbines (a third was removed in the sixties). “A smaller Francis turbine still runs the machinery,” Daloz explains. “A newer 12-inch cross-flow turbine is limited to powering the lights for the building. The mill? It’s still operating. Right now we’re making bushel boxes with water power.”
Because the old building and its aging machinery need attention, keeping its use limited, Daloz has a vision to “give the mill a life of its own.” His objective: an operating mill for processing wood and agricultural products using hydro-electric power, combined with an educational center to demonstrate and study the use of water-power and alternative energy technologies. Working to create a Friends of the Mill group, he says, “We can use all sorts of skills: mechanics, welders, carpenters, and planning and administrative people for this non-profit venture. For those people who like this kind of stuff, it’s interesting and fun.”
Daloz also practices sustainable farming at the Daloz Farm organic CSA gardens. The CSA is still taking members. Contact Charles Daloz for more information, and to schedule a visit to the CSA and historic mill.
Other Water Ventures in New Hampshire:
Chamberlain Springs LLC
Pure, clean spring water
166 Old Wolfeboro Road
Alton, NH 03809
“For some kids, coming to school is easy. For others, school is a struggle. We want to have something that can reach them,” says South Meadow School Principal Dick Dunning. For one student at South Meadow Middle School in Peterborough, NH, coming to school was the last thing he wanted to do. But the day he got his own chicken, he said “This is the best day of my life!”
When Dick Dunning first arrived at South Meadow School, he already had a vision for how they could better use the school grounds as an educational space. From the very start he wanted to build a greenhouse on the school’s front lawn. His dream became reality in 2003, and in the following years the program blossomed into so much more.
In addition to the greenhouse, a multitude of other food and agriculture opportunities are now available on the school grounds of South Meadow Middle School. These include: vegetable gardens, a koi fish pond, bee hives, a chicken coop, an industrial composter, and herb gardens. All of these structures and programming are incorporated into not only the curriculum but also into the broader community. School administrators, teachers, and staff are constantly looking for new and different ways to utilize the infrastructure they have created to enhance food and farming both within the school and throughout the community.
From the very beginning, the goal of the food program at South Meadow School was to provide engaging hands-on learning opportunities for students. Dick’s desire to make this happen through food and agriculture came from his own background with 4-H, Boy Scouts, and other school outdoor/natural experiences he had growing up.
To buy the materials to build the greenhouse, the school raised $58,000 through in-kind donations and grant money from foundations and trusts. Dick Dunning and Bruce Dechert, Assistant Principal at the time, assembled the greenhouse themselves—a move that saved the school a total of $26,000.
After the greenhouse came outdoor garden beds, followed by bee hives in 2004, and both an industrial size “Earth Tub” composter and a chicken coop in 2007. Apart from the greenhouse, the “Earth Tub” was one of the greatest expenses thus far ($10,000) and these funds came from a grant through the Walker Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
Up and Running
During the summer months when school is out of session, South Meadow School partners with the Cornucopia Project’s summer camps to help maintain and enhance the school’s outdoor garden beds. The Friendly Farm in Dublin, also partners with the school by providing a summer home for the school’s chickens.
One of the daily tasks that students are a part of at school is to take classroom food waste and scraps out to the “Earth Tub” composter. Food service staff also contribute food waste from the cafeteria to this giant compost system that can hold hundreds of pounds of food material to create compost that is added to the gardens.
Teachers use the onsite facilities for various lessons and class projects throughout the year. Food and agriculture is also intentionally incorporated into classroom curriculum throughout a student’s time at South Meadow School, staring in 5th grade when students complete a biosphere activity.
To raise funds for the school’s new infrastructure, Dick Dunning thinks outside the box and uses the schools existing resources in new ways. One of his most successful fundraising events has been to invite the community to the school’s gymnasium for an evening of roller-skating.
Hurdles to Overcome
While South Meadow School was fortunate enough to have administrative support from the very beginning, there were still a number of challenges that had to be addressed to get the program where it is today. Dick points out that building codes and other legalities must be dealt with before moving forward. Also, while South Meadow was fortunate enough to already have the support of their principal, Dick found that at times there was a lack of vision or initiative among staff.
Planning for the Future
Dick Dunning is still dreaming about ways that the program can expand in the future. Some day, he envisions having an entire farm on-site at the school, with a barn and small animals where students can learn about and more deeply connect with food and agriculture. He also hopes that someday the school will be able to sell the koi they raise to local residents.
Beyond looking at improvements that they can make to the school facilities and programs, Dick is also interested in reaching out and making a deeper connection to the community. He wonders, “What other community needs can [South Meadow School] fill?”
Advice for Others
For other schools that are interested in starting similar food and agriculture programming, Dick Dunning offers the following advice:
Get administrative support before you begin.
Network and partner with local organizations and resources.
Involve students—they are the bottom line!
Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Get commitment from teachers. Identify their needs and help them meet their needs through the program.
Monadnock citizens and local business owners are invited to help grow a grassroots movement in our region: Monadnock Buy Local (MBL).
A MBL Steering Committee is forming and current members are reaching out to towns beyond Keene to make this truly a regional effort. For more information, contact MonadnockBuyLocal@gmail.com.
Monadnock Buy Local’s roots lie with the Keene Buy Local Initiative – a project of the Keene Downtown Group. The Keene Buy Local Initiative launched a 10% Shift Challenge the week of July 1-7, 2009, to coincide with other nationwide celebrations of “Independents Week”. For more information visit http://keenelocal.com.
The Keene Downtown Group is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to insure the vibrancy and vitality of Downtown Keene: http://keenedowntown.com.
Rosaly’s Garden and Farmstand
P. O. Box 210, Peterborough, NH 03458-0210
By Jan Sevene
Local vegetables and fruits are fresh and nutritious. To assure they are grown in a healthy and sustainable environment, we’re often reminded: “get to know the farmer.” Rosaly Bass, master gardener and owner of Rosaly’s Garden and Farmstand, is one farmer you will want to know. In business for over thirty years, her 16-acre Rosaly’s Garden is the oldest and second largest Certified Organic Farm in New Hampshire. And because every vegetable, fruit, herb and flower sold at the farmstand is grown right on the farm, each is guaranteed organic.
“People just love the farmstand. It’s convenient right on Rte. 123. It’s organic food. And, Rosaly puts her heart and soul into it,” says Donna White,” the farm’s bookkeeper, herself a first-year gardener who uses Bass’s book on successful organic gardening as her guide.
Every day from mid-May to Columbus Day, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with numerous locally-made foods and crafts, Rosaly’s Farmstand offers mounds of tasty, farm-fresh, colorful and seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs, plus fresh flowers. These encompass 90% of the farm’s produce. The additional 10% continues to provide for the community, sold to local markets, health food stores, restaurants and schools.
Scissors, baskets, or containers of water are provided for Rosaly’s Garden customers, to harvest the vegetables, herbs, berries or flowers of their choice. The adventure of a scavenger hunt delights children searching for small plaster animals hiding among the culinary and medicinal herbs.
Get to know Rosaly Bass (see NOFA NH Organic Garden & Farm Tour). For more information on the many ways to get farm-fresh food from Rosaly’s Garden and Farmstand, and learn about the informative book and video series on organic gardening by Master Gardener Rosaly Bass, visit http://www.rosalysgarden.com.
Other farm-direct vegetables:
Keene Farmers’ Market
Tuesdays and Saturdays
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Green Wagon Farm
Upper Court St.