Growing a thriving local food system in the Granite State, a statewide gathering

On May 11, 2023 I attended New Hampshire Food Alliance’s (NHFA) 2023 Statewide Gathering in Plymouth, New Hampshire. The NHFA describes the Gathering as an opportunity that brings together individuals and organizations from across sectors who are “dedicated to growing a thriving and fair local food system that works for all in the Granite State: people, businesses, communities, and the environment.” 

The weather was perfect for the event, with clear skies, a cool morning, and a warm afternoon full of sunshine. I had the opportunity to meet and chat with so many people doing great work in the NH food system, and I attended two interesting breakout sessions, described below.

New to New Hampshire: An Introduction to Emerging Initiatives

In this session I learned about three newer initiatives in the state of New Hampshire: the Kearsarge Food Hub, the NH Center for Justice and Equity, and the North Country Food and Agriculture Council. 

From Hanna at the Kearsarge Food Hub I learned about their mission to “reinvigorate [their] community within a restorative local food system by cultivating food sovereignty, growing engaged learners, and nurturing community.” They do so much to support their region, from running a farm and farm store, to providing food hub services, to educating youth and the public, and more. They recently released a new (free!) resource, The Victory Garden Toolkit to help people start more gardens at home and in the community.

Anthony Poore and Josephine Porter from the NH Center for Justice and Equity shared so much about their vision for a New Hampshire that “offers fair opportunities for all Granite Staters, regardless of your age, gender, who you love, where you grew up, or the language of origin you speak.” Their session included information about the Center’s Program Pillars, which include: community building & organizing, public policy, institutional capacity building, and operating supports & intentional investments. The NH Center for Justice and Equity in Manchester is doing great work to advance equity and racial justice in the state of New Hampshire.

Tim Wennrich from the North Country Food and Agriculture Council shared their mission to “support agriculture and food system resiliency in the North Country of New Hampshire” and their history as part of the North Country Council. The Agriculture Council is newly formed as of 2022 and advances “local food production, access to land for the new generation of farmers, and education for new farmers, home gardeners and homesteaders, and the general public on the importance of supporting local food.”

New Frontiers in Farmland Conservation: Why Saving Land is Not Enough

In this panel, we heard from three folks well-known to Land For Good, Jeremy Lougee (Southeast Land Trust of NH), Amanda Littleton (Cheshire County Conservation District), and Jimi Tutor (Clyde Farm). They shared strategies to ensure New Hampshire farms remain viable, accessible to all, and productive. These strategies include the Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value (OPAV), successional transfers, and farm viability assistance from the NH Farm Future Fund. Land For Good would be happy to discuss any of these tools with you if they are of interest.

I had such a wonderful time at this gathering, learned a lot, met new people and reconnected with old friends, and was served some truly delicious food.

Land For Good collaborates with the New Hampshire Food Alliance by sharing knowledge and resources, maintaining close relationships of co-referral with various Alliance members, showing up to meetings and gatherings, and lending support to collaborative brainstorming and planning for a more resilient New Hampshire Food System. Thank you to NH Food Alliance for inviting us, and to all our colleagues in the land access space for your continued friendship and support. I look forward to the next gathering!

PO Box 625
Keene, New Hampshire 03431
Phone: 603-357-1600