For the eleventh year, let’s shine a light on local food, farms, and our Monadnock Region food system during New Hampshire Eats Local Month, a month-long celebration of our state’s harvest in August.
What do we mean by a food system? Our food system includes all the pieces needed to bring local food from the farm to our plates: the soil, farm workers, transportation networks, markets, and more -- everything needed to grow, harvest, and distribute these goods to us. These pieces come together to form our local food system.
Please dig in and enjoy part one of this year’s bounty of updates!
Walden Mutual Bank, based in Concord, is a new online bank rooted in the regional food system. Individuals and businesses can open an account and the bank lends this money to local food and farm businesses throughout New England. Locally, Walden Mutual helped Oliver Levick purchase Monadnock Berries in Troy from his parents.
“The mutual part of our name means we are cooperative, which means we are owned by our community of account holders and allows us to build a bank for the next 100 years,” said Chloe Wingerter, Walden Mutual Business Development Officer. “We offer customizable loans across the entire value chain, which includes everything from production farms, distributors, processors, co-packers, and consumer trade brands, to even ag-adjacent businesses such as solar energy.”
This August, Round It Up (round up your purchases to donate your change) at Monadnock Food Co-op’s registers to benefit Food Connects, a food hub based in Brattleboro, VT. New this year: The Co-op will pilot an additional way to Round It Up in August, virtually through The Local Crowd Monadnock.
Round It Up
Funds raised will support the Food Connects Farm to School initiative in the Monadnock Region. Their program offers professional development and local food purchasing support to school professionals, grant support for schools, and printed materials, including Harvest of the Month calendars, posters, cookbooks, and other signage to bolster and promote Farm to School initiatives. In partnership with The Monadnock Regional School District and the Cornucopia Project, Food Connects will help the Monadnock Farm to School network thrive and create a new generation of mindful eaters.
“The Co-op’s Round It Up program has proven to be a powerful tool in rallying community support and making a tangible difference in the lives of children in our region,” said Richard Berkfield, Executive Director and Founder of Food Connects. “The support from the Monadnock Food Coop not only helps us foster a healthier and more sustainable food system but also enables us to educate and inspire the next generation about the importance of local agriculture and healthy eating.”
Attend the fifth annual Monadnock Farm Tour and After Party on Saturday, August 19, from 12 – 8 pm. Participating Monadnock farms will open their barns, pastures, hoop houses, flower gardens, and production facilities. The event highlights how farms contribute to our local economy, their role in preserving open space, and how they contribute to our quality of life. The tour runs from 12 – 5 pm and costs $10 per car. The After Party happens at Outlaw Brewing in Winchester from 5 – 8 pm. This free, kid-friendly event offers delicious food from the Outlaw Food Truck, outstanding brews, and live music. A 50/50 raffle will take place to benefit Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition (MFCC) to keep our local food system robust.
“After a wonderful afternoon of shopping at local farms, visiting the animals, walking the vegetable or flower fields, or learning a bit more about a bee farm, we’re very excited to offer folks a nice, family-friendly evening where you can sit back and eat great food, listen to great music, and imbibe delicious, on-tap brews at Outlaw Brewing,” shared Roe-Ann Tasoulas, MFCC Executive Director. “We are so lucky to be surrounded by such a wide variety of farm experiences, products, and farmers. We hope everyone can get out for a memorable afternoon and evening!"
Join the Monadnock Farm to School Network for a Farm to School Day Camp for Teachers at the Cornucopia Project Educational Farm in Peterborough on Monday, August 21, from 10 am – 3 pm. This free camp will provide teachers classroom-ready curriculum through demonstrations, a farm tour, group activities, and games -- just like a real camp. The event includes a delicious lunch and a chance to win a raised garden bed or compost bin. Professional development credits are available. The Monadnock Farm To School Network members include Cornucopia Project, Stonewall Farm, and Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition.
Stay tuned for part two of this article in August, including local food and farm updates from Acworth Village Store, Cheshire County Conservation District, Cornucopia Project, and more!
Thank you to all the individuals, programs, policies, and initiatives that continue to build a more robust local and regional food system in our corner of the state and throughout New England. Together, we’re cultivating healthier citizens, communities, and economies.
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431