For the fifth year, Monadnock Buy Local shines a light on local food, farms and our entire Monadnock Region food system during New Hampshire Eat Local Month, a month-long celebration of our state’s harvest.
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.
In honor of reaching the five-year mark, we’re traveling back to 2012 to acknowledge how much our food system has grown and where some of the gaps remain.
Now let’s dig in around what’s new in our Monadnock Region food system this year.
The Cornucopia Project partnered with the Monadnock Conservancy to create a brand new program called “Kids Connect! Farm, Field & Forest” at Four Winds Farm in Peterborough and Tracie’s Community Farm in Fitzwilliam. This five-week summer program connects kids to the land with farming, gardening and cooking. Stay tuned for next year’s program.
For the first time this spring, the Monadnock Food Co-op’s Farm Fund awarded grants to three farms: Manning Hill Farm of Winchester, Flying Cloud Dairy of Alstead and Archway Farm, of Keene.
Manning Hill Farm will install an energy efficient cooler to increase the storage capacity to store their grass-fed milk. Flying Cloud Dairy will install a freeze-free water system that more efficiently gets water to their cows. Archway Farm will build a walk-in freezer to store their pasture-raised pork products. Learn more about the Farm Fund.
Monadnock Menus, a local food delivery service previously managed by the Cheshire County Conservation District, recently merged with the Food Hub managed by Food Connects in Brattleboro, VT. This merger brings two aggregation and distribution food hubs together under one roof to establish a cross-state network of food producers and wholesale buyers -- creating a simpler way to buy local food.
Food Connects, an entrepreneurial nonprofit that also provides educational and consulting services aimed at strengthening the regional food system, will manage the two branches of the food hub while continuing to grow the local reach of each.
Currently, the Food Connects hub aggregates products from over 30 area vendors and delivers orders to 75 buyers, four days a week in its refrigerated truck. These buyers include institutions like the Cheshire Medical Center; local business such as the Monadnock Food Co-op, WS Badger and Summerhill Assisted Living; and school partners like Keene, Conval and the Monadnock School Districts. Discover more.
Cheshire County’s Double Up Veggie Bucks Program expanded and is now part of the Granite State Market Match program. This program, managed by the Cheshire County Conservation District in our region, doubles SNAP/EBT benefits for fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets, CSAs and farm stands, helping low-income households purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting local farmers.
Participating locations now include: The Farmer’s Market of Keene, TEAM Jaffrey’s Farmers’ Market, The Winchester Farmer’s Market on Main, Picadilly Farm CSA in Winchester, Hillside Springs CSA in Westmoreland and the Keene Housing Buying Club. Stay up to date.
Thank you to all the individuals, programs, policies and initiatives that continue to build stronger local and regional food systems 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