Topic of the Month:
Bringing the Voices of Local Farms &
Local Food to the Table
How can we make sure local farmers are represented in the laws and plans created by our local governments? How can we create better policies that will increase everyone's access to healthy local food?
This month's localvore e-newsletter focuses on two types of citizen groups that form to tackle such questions:
Agricultural Commissions & Food Policy Councils
NH Grown Grazing Feast Featured Event:
NH Ag in the Classroom FundraiserFriday, November 19, 6 - 10pm
Zorvino Vineyards, Sandown
Join NH Ag In The Classroom for an evening of live music, NH Wine and Cheese tasting, a full course meal of locally grown, deliciously prepared harvest foods, and a silent auction, to raise funds for our programs. You will "rove" throughout the vineyards beautiful dining facility, eating locally grown, NH foods of the season prepared in a not so traditional way at each spot. You'll get a chance to meet the farmer who has grown or produced your evenings' food.
The evening's menu:
- Local Marinated Cod with Wild Flower Honey
- Pumpkin Soup
- Native Garden Salad with Zinfandel Vinaigrette
- Marinated Roasted Turkey with Pan Dripping Sauce
- Vegetarian choice: Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
- Smoked Cheddar and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Assorted Dinner Rolls
- Local Apple Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream
|Topic of the Month:
By Jan Sevene, Monadnock Localvore Project
What is an Agricultural Commission (AGCOM)?
New Hampshire communities are able to establish agricultural commissions "... for the proper recognition, promotion, enhancement, encouragement, use, management, and protection of agriculture and agricultural resources, tangible or intangible, that are valued for their economic, aesthetic, cultural, historic, or community significance within their natural, built, or cultural contexts."
AGCOM's can be called upon to assist with farm-related problems or contribute to planning boards who are developing master plans. They can also work to educate the public about farming and farm interests in a community.
Who is involved?
Tracie Smith, operator of Tracie's Community Farm LLC and member of Fitzwilliam's AGCOM, says, "It will give agriculture a chance to explain to the town its needs when making important decisions, as well as give the faces of agriculture more recognition. Keeping agricultural needs in mind when the town makes decisions... means keeping food in our communities as well the open spaces that come with it."
Another Fitzwilliam AGCOM member, Brian Doerpholz adds, "I have found most people receptive (to an agricultural commission)... It gives Ag a voice at the local level." Doerpholz encourages people to join the NHAGCOMM website, review Lorraine Merrill's publication on Agricultural Commissions and utilize resources at the Cheshire County Conservation District.
Who can get one started?
Any individual resident or group can start an AGCOM by first initiating a warrant article, which once voted in, enables the local legislative body to establish an agricultural commission. Over a dozens New Hampshire communities have already established AGCOMs, and another dozen are in the process of doing so.
Support your local agriculture. Find out where your community stands.
Agricultural Commission Resources:
Creating an Agricultural Commission in Your Hometown
By Lorraine Stuart Merrill
Cheshire County Conservation District
Amanda Costello, District Manager
11 Industrial Parkway
Walpole, NH 03608
603-756-2988 ext. 116
Juli Brussell, Program Leader, Agricultural Resources
UNH Cooperative Extension
59 College Road, Taylor Hall
Durham, NH, 03824-3587
New Hampshire Coalition for Sustaining Agriculture
Nada Haddad, Extension Educator, Agricultural Resources
UNH Cooperative Extension, Rockingham County
113 North Road, Brentwood, NH 03833
|Product of the Month:
Days Natural Family Farm Meat
From their Website: We are a small, family run farm in southwest New Hampshire. There is my wife of more than 25 years - Tammy, our 20 year old son - Tyler, and our 15 year old son - Charlie, and of course myself, - Mark. All of our animals are raised in a loving, compassionate manner. We treat all of our animals the same, no matter for what purpose they are being raised.
Recipe of the Month:
Spicy Butternut Soup
With Goat Cheese Toasts
By Katrina Hall at http://shesinthekitchen.blogspot.com
Happy November! The last glorious shower of bright autumn leaves seems to be over, and the walk I took yesterday with my daughter and granddaughter into the woods had us grabbing our fleece jackets and winter hats. Winter is on the way.
I made this spicy butternut soup again - the one with the Indian spice mix called bhindi masala. If you don't have that particular mix, you can approximate it with this mix:
2 t. cumin
1 t. ground coriander
1/8 t. ground cayenne
1 t. tumeric
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. curry powder
To make about two big bowls of soup:
2 T. olive oil
1 stick of celery, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups peeled butternut squash, seeded and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 cup peeled sweet potato, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1 t. cumin ( in addition to the bhindi masala)
1/2 t. thyme
1 or 2 t. bhindi masala spice mix
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock (you may need more depending on the moisture content of the squash and potato - it also thickens after pureeing)
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and the bhindi masala spices, the thyme and cumin. Stir. Add the celery, butternut, and sweet potato and stir. Lower heat to medium. Add the vegetable stock and cook until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, or a regular blender, puree the soup. Taste carefully and add salt and pepper and more spice as wished.
Serve with croutons that have been sauteed in a little olive oil until browned.
Now, you're wondering about those goat cheese toasts, aren't you?
New Local Product: Stonewall Farm Cheese is made from their our own organic milk. It is $7.50 and available for purchase at Stonewall Farm's farmstand and dairy barn: http://www.stonewallfarm.org.
*The Hannah Grimes Center is posting these classifieds as a service to readers and does not imply endorsement. Add your own classified ad: Send a 20-30 word description of your service or product that is directly supporting entrepreneurs to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to include the best way to contact you.
It Takes a Region:
A Conference to Build Our
New England Food System
New England Sustainable Ag Working Group
Friday - Saturday, November 12-13
(Pre-event trainings, Thursday, November 11)
Desmond Hotel and Conference Center, Albany, NY
There will be updates from work groups established at last year's conference, including alternative supply chain networks, research and food system assessments, infrastructure initiatives, and policy advocacy: http://www.ittakesaregion.org.
2010 New England Farm Relief Concert
With John Sebastian
Saturday, November 13, 7:30-10pm
Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro, VT
Proceeds will go to the Microloan Fund for Farmers. Special Guest: Meg Hutchinson. Tickets are $45, $35, and $25 and available at: Brattleboro Concert Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com or 802-254-2407
10th Annual Thanksgiving Farm Fare
Friday (5-8pm) and Saturday(9-3), November 19 & 20
Stonewall Farm, Keene
Come to Stonewall Farm's 10th Annual Thanksgiving Farm Fare, and shop locally and find everything you'll need to create a wonderful Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy farm-fresh products from over 20 vendors including organic meats, vegetables, organic breads, jams, jellies, coffee, cheeses, herbs, honey and so much more! Decorate your Thanksgiving table and get a jump-start on the holidays with work from local artisans such as centerpieces, pottery, soap, wool and other fiber items, woodenware, wreaths and more: http://www.stonewallfarm.org.
New this year! Stonewall Farm will be offering child care during the Friday night hours of the fare. Parents will be able to drop off their children for as many hours as they would like, during the fare from 5 pm to 8 pm. Cost is $10 per hour per child.
Keene Winter Farmers Market
Begins November 20, Noon - 4pm
Stonewall Farm, Keene
Local, fresh produce doesn't have to stop just because the warm summer days are over. Come to the Keene Winter Farmer's Market held at Stonewall Farm once a month from 12 - 4 pm. The kick off weekend is also the same day as Stonewall Farm's Thanksgiving Farm Fare. For more information please call Amanda at 603-357-7278 ext. 111.
Market Dates: Saturday's ONLY, from 12 - 4 pm
- November 20, 2010
- December 18, 2010
- January 22, 2011
- February 19, 2011
- March 12, 2011
- April 16, 2011
News & Resources:
Agricultural Commissions &
Food Policy Councils
What is a Food Policy Council?
Posted on North American Food Policy Council Website
Food Policy Councils (FPCs) bring together stakeholders from diverse food-related sectors to examine how the food system is operating and to develop recommendations on how to improve it. FPCs may take many forms, but are typically either commissioned by state or local government, or predominately a grassroots effort. While FPC's are not a new concept, their structures, practices, and policies are still evolving. Although the first Food Policy Council started 30 years ago in the city of Knoxville, only in the last decade have Food Policy Councils really gained momentum, and today there are over 100 councils nationwide.
Sample of Food Policy Councils in
How are AgComs & FPCs similar?
Both groups work to educate government officials and the public and coordinate between existing programs. Their projects range from creating farm maps to starting farmers markets.
How are they different?
AgComs and FPCs tend to look at food systems through slightly different lenses, with the former focusing on farmers & agricultural land and the latter on increasing access to healthy food & decreasing hunger. For example, AgComs will work to provide direct services to farmers, where FPCs will take on projects to better transit routes and create community gardens in underserved areas - but both have the vision of creating healthier local food systems.
What's your interest?
Have you participated in either?
Are you interested in bringing the work of AgComms and FPCs to our region? How can we build upon the work that is already happening to strengthen our local and regional food system? Share your interests and experiences via email or on Facebook.