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Celebrate NH Eats Local Month this August

  • A cooler of chicken and duck eggs sit at the end of a driveway off Route 137 in Dublin. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/25/2020 4:48:15 PM

The importance of local food has never been more clear than since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

With grocery stores running low – or out – or many products, people flocked to local farms to secure CSA memberships and have frequented local farmer’s markets to find an alternative that has been in their backyard all along.

And NH Eats Local is using the month of August to promote the farmers and producers that allow residents to buy what they eat from people in their community.

“People want to know their farmers, want to have a short food train,” said Jen Risely, co-organizer of NH Eats Local Month.

NH Eats Local Month is a celebration of the strong local food system that keeps communities vibrant, the economy growing, and rural landscapes healthy. According to the NH Eats Local website, “When you buy and eat local food, the benefits ripple throughout the community while helping food producers, fishermen, and small businesses to thrive.”

When Risley got interested in local New Hampshire food as a grad student, the opportunities fell well short of what is available today.

“Whether it’s from a farmers’ market, farm stand or a grocery store, you can find local food all throughout the year,” she said.

And from what she’s heard from local farmers, it seems as though the pandemic has given people a reminder of just that.

“There’s this push to get people more connected to where their food came from,” Risley said.

There are two weekly farmers’ markets in Peterborough, along with others in Jaffrey, New Ipswich, Francestown and Rindge. Using appropriate safety measures, local markets have gone off without a hitch since opening in late spring, early summer.

Risley said she’s started to hear about how people are wanting to know more about the bigger picture of where their food comes from. In other words, “it’s definitely, pun intended, ripe,” Risley said.

In conversations with farmers, Risley heard that CSAs this year – from meat to produce – sold out much earlier than normal. That’s good news for the farmers that have been vying for a piece of the pie when it comes to local buying habits.

The reason why NH Eats Local Month is held in August is because “this is when the bounty is coming in strong,” Risley said. But the goal is to eventually make the promotion of New Hampshire food and farms into a year round endeavor.

“It really is just to get people to connect with these farmers right now,” Risley said.

Typically there would be happenings throughout the month, from farm tours to tastings, but those kinds of events aren’t safe to be held right now. So instead, NH Eats Local is hosting two virtual film screenings to get people thinking about local food/agriculture and continue the conversation.

On Tuesday, Aug. 18, there will be a screening of “2040”, starting at 6:30 p.m. with a Q & A session to follow. This film shows what the future could look like by the year 2040 if individuals embraced the existing solutions to improve the planet like regenerative agriculture, composting, and other sustainability practices. RSVP at moniff.org/events.

On Thursday, Aug. 27, the short film “Locally Rooted”, stating at 6:30 p.m. with a Q & A with the local filmmaker, Greg Pregent, and local farmers to follow. 

Visit https://nheatslocal.com/ for more information, including a bingo game for a chance to win prizes, participating farms and organizations and more.

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