Monday, November 16, 2020

Published in JAFSCD: Framing the fight: Food, history, and meaning in the mess

I was invited by the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development to review Food Fights: How History Matters to Contemporary Food Debates, edited by Charles C. Ludington and Matthew Morse Booker. My review published this month discusses how a historical perspective on food systems reveals "tension and convergence, missed opportunities, best-laid plans, and unintended consequences." 

The takeaway: "By partaking in more nuanced debate framed and informed by history, readers may find themselves less inclined to accept an oversimplified version of our current food reality and instead embrace a more meaningful, messy one."

If you know of an institution, course, or discussion group where this work could contribute, let's connect.  

Gerrior, J. (2020). Framing the fight: Food, history, and meaning in the mess. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development10(1), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2020.101.022



Friday, November 13, 2020

Monadnock Region, New Hampshire, and New England Food System Happenings for November 2020

Friday, November 13: Restaurants and COVID-19 Relief 

Presented by New Hampshire Food Alliance (NHFA)

Online event: Register here.

Subscribe to the NHFA newsletter here.

Monday, November 16: New Hampshire Agriculture Policy Forum

Presented by NH Food Alliance and Monadock Farm & Community Coalition (MFCC)

Online event: Register here.

More about MFCC events here.

Tuesday, November 17: Authentic Communication

Presented by Erin Allgood through Hannah Grimes Center

Online event: Register here.

More about Allgood Strategies here.

Tuesday, November 24: Indigenous Food Sovereignty (Sankofa Series)

Presented by Stephanie Morningstar through Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG)

Online event: Register here.

Get NESAWG updates here.

Saturday, November 21 - Sunday, November 22: Stonewall Farm Fare

Presented by Stonewall Farm. Details here.

More about Stonewall Farm here.



Monday, September 21, 2020

NH Farm to School Conference presentation

I co-presented an online workshop on Outdoor Learning Activities at the NH Farm to School Conference on October 8, 2020. Session information available here.




Wednesday, May 13, 2020

NH Farm to School supports local farms and school children

Sharing from the NH Farm to School newsletter:

The School Nutrition Foundation is holding an online fundraiser to support school nutrition professionals, who are working on the frontlines during continued COVID-19 feeding campaigns.

They will fund purchases of food and packaging for grab and go meals, mobile carts and kiosks for curbside service, supplies, and personal protective equipment so they and the children they feed remain safe. The campaign has already raised over $29,000 and has more room to grow!

Share the Campaign



The Northeast Farm to School Collaborative has recently started the #CommunitiesFeedKids campaign to recognize the importance of keeping kids happy and healthy during this time. New Hampshire communities are responding to COVID-19 with incredible generosity and ingenuity, recognizing the necessity of school meal programs and the connection to healthy and local food.

Remote Learning Opportunities
Schools might be closed and summer fast approaching, but education doesn't stop outside the classroom! Learning at home can be fun and easy for kids and adults. Here are some resources, a few even created by teachers right here in NH!



Gardening Resources
Wondering how you can keep garden education vibrant, even when the school garden is closed? The NH Department of Education has put together an excellent handout with links to other resources for school and community garden educators, as well as ideas for creative lesson ideas (like the seed kits by Androscoggin Valley Farm to School in the photo!) and stories from other organizations and schools. The handout also references an online webinar hosted recently by Cultivating Success with useful public health tips to keep gardeners safe.

You can also visit the School Garden Support Organization, a network built to share resources and conversations from school garden educators in communities across the country. They are hosting a number of COVID-19 related virtual gatherings to answer questions and figure out best practices. The website even has a discussion forum!



UNH Extension Food Maps

Visit the UNH Extension Food Access map which aims to connect NH food pantries and community organizations with those facing food insecurity. There is also a second map for local Farm Products! This map connects NH farmers straight to consumers with up to date information including payment options, potential delivery/pick-up, and more. These maps are both excellent way for people all across the state to find food.

In addition, Extension has partnered with NH Sea Grant to offer a NH Local Seafood Finder. This map shows where to find local seafood around the state to support our state's fishermen and lobstermen, and get the freshest catch.

Please help share these tools, and ask food providers, farmers, and fishers to add themselves to the proper map!




Wednesday, April 29, 2020

NH Food Alliance events and resources


Sharing these from the NH Food Alliance:
  • May 1st Network Cafe, 12:00-1:00pm:  The Food Alliance team will have just a few updates about a "NH Feeding NH" crowdfunding program and the new USDA Food Box program. Afterwards, we'll open it up to you to share what your organization/community is doing and connect with others. RSVP by clicking the linked title.
  • Information for NH Farmers to Accept SNAP: We know that supply chains are disrupted and more people are food insecure - to help with this, the Food Alliance, UNH Extension, and other partners have created a simple flyer detailing how farmers can start to accept SNAP (using EBT cards) for their products. There is information about a program called MarketLink that offers FREE EBT card readers to selected applicants. Also, there will be a useful webinar on May 6th @ 7pm detailing more about the SNAP process for food producers. Please feel free to share the flyer and webinar widely.
  • UNH Extension Maps: You might have already seen the Food Access map that Extension released a couple weeks ago, which connects NH food pantries and community organizations with those facing food insecurity. Extension just added a second map for Farm Products! This map connects NH farmers straight to consumers with up to date information including payment options, potential delivery/pick-up, and more. Please help Extension to share these resources, and ask food providers or farmers to add themselves to the proper map! 
Also, another reminder that if you are on the listserv you are also able to submit your own notices and events - just send an email to "nh.foodsystem@lists.unh.edu" and it will be sent to the 250+ NH food system professionals who've signed up. This listserv is a really great way to share information widely with the network and we'd love to see it get more use! 

For more information: 
Samantha Cave, Communications Coordinator, NH Food Alliance & NH Farm to School
The Sustainability Institute at University of New Hampshire
samantha.cave@unh.edu

Thursday, April 2, 2020

First hugelkultur bed of 2020

I'll be posting more gardening and homesteading pieces in the coming days, since working from home has taken on many layers of meaning. Today I built a hugelkultur bed. 
The top layer here is leaves, grass, and cardboard that I'd already let my chickens play and scratch in before raking up. Underneath is a layer of semi-rotted woody debris. The woody layer lends height and spaces for oxygen, helps with water retention, and provides a mix of soil microorganisms to support the decomposition process.
The shredded leaves, grass, and cardboard mainly provide carbon as they break down. To these I added a thin layer of bedding from the last time we cleaned out the chicken coop. The chicken manure adds nitrogen.

Here the bedding has been spread over the leaf layer. The right mix of carbon and nitrogen will help everything to break down, creating compost right in place where it will be available to the plants. I'll keep adding layers of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials, which is the "lasagna" gardening technique.
The last part I did today was collect finished compost from one of my two bins and spread that over the litter layer. I didn't sift this compost, so it has bits of woody stems left in it. That's OK because I have more layering to do before planting my seedlings and mulching.
The pallets in the background are waiting to be broken down for fencing material for when the ground thaws and we can replace the existing chicken run. They're also what my compost bins are made from.
Recommended resources: 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Resources for educators, researchers, and writers in the age of COVID-19

I know none of us is alone in finding work that's challenging in "normal" times becomes next to impossible in strenuous circumstances. While I'm admittedly thankful not to be commuting 12+ hours/week, that time savings has been offset by the conversion of class plans to the online learning environment, managing around a household whose social supports and routines have been disrupted, and preparing our homestead for growing more food. Perhaps the biggest impediment has been the impact of stress on our collective ability to focus. I'm concerned for folks who are vulnerable - financially, mentally, and physically.

Yet, I've also been taking the opportunities afforded by the situation to reflect, take stock of what's important and what's at risk, practice gratitude for what's been taken for granted, and develop new structures and routines. I am adapting my approaches to teaching and community work. For example, I've changed a two-week challenge to eat more ethically (as defined by students) to a one-week practice of observation and reflection about the ethical implications of a global crisis for personal food security. I'm also finding a whole new level of gratitude and purpose in my work with Community Garden Connections and related efforts in New England.

Here are some resources I recommend for educators, researchers, and writers in the current working and living environment, and perhaps to keep in practice as we move forward:




What other resources are you drawing from? Let's connect.