Saturday, July 21, 2018

Community gardening for food security, climate & social resilience in the Monadnock Region

Along with Westmoreland Garden Project Manager and Community Garden Connections (CGC) Co-Coordinator, Rachel Brice, I was interviewed by Craig Dallas Rice on Cheshire TV. Accompanied by The Community Kitchen's Gleaning Coordinator, Sarah Harpster, we had a great dialogue about how local community gardening efforts are addressing the needs of people across our food system for nourishment, wellness, and connection - social and ecological.

See the video to learn:
What we are currently doing;
How our involvement feeds a larger vision for the local food system;
What we mean by "food security" and a snapshot of food security in the Monadnock Region;
Why access to fresh, locally-grown food matters and how Market Match and other programs help
The most exciting and most challenging aspects of this work.

I'm really proud of our work together and grateful to be engaged in these efforts with such talented and dedicated folks.

For more info about our local food system and how to get involved:
Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition (Check out the Farm Tour on August 25, 2018)
Greater Monadnock Public Health Network
Monadnock Understands Childhood Hunger

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Planting the Seeds for Workplace Gardening

I'm proud to be working with C&S Wholesale Grocers and Antioch University New England on a workshop for local business and nonprofit leaders: "Planting the Seeds for Workplace Gardening." The morning workshop will focus on how employees can enjoy the benefits of workplace gardening and share the bounty of gardens with our communities. It will be facilitated by Garden Educator Madi Walter. Participants will receive a resource packet, chances to network, and learn from the C&S Workplace Organic Gardens model. The workshop is Tuesday, July 24 at 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. at C&S's corporate offices on Optical Ave in Keene, New Hampshire . For questions: More info:

Friday, July 6, 2018

"Dig, Eat, Grow: Learning to Cultivate Connections through Community Gardening" at NAAEE 2018 Conference in Spokane, WA

I'm excited to announce I'll be co-presenting with my colleague, Rachel Brice, at the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) 2018 Conference in Spokane, Washington. Our poster presentation, based on our work with the C&S Workplace Organic Gardens Project and Community Garden Connections' Westmoreland Garden Project, is titled, "Dig, Eat, Grow: Learning to Cultivate Connections through Community Gardening."

Connecting people with nature and meeting local food security needs are often thought of as separate challenges, but community gardening can meet both at once. The key is healthy relationships that support the capacity to create and maintain community gardens. Participants will deepen their understanding of how to build and use their own networks to support efforts that strengthen connections between people and nature.

Our projects both work with diverse and underserved populations. We have developed several educational community garden models that each incorporate practices of environmental education and stewardship. Grounded in research on the positive impacts of community gardening, and assessment of community needs, our inclusive programs have had measurable and meaningful positive impacts in our community.

Our presentation will provide participants with research and tools that have informed our programs. While every community is unique, our field-tested practices offer wisdom for any environmental educator with an interest in how garden-based efforts can address both climate resilience and local food security while connecting people with nature and one another.

Will you be at the conference? Want to learn more or support our work? Let's connect.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Regenerative agrihoods and productive landscapes

I'm currently following a story (recently covered by NHPR) about a proposal and neighbors' reactions around small-scale cattle grazing as a practice of restorative agriculture. There's a piece of land in Peterborough, NH, down the road from me, that was conserved some time ago and has since declined in quality due to inactive management. Stan Fry has proposed introducing a small herd of Belted Galloways, which would actively improve soil quality, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration, as well as keep and enhance the cultural and aesthetic landscape that has always been so important to the people of the town. To me, Stan's proposal seems well-based in sound science and experience, and I am hopeful that residents will take the time to become informed about restorative agriculture, contemplate the potential benefits, and make reasonable efforts to move in that direction.

I'm especially interested in the possibilities for a regenerative agrihood, which is something I've been dreaming about for years - at least since my Master's experience, when I developed projects around intentional community, citizen participation, and farm- and garden-based education. Being involved in various capacities with local food systems over the years (community and workplace gardening, local food coalition leadership, service learning, participatory research) has deepened my appreciation for the complexity involved in decisions around land and local food systems. Socially and ecologically, there are so many factors to think about, as the debate in the Peterborough community demonstrates.

For most folks, agrihoods and regenerative agriculture are novel concepts. So, here are a few resources I suggest for moving the conversation forward:

Agrihoods: Development-Supported Agriculture
National Center for Appropriate Technology, 2016

Growing Local: A Community Guide to Planning for Agriculture and Food Systems
Julia Freedgood & Jessica Fydenkevez
American Farmland Trust & Growing Connections

Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers
Mark Shepard, 2018

How Agrihood Communities Are Taking The Farm-To-Table Trend To A Whole New Level
Cammy Pedroja, Healthyway, 2018

Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life
David Montgomery, 2017

Letters to a Young Farmer
Eliot Coleman, 2017

The Resilient Farm and Homestead
Ben Falk, 2013

Videos and webinars on grazing management by Sarah Flack

If you're local, what are your thoughts on the proposal? If you have experience with agrihoods or similar developments elsewhere, what questions or possibilities would you suggest for folks in Peterborough to consider? Connect with me.