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 "" 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

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.
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