Viability Initiative Action Team updates: June 2017

Author: 
Anonymous

 It's already feels like summer outside, but the Action Teams have diligently working to implement their respective action plans. Look below to see what each of the teams has been up to.  

Education

The Education Action Team has recently focused its efforts on reviewing the processes and strategies outlined in the Vermont Farm to Plate and Rooted in Vermont efforts.  The goal is to better understand which pieces of these studies fit here in New Hampshire, to analyze Vermont’s strategy for developing a local foods marketing effort, and how to best adapt this process to develop a consumer education effort here in New Hampshire.  Recent conversations with those involved in the Vermont work have provided guidance and spurred key questions. Future summer meetings will include conversations with our Vermont counterparts, as well as local, private industry representatives known for their marketing research and savvy approach. UNH Extension MarCom team representatives have attended recent meetings and provided input and guidance related to managing social media aspects of the campaign. The Education Action Team is moving steadily ahead and refining the information needed to construct a complete plan for educating consumers throughout NH about the importance of local agriculture and how they can play an important role.  

Market Development

The Market Development Action Team (MDAT) has been preparing to welcome Renee Smith, a member of the 2017 cohort of UNH Sustainability Fellows, to help get her started and make the most of her short time with us.   With an additional boost from Renee’s work this year, the MDAT has adopted a dual-pronged approach for its work, focusing on the first two approaches in the action plan.  Approach 1 is focused on enhancing the capacity of service providers to provide relevant assistance.  Toward this end, the MDAT has develop a draft matrix to define what services are currently available and from whom, so that gaps or weaknesses can be readily identified.  This matrix has been evolving over the last two months and the Team hopes to create the final working-version in the coming months.

Approach 2 focuses on supporting efforts by food system entrepreneurs in their efforts to aggregate, store and distribute products.  Toward this end, several existing operations throughout the state have been identified and the MDAT is developing a case study format that, when completed, can be used by other entrepreneurs to learn from prior efforts, avoid mistakes, and maximize the return on their collective efforts.  The MDAT is hopeful to complete at least three case studies by the end of September.

Food Access (consumer)

The consumer food access group has been working on two efforts; (1) increasing the number of SNAP participants who utilize the Granite State Market Match nutrition incentives at farmers markets throughout New Hampshire and (2) increasing and supporting programs that teach NH residents how to access and prepare local foods.The NH Nutrition Incentives Network has been working on a marketing and communication plan with a marketing consultant through the NH Public Health Association. NH Food Bank has also been raising money to produce radio, television, and digital ads with WMUR to promote Granite State Market Match (GSMM). The goal for the Food Access Action Team is to leverage the Food Alliance Network to promote and expand the GSMM.

At the last meeting, the team identified other efforts beyond Cooking Matters and UNH Cooperative Extension which are doing food and nutrition education. The team will develop a short survey to send out to the Food Alliance Network and farmers’ market managers to further identify when and where educational programming is occurring.Since GSMM has a formal Network and has already been engaged in this work, the Action Team will add another action to our work plan: to develop a POP-model to understand the extent and potential to expand Fruit and Veggie Rx programs in New Hampshire.   

Food Access (institutional)

After our last conference call, the team identified a few actions to take including developing a template for institutions to input what foods they currently use and for farmers to record what they grow. The template includes NH grown fruits and vegetables, volumes, and frequency-of-use by institutions, as well as price information. Farmers can record the quantities and types of products, in addition to product availability. We hope this template can begin conversations between institutional buyers and farmers. The team has also identified a few case studies that are needed, including food-hub-to-institution. We plan to meet again in July along with the consumer food access group.  

Land Resources

The Land Resources team has been working away, but has no new updates to share. Please click here to review their progress to date.  

Fisheries

The Fisheries team has been working away, but has no new updates to share. Please click here to review their progress to date.