2019 Statewide Gathering Recap

Author: 
Deneé Woods

If you’ve been paying attention to our website, social media accounts, or blog lately, then you’ll know that the NH Food Alliance & NH Farm to School recently hosted our fourth annual NH Food System Statewide Gathering – and it was fantastic! Hopefully, we saw you there and got to share in all of the laughs, appreciations, and delicious lunch. We were amazed by the excitement of over 130 food system advocates who came out to participate and made this year our largest Gathering yet! For those of you that couldn’t make it, here’s a snapshot of the day:

 

  • The Commissioner of Agriculture Shawn Jasper shared updates from the Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food and made connections with those who came.

  • 13 engaging, educational breakout sessions were led by food system leaders and organizers on topics like land conservation, racial equity, and farm to school networks (you can see all the sessions here).

  • There was a raffle drawing for NH based prizes like a 2-year subscription to NH Magazine (won by Rob Johnson of the NH Farm Bureau); a basket curated by NH Made (won by Hanna Flanders from Kearsarge Food Hub); and an overnight stay at East Hill Farm in Troy, NH (won by Nancy LaRowe of Vital Communities). Congratulations! 

  • Pete & Gerry’s held a “Guessing Jar” contest - the person who guessed the correct number of eggs took home a year’s supply! We are excited that Sylvain Bukasa, an immigrant farmer with the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success, won this prize!

  • Did we mention the amazing food served at breakfast, lunch, and snack time? Local options included Stonyfield yogurt, Landaff Creamery cheese, leafy greens from Lef Farms, and beef and fish from New England farmers and fishermen. 

One particular highlight of this year’s Gathering was our Inspiration Raffle , where we asked each attendee to submit a person or organization they feel is doing inspirational work for the New Hampshire food system. This activity reminded everyone, us included, of how many inspirational groups and individuals we have on our side. We were grateful for everyone’s enthusiastic participation and willingness to lift each other up. Some of the individuals, organizations, and projects that were called out included:

Perhaps most valuable of all, however, are the things that can’t be numbered or put on a list. The Statewide Gathering was a success solely because so many people joined together to learn about food issues in New Hampshire and the work that needs to done moving forward. There is a reason we call it a “gathering.” We know how much our network partners put in every single day to build a better New Hampshire and New England, and we wanted to carve out a space for that work to take place alongside one another. Every farmer, network partner, and foodpreneur’s work is important and deserves the support of other like minded and passionate individuals.

When asked about their thoughts on this year’s Statewide Gathering, one attendee said this:

“Today was really productive. In the first session I found a lot that related to my individual work, and in the afternoon session I found out about other people who are also doing that work and the challenges and successes that they’ve had. It was kind of like fitting what I came here with into the larger picture.”

We hope those who came to the Gathering had a similar experience! Whether it be ordering seeds to plant or organizing a policy action committee, all our work fits into the larger picture of building a better New Hampshire food system.

 For more information about other events supported by the NH Food Alliance, be sure to keep up with our blog or check us out on Facebook and Instagram. If you’d like to get involved with the NH Food Alliance or connect with one of our network partners, send us an email! We’d love to hear from you.  

 


Questions? Thoughts? Suggestions for our next blog post? Please email our Communications Coordinator, Samantha Cave,here.