NH Food Alliance Second-Annual Statewide Gathering

Ben Hill

The Second-Annual Statewide Gathering was held on November 15th at the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa in Whitefield. The gathering drew close to 100 people, representing various sectors of New Hampshire's food system, including agriculture and fisheries industries. Some of the organizations and businesses present at this year's event included

  • technical service providers (Cooperative Extension, Farm Credit East, NH Community Loan Fund),
  • philanthropic organizations (NH Charitable Foundation, Tillotson Foundation),
  • state and federal governmental organizations (Dept. of Agriculture, USDA, NASS),
  • private food and fish businesses (North Country Farmers Coop, NH Community Seafood),
  • farmers and fisherfolk (Meadowstone Farm, NE Fishmongers),
  • non-profit organizations (Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, Land for Good), and
  • hospitals and public health industry (HEAL NH, Concord Hospital).

The gathering built on the effort of the Viability Working Group, who over the past eight months have worked to prioritize goals, approaches, and actions from the Viability Initiative. The resulting set of five action priorities include implementation strategies to guide the work of five Action Teams: Food Access, Market Development, Education, Land Resources, and Fisheries. Participants at this year's gathering were able to dive deeper into the Action Team priorities through breakout sessions that were facilitated by the Viability Working Group members.

Many people helped to make this event a great success. The Mountain View Grand Resort served as a truly spectacular venue for the gathering; great weather prevailed and allowed for awe inspiring views of the surrounding mountains. Lunch was magnificently prepared by the Mountain View Grand's culinary team, and incorporated local ingredients procured through North Country Farmer's Coop. Special thanks to Rebecca Brown, who opened the event with welcoming remarks that set the tone for the day; Commissioner Merrill, who gave an inspiring keynote address; and Beth Tener, of New Directions Collaborative, who facilitated the event with the help of the statewide gathering design team (Olivia Saunders, Jeremy Delisle, Becca Story, Lauren Kaskey, Charlene Andersen, Andrea Cadwell).  We cannot thank everyone enough for making this event a success!

While the statewide gathering is over, the network will still be working to advance our farm, fish, and food enterprise viability goals. Stay tuned for details about upcoming events and consider joining one of the Action Teams!