NOFA-NH Local and Organic Food Project

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2008: $9,945.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Northeast
State: New Hampshire
Project Leader:

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: potatoes
  • Fruits: melons, apples, berries (blueberries), berries (brambles), peaches, berries (strawberries)
  • Vegetables: asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), leeks, onions, parsnips, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips, brussel sprouts
  • Additional Plants: herbs, ornamentals
  • Animals: bees, bovine, poultry, swine
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Education and Training: demonstration, networking, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: marketing management, market study
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Sustainable Communities: community planning, infrastructure analysis, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, public participation, social networks

    Proposal abstract:

    New Hampshire’s small farmers continue their struggle to compete against mass-produced and mass-marketed agricultural products that are shipped into NH from other regions and even from around the world. Organic producers, who once enjoyed a relatively exclusive local market, must now fight against the lure of one-stop shopping as grocery stores large and small increase their organic offerings to keep pace with growing demand. Every consumer faces daily choices of how and where to spend their time and money. We see by the growing popularity of farmers markets that many NH consumers will make an effort to buy local products if given the opportunity. However, while farmers markets can be an important part of every local food network, they do not meet the needs of every producer or every consumer. There are many other possible components including: Community Supported Agriculture, farm stands, cooperatives and natural food stores, restaurants, community gardens and greenhouses, home gardens, and on-line ordering systems from various markets or individuals. The list goes on and it will be up to each community to decide what combination is ideal for them, what they already have, and what is still needed. With a common vision and persistent work, a thriving local foods network is within the reach of every NH community. While NOFA-NH supports the efforts of all small NH growers, it is our mission to promote the use of organic methods and materials to create a healthier NH for everyone. We know that many NH consumers will choose organic products when given a clear choice, and that those choices create an important incentive for farmers to convert to organic practices. Lately there has been a growing perception (fueled by the media) that “local trumps organic” or even that all local food is grown organically – or at least close enough. Fresh, local and organic products are the best choice for many reasons, and those products need to be readily available and easily accessible. Every community needs a strong network of local producers and a variety of markets that fit the needs of each and every community member. Those markets should support all local growers, but should also provide consumers the information they need to make enlightened choices based on growing methods. While many farmers choose to grow their products organically based on their personal ideology, consumer preference remains a powerful incentive for others to choose more ecologically sound methods.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    NOFA-NH’s Local & Organic Food Project is an ongoing program that seeks to strengthen local and organic food networks throughout NH. There should be as many types of markets for local foods as our imaginations can create, and no one should have to search too far or work too hard to connect with the growers in their area. In 2008/2009, to further these goals, NOFA-NH will establish the Canterbury On-line Farmers Market and create the NOFA-NH Local & Organic Food Networks manual.

    The Canterbury On-line Farmers Market will offer consumers an opportunity to shop and prepay for local products at a time and place that is convenient for them. On market day they will then only have to make a quick stop to pick up their pre-packaged order, or ask a friend to collect it for them. Even last-minute shoppers are then assured of receiving everything they wanted. Vendors can expect increased sales as prepaid orders will be picked up regardless of the day’s weather or competing events. We feel that spearheading this project is the next best step for NOFA-NH as we pursue our goal of helping to create a multi-faceted network of farmers, gardeners and consumers that will make local foods part of the everyday fabric of life in Canterbury. Such a network will enhance the physical, cultural and spiritual well-being of the entire community for many years to come.

    The NOFA-NH Local & Organic Food Networks manual is a key component of our overall Local & Organic Food Project. By documenting the intensive work we are doing in the community of Canterbury, NH, we will provide inspiration, encouragement and guidance to communities throughout the state as they work to enhance their own local and organic food networks. The manual will inventory the existing components of Canterbury’s local food network; document what has already been accomplished; identify and prioritize missing components; and create a plan for future work. We will work with different authors for each chapter of the manual in order to assure subject matter expertise. A key component of each chapter will be a resource list that others may use to adapt the documented project to their own needs. While we will create the basic manual in 2008/2009, we see this manual as a document that can be updated and added to over many years, as new ideas are generated and new projects completed. We also see the manual as a flexible document that can be both printed and published to our website in part or as a whole; and that will be used in many ways by both the Canterbury community and other communities throughout NH. The inventory of existing markets will be invaluable as we continue to strengthen the ties between Canterbury producers and consumers; and will serve as a guide for other communities to emulate. The various chapters of the manual will provide inspiration and guidance in implementing specific projects while the manual as a whole will provide inspiration as to what a thriving local foods network could encompass.

    NOFA-NH will use both the Canterbury On-line Farmers Market and the NOFA-NH Local & Organic Food Networks manual to further our mission of promoting organic methods and materials. Each project will provide opportunities to educate both consumers and producers as to the benefits of organic production; will give producers an opportunity to inform customers about their growing methods; and will allow and encourage consumers to make informed choices. By increasing both supply and demand of fresh, local and organic products we will help to strengthen local economies and improve the health of citizens and the environment, now and for years to come.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.