NOFA-NH Local and Organic Food Project

2008 Annual Report for CNE08-052

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:

NOFA-NH Local and Organic Food Project


The NOFA-NH Local & Organic Food Networks Project was designed to increase the availability of fresh, local and organic foods in NH; increase interaction and understanding between local agricultural producers and consumers; strengthen the vitality of NH communities; and enhance the quality of life for all NH citizens. The two main components of this two-year grant project are “Local & Organic Food Canterbury,” an online community farmers market; and the ”NOFA-NH Local & Organic Food Networks Manual.” The online market is just one step that has been taken to strengthen the local & organic food network in Canterbury, NH, and to provide a variety of markets that fit the needs of each and every community member. The manual will document the various steps taken in Canterbury, as well as plans for future projects, with an eye to guiding and inspiring communities throughout NH who wish to strengthen their own local and organic food networks.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Our specific goals for 2008 were to:

•Complete the online market training program offered by Plymouth Local Foods.

•Set up the Local & Organic Food Canterbury website and market booth, and attract both vendors and shoppers to the program.

•Conduct surveys to guide us in improving the service for 2009.

•Begin work on the Local & Organic Food Networks Manual, which includes an inventory of local and organic food sources in and around Canterbury.

•Conduct surveys to determine what types of markets and /or support services are most needed and wanted by the local community, in order to prioritize future projects.


The NOFA-NH Local & Organic Food Project was initiated to help create a multi-faceted network of farmers, gardeners and consumers that will make local foods part of the everyday fabric of life in Canterbury and other communities throughout NH. We believe we have made significant strides in accomplishing this goal. In 2008, the online market attracted new shoppers to the Canterbury Community Farmers Market, strengthening the vitality of this new but already significant outlet for local and organic products. Work on both the online market and the manual, as well as the surveys that have been conducted, have increased awareness and interaction among the vendors as well as between shoppers and vendors. We are gratified that 2 of our vendors are among those who have formed a committee to study the possibility of establishing an Agricultural Commission for Canterbury.

Through the surveys we have gathered information that will help us to improve the online market in 2009, and will help us prioritize future projects. An unexpected result of the surveys was the November and December online “Winter Markets.” These were added because so many survey responders indicated a desire for year round access to local and organic products. The November market was a success with over $800 in sales, and we are looking forward to another successful market on December 17. These two winter markets were intended as a trial run for a year round market starting in 2009. Vendors are already making plans to provide for this new market opportunity.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Sixteen vendors participated in the online market in 2008, and six or seven others expressed an interest in doing so in the future. Some of these vendors are regular participants in the (physical) farmers market, while others found the online market a convenient way to participate without the necessary volume of product and commitment of time needed for a fully-stocked weekly booth at the market.

Thanks to ongoing advertising and outreach, more than 100 people have now signed up to receive our weekly “Open for Shopping” emails that alert them that the website is live for buying. Of those, 36 have set up accounts and 32 have placed orders. The online market generated $5,081 in sales from May through November, 2008, with one more market planned for mid-December.

Work on the manual has gone slowly, due to the busy farming schedules of many of those enlisted to write the chapters. However, the Local & Organic Food Inventory for 2008 has been completed, and authors have been enlisted to write several of the manual chapters, including those on establishing the farmers market, setting up the online market, conducting organic gardening workshops, and establishing a local agricultural commission. We have also conducted a survey to help us prioritize future projects. It is expected that work on the manual will progress more rapidly in the next few months, while the participating farmers have a bit more time to gather their thoughts.