- Crop Production: food product quality/safety
- Education and Training: decision support system, farmer to farmer, networking, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, cooperatives, farm-to-institution, value added
- Sustainable Communities: community planning, infrastructure analysis, local and regional food systems, partnerships, public participation, community services, social networks
The Capital Area Community Food and Farm Connection has identified the availability of local foods in the winter as one of the biggest barriers to eating local. Local citizens and businesses would like to incorporate local foods into their winter menus, but they are not available on a large scale in the Capital Area of New Hampshire. Why is this? Currently, farmers do not have accessibility to storage and processing facilities or do not know where current facilities can be found and/ or accessed. The Merrimack County Conservation District, through its CAFFC program, proposes to reduce barriers to local foods in the winter by accomplishing the following tasks: 1. inventory existing facilities that can be used for storage and processing; 2. interviewing and surveying at least 50 Capital area farmers to access their exact needs; 3. creating work groups, forums, and publications to promote the use of existing opportunities; 4. creating a realistic Next Steps plan to improve local foods availability in the winter.
Project objectives from proposal:
Our timeline and methods are:
•Meet with collaborators and develop survey for farmers and facility owners
•Develop a data base of Merrimack County farmers, mail written surveys
•Begin data base of potential facility providers (schools, camps, non-profits, businesses, churches, farms, etc.)
•Meet with selected farmers to conduct personal interviews
•Continue to work on list of farmers and facilities
•Begin tours of possible facilities to gather specific data, meet with facility owners
•Hold workshops for additional facility owners to encourage collaboration with farmers
•Gather additional data
•Begin to assemble data from surveys
•Begin constructing a map and matrix of farms and facilities
•Assist facility owners in setting prices and policies that work for them and farmers
November 2010-January 2011
•Sponsor workshops for consumers to use commercial kitchens for canning and preserving surplus produce purchased from farmers
•Hold public food forum to educate public about availability of food in upcoming “off season”
•Hold mixers for farmers and facility owners – play the Match-Maker game to connect needs and resources (ideally this would be done sooner in the time line, but likely will be held after harvest season to accommodate farmers)
•Finalize map and matrix of farms and facilities
•Write and distribute report (to contributors and others)
•Promote late season food sources for public and commercial consumers
•Publish findings on website
•Develop next steps
•Seek additional funding to implement next steps (winter farmers markets, CSAs, marketing to consumers)
•Promote available facilities to farmers for planning for 2011-12.
•Write report to SARE
•Continue to promote network of facilities to farmers to encourage increase in production of crops that can benefit from storage and processing.
•Update and maintain list of facilities and farms – continue into the future.