Category Archives: Websites

NH Brew Fest 2009

From the BeerAdvocate website: http://beeradvocate.com/events/info/27553

Back on the New Hampshire Seacoast by popular demand, the NH Brew Fest is the premier event in NH for craft brewers from the entire NE region and beyond to showcase their talent. The Master Brewers Association of America New England Chapter will be hosting this event, with proceeds going to Prescott Park Arts Festival and the MBAA’s scholarship fund. This is a beer fest put on by brewers for craft brew lovers.

Redhook Brewery has kindly donated space for approximately thirty breweries to setup outside in a natural grass amphitheater. All breweries will be tented over in case of poor weather. Foliage season should be in full swing by this date.

Here’s the deal:

Date: October 3, 2009
Location: Redhook Brewery. Portsmouth, NH
Time: Two Sessions: 12-3 PM and 5-8 PM Maximum 1500 tix per session.
Breweries: 25-30 New England/North East Breweries
Beers: 90-100 different craft brews
What else: Live Music. Food. Unlimited samples with admission price (3-4 oz samples)

Price: $25.00 in advance/ $35 at door.

Click here for the full list of participating breweries and more details!

NH Eat Local Month is Coming!

eatlocalimage

What great news! After a few years of stellar local stewardship for an “Eat Local” event by Seacoast Eat Local, the state of New Hampshire has embraced the idea of celebrating local agriculture with a statewide Eat Local Month.  The press release below gives details about the month and its theme weeks, so you can begin planning for how you’ll take part. Discover the amazing bounty of our state by celebrating with us! Since the month begins with “Farmers’ Market Week,” August 2-8, why not get started by venturing out to a brand new weekday market in one of the many Seacoast towns that offer one – you’re likely to be delighted by your discoveries!

August is NH Eat Local Month!

August 2-8 is NH Farmers’ Market Week

By

Gail McWilliam Jellie, Director

Division of Agricultural Development

NH Dept. of Agriculture, Markets & Food

Governor John Lynch has proclaimed the month of August 2009 as NH Eat Local Month! Each of the four weeks of the month has a theme: “Visit a Farmers Market”, “Family to the Farm” (visit a farmstand or farm), “Share the Harvest” (providing food for those in need), and “Looking Ahead” (preserving and storing food for the winter). Last year, the first week of August was declared “NH Eat Local Week”, and was marked by local dinners and other events, and more interest is anticipated in this month long celebration of New Hampshire’s farmers and their harvest.

New Hampshire residents and visitors, alike, are showing unprecedented interest in local food, and this month long celebration offers a great opportunity to feature New Hampshire grown foods. Visit www.nheatlocal.org for event and activity information.

As part of the NH Eat Local Month festivities, the week of August 2-8 has been proclaimed as New Hampshire Farmers’ Market Week, by Governor Lynch.  It also coincides with the 10th annual National Farmers’ Market Week, saluting farmers’ markets all across America.

Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets is an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. Farmers markets have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. The number of farmers markets in the United States has been growing steadily, according to US Dept. of Agriculture figures, with over 4,800 farmers markets operating in the United States.

New Hampshire has also seen tremendous growth in farmers markets, with nearly 80 markets operating throughout New Hampshire today. The NH Dept. of Agriculture, Markets & Food and the NH Farmers’ Market Association support the development and operation of farmers’ markets and other direct marketing activities for agricultural producers.  Farmers’ markets offer products such as farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat and dairy products, baked goods, flowers and much more. Learn more about New Hampshire farmers’ markets at the NH Farmers’ Market Association website: http://www.nhfma.org/. Find a list of New Hampshire farmers’ markets at: http://agriculture.nh.gov/publications/documents/farmersmarket.pdf.

Local farmers’ markets will be celebrating Farmers’ Market Week with a variety of events such as demonstrations, food tastings, music, entertainment, and more. A special kick off celebration for both NH Eat Local Month and Farmers’ Market Week will be held on August 1st, 9 am at the Concord Farmers’ Market. NH Commissioner of Agriculture, Lorraine Merrill will welcome Governor John Lynch and First Lady, Dr. Susan Lynch to the market, along with many other guests, farmers and shoppers.

For more information, contact Gail McWilliam Jellie at the NH Dept. of Agriculture, Markets & Food, 25 Capitol St., Concord, NH  03302-2042, Tel. 271-3788, email: gmcwilliam@agr.state.nh.us, website: www.agriculture.nh.gov.

Lisa M. Hamilton at RiverRun Bookstore June 27th

Seacoast Local and RiverRun Bookstore present the next author in their “Making the Connection” speaker series, a series that serves as a catalyst for continuing education, community connections, and sustainable change. Lisa M. Hamilton, author of Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness, will be at RiverRun Bookstore on Saturday, June 27 . Hamilton will take us beyond local food and into the lives of western farmers who are David to the Goliath of corporate agriculture.

The event is co-sponsored by Slow Food Seacoast, and it starts at 6 pm with the debut of their new game “Who Wants to Be a Locavore?” Local food writer Rachel Forrest will host this trivia challenge, there will be prizes galore and as always, refreshments of the local variety will be served.

Lisa M. Hamilton will present her talk at 7 pm. The journalist and photographer spent two years profiling three families in rural America who represent a change in the way we should think about food and agriculture.

As with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Deeply Rooted suggests one of the best ways to address the problems with our nation’s food system is to go straight to the source—the farmers themselves.

Over the past forty years, many American farmers and ranchers have been told to “get big or get out.”  Countless people within agriculture have been replaced with machines, and their farms with corporate agribusinesses. The large-scale industrialization that followed has altered the face of American agriculture with dire environmental and economic consequences, and endangered the health and wellbeing of consumers.

Now, across the country, a courageous group of farmers and ranchers have issued a call to arms to end these unhealthy and unsustainable practices. To them, agriculture is not an industry but a way of life, and humans should be at the heart of it all.  Among these farmers are

•    Harry Lewis: an African-American dairyman in Texas who dreams of addressing Congress one day

•    Virgil Trujillo: a tenth-generation New Mexico rancher who believes agriculture could be the salvation of his impoverished hometown

•    David, Dan and Theresa Podoll: North Dakotan organic farmers whose vision for a more sustainable way of farming is derided by their neighbors

Scorned, ridiculed, and dismissed for their unconventional beliefs and faith in people, Harry Lewis, Virgil Trujillo, and the Podoll family prove to be the real mavericks of our time.  By telling their stories, Hamilton has given a human face to agriculture, and serves up an important lesson about bringing farmers back to the table at a time when we need them more than ever.

Lisa M. Hamilton’s work has been published in National Geographic Traveler, Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, Orion, and Gastronomica. She lives in northern California.

RiverRun Bookstore is located at 20 Congress Street in downtown Portsmouth. The event is free and open to the public.

For more details on the event, call 603-431-2100 or visit www.riverrunbookstore.com. For more information on Seacoast Local, including its “Buy Local” program, call 603-766-1775 or visit www.seacoastlocal.org. The Slow Food Seacoast website is at www.slowfoodseacoast.org.

House Bill to Watch

There’s been some concern about the powers written into HR 875, a bill introduced in the House by Rosa DeLauro. It stated purpose is to “to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes.”

There are many elements of the bill of concern to supporters of Slow Food. And if you subscribe to food-related email lists, you’ve probably been getting emails about it describing its dire effects – there have been rumors that it would outlaw organic farming or backyard gardening, or that it would require new regulations on farmers’ markets or direct sales.

As it turns out, some of those threats are exaggerated or even made up. Food & Water Watch, a well-respected watchdog group, has written an analysis showing that some of the scary statements about the bill are myths.The environmental blog Grist published a good entry on HR 875, as well. And the bill’s odds of passing aren’t great.

However, what’s left in the bill is still nothing to look fondly on. It’s mainly a set of measures meant to react to the problems inherent in an industrialized food system – not create new alternatives to that system. And it’s only one of a few other bills currently making their way through the House approval process (like HR 814, which contains the NAIS animal ID progam).

While many food advocates think the approach in these bills is the wrong one, it might be wise to honor the impulse – concern about food – while letting our representatives know about the potentially negative consequences to the legislation. Food and Water Watch makes a wise recommendation:

There is plenty of evidence that one-size-fits-all regulation only tends to work for one size of agriculture – the largest industrialized operations. That’s why it is important to let members of Congress know how food safety proposals will impact the conservation, organic, and sustainable practices that make diversified, organic, and direct market producers different from agribusiness. And the work doesn’t stop there – if Congress passes any of these bills, the FDA will have to develop rules and regulations to implement the law, a process that we can’t afford to ignore.

But simply shooting down any attempt to fix our broken food safety system is not an approach that works for consumers, who are faced with a food supply that is putting them at risk and regulators who lack the authority to do much about it.

The project we take on in reforming America’s food system is a big and complicated one. As we go forward, we’ll be faced with many opportunities to take positions on legislation and be in contact with our representatives. It’ll be important not only to react – to let Congress know when it’s on the wrong path – but also to work with our Congresspeople to let them know what it is we’re looking for. Yes, the industrialized food system is under-regulated and puts more people in danger than should be the case. But the way to solve that should not be to unfairly burden small farms and organic growers with regulations that threaten to put them out of business – especially when they’re not the source of the problem. We need to help our representatives understand the differences between industrialized and sustainable farming and food production practices. W’re in a collaborative process of citizenship – of educating ourselves and our representatives while we try to craft a new food policy, together.

This hasn’t been the first, and won’t be the last of many pieces of legislation we’ll need to look carefully at in the coming years. Now is a good time to begin to develop our skills in reading and understanding the legislation and seeking sources of analysis that we can trust. It’s also important to be sure we’re responding to facts, not exaggerations or misunderstandings of legislation. But regardless of whether everything is accurately represented to us when we first learn about it, it’s still a great time to open up the conversation with legislators. Once you have the facts, and know your opinion on HR 875 or HR 814, why not send an email or make a phone call to your representative today? Introduce yourself and say hello. We’re going to need to know each other well.

–Michelle Moon
[This is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Slow Food Seacoast, its members, sponsors, or partners.]

Funding School Gardens via the Farm Bill

This alert just in from Kidsgardening.org, a branch of the National Gardening Association:

“Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has included an amendment in the Farm Bill to authorize $10,000,000 to establish a pilot program for community school gardens. The Farm Bill passed the Senate by a vote of 79 to 14 on December 14 with the school garden amendment intact. The Farm Bill is now headed to conference committee where the Senate and House will determine the final version of the bill which goes to the President. Your letters, e-mails, and phone calls to your representatives in the House can help ensure that the school garden amendment is included in the final version of the Farm Bill.”

More information on the actual amendment can be found on the KidsGardening Website.

Representatives can be reached by calling the general Congressional switchboard number: (202) 224-3121.