Archive for April, 2008

Renewing America’s Food Traditions

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

For those of you interested in heirloom varieties and regional food traditions, there’s an interesting article at the NY Times today and a comment board to go with it.  Slow Food has a project called the Ark of Taste. The idea is that if you create a market for an endangered variety of fruit, vegetable, animal, cheese, etc, etc, then the market will convince people to grow or produce more it, thus saving it from extinction.  This work is also done by a group called Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT).  There is a new book out on the subject by Gary Paul Nabhan.  Of course I haven’t read it yet, but you can go to the Times to read about it.  Here’s the link.

Sorry I don’t have more interesting things to add, but I was so excited that I just rushed to put this up so you all would go read the article and post to the comment board.

food growing

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

I took these pictures about a month ago in the greenhouse where the farmers of Willow Pond Community Farm and Meadow’s Mirth start their seedlings and early crops.





in the news: Farmers’ markets return for the season across the Seacoast

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

from the Portsmouth Herald >

Farmers’ markets return for the season across the Seacoast

PORTSMOUTH — The weekly farmers’ market in Portsmouth opens Saturday, May 3, bringing Seacoast residents and visitors another season of shopping just a short, gas-saving walk or bike ride from downtown. Fifteen new, independent businesses have joined Seacoast Growers’ Association in its 32nd year — a growth of 36 percent from 2007 — so the selection will be better than ever.

Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the City Hall lot on Junkins Avenue, fresh and local produce, flowers and garden plants, meats and cheeses, breads and pastries, fine crafts and more are available. Stock up on groceries, enjoy a live musical performance, and buy a gift for your mom … all in one stop!

Opening Ceremonies will be held the second week of the market, May 10, with a special ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. by Portsmouth Mayor Tom Ferrini, attended by City Manager John Bohenko and members of the City Council. The week’s live music will be provided by American Flyer, a collection of instruments and vocals on classic and contemporary Bluegrass, originals and covers. Other entertainment for the month is: Random Acts of Harmony, May 3; Taylor River Band, May 17; Jonathan Blakeslee, May 24; and The Reef Band, May 31.

Additional weekday markets in Dover, Durham, Exeter, Hampton and Kingston are open the first week of June through mid-October. The Dover farmers’ market, in particular, has grown and now boasts extended hours. Open weekly until 6 p.m., it has moved to the parking lot of McIntosh College’s Atlantic Culinary Academy, 181 Silver St., where a total of 15 weekly vendors will provide farm-fresh produce, fine crafts and gourmet foods.

(Dover: Wednesdays starting June 4, 2:30-6 p.m., McIntosh College’s Atlantic Culinary Academy parking lot, 181 Silver St.; Durham: Mondays starting June 2, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Durham traffic circle, Pettee Brook parking lot; Exeter: Thursdays starting June 5, 2:30-6 p.m., Swasey Parkway; Hampton: Tuesdays starting June 3, 3:00-6 p.m., Route 1, across from the post office; Kingston: Tuesdays starting June 3, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Main Street.)

The average American eats food that’s traveled 1,500 miles from field to plate. Who wants to be average? Shop local, enjoy the flavor, meet your neighbors, and reduce your carbon footprint. For details and directions, visit

Seacoast Growers’ Association is a state-registered nonprofit organization representing 57 local small businesses. SGA works closely with Slow Food Seacoast, Seacoast Eat Local, and Seacoast Local, all of whom can be found every Saturday at the market booth. A hotline listing in-season produce and weekly special events can be reached 24 hours a day at 658-0280. For details and directions, visit

Portsmouth Herald article >

tonight! fisheries sector allocation roundtable at the Portsmouth Library

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

NH Seagrant brings us a series of roundtable talks throughout the summer, beginning tonight! Free and open to the public.

 April 22nd       Sector Allocation

Speaker(s): Tom Nies, New England Fisheries Management Council; Cindy Smith, Gulf of Maine Research Institute; Erik Anderson, NH Commercial Fishermen’s Association; Mark Grant, National Marine Fisheries Service; and Jackie Odell, Northeast Seafood Coalition.

Details: The discussion will involve the current status of sector applications to the New England Fishery Management Council as well as technical and financial assistance that may be available to current applicants. This will be an opportunity to continue discussions from the New Hampshire Commercial Fishermen’s Association meeting.

Location: Hilton Garden Meeting Room, Portsmouth Library, 6:30-8:30

how to buy local meat for less: in bulk

Monday, April 21st, 2008

From a Yahoo Finance article that is sort of freakishly local comes advice on buying local meat: buy it by the animal. Unfortunately for the aspiring butchers out there, the meat comes packaged in normal and recognizable cuts, there’s just a lot of it:

What does the high price of food mean to the average frugal grocery shopper? Eat locally. Produce, meat, poultry and eggs grown nearby have always been better for the environment. Now, because of high fuel prices, buying local is also the smartest way to shop.

Purchase produce in season and frequent farmer’s markets, where you’ll find the best deals on the freshest fruits and vegetables. Invest in a freezer, if you have the space, and buy your meat locally as well.

Uber saver Mike Hegarty, a CPA in Des Moines, Iowa, says he saves $500 a year on meat by purchasing whole animals from local farms.

In case you’ve never done it and you’re having a hard time visualizing it in your garage, when you buy a quarter of a cow from a local farm, a butcher cuts it into the familiar hamburger, flank and sirloin steaks and packages it for you. An extra bonus: Local farms often raise all-natural or even organic beef, pork and chicken.

Sources of local meat on the Seacoast (Seacoast Eat Local wiki) > 

Urging the White House to grow its own …

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Eating your own home grown food is not only the most local of the local, it helps save money and gives gardeners great access to great food. It can also be a powerful political statement.

From Out of the Yard and Onto the Fork : (but make sure you go read the whole piece from the New York Times, not too long)

Mr. Doiron’s latest cause is challenging the presidential candidates to plant a garden on the White House lawn. He has posted his proposal, “Eat the View,” on, a Web site where people record their visions for the next president.

“This would not be a quaint little garden for the White House chef,” he said. “I have something fairly ambitious in mind, that would make a powerful political statement — a garden large enough to cover most of what the White House needs, with an overflow to a local food pantry.”

Mr. Doiron is actually suggesting a return to a tradition as old as the founding fathers. John Adams planted a vegetable garden at the White House to feed his family, “because back then, presidents had to fund their own household,” said Rose Hayden-Smith, a historian and garden educator based at the University of California in Davis.

During World War I, to save fuel and labor, President Woodrow Wilson had sheep grazing on the White House lawn. His wife, Edith, planted vegetables to inspire the Liberty Garden campaign, in which thousands of students, called “Soldiers of the Soil,” grew their own food in their schools and communities, she said. As the Allied powers began to win, the name Liberty Garden was changed to Victory Garden.

Just after Pearl Harbor, Ms. Hayden-Smith said, another Victory Garden campaign was started. Eleanor Roosevelt grew peas and carrots on the White House lawn, and by the end of the war, Ms. Hayden-Smith said, “Americans were producing 40 percent of the country’s produce” in their gardens.

Read Out of the Yard and Onto the Fork >

Farmers’ Market on Sunday in Newburyport

Friday, April 18th, 2008

from the cover of today’s Newburyport Daily News:

City’s first Farmers Market to launch on Earth Day

By Stephen Tait
Staff Writer

NEWBURYPORT — Dick Chase is bringing spinach and fresh herbs, some honey from last year’s crop and also potted flowers, such as pansies.

He is also going to bring a new item from his Arrowhead Farm: a “living salad bowl,” or a collection of greens that grows back after people pick it for salads.

Arrowhead is just one of 10 farms participating in a farmers market Sunday at the Bartlet Mall as part of the city’s Earth Day celebration, which involves numerous events running throughout the weekend and ending Tuesday with the first-ever Earth Day Awards.

Chase and other farmers market organizers hope this weekend’s event serves as the launching pad for a summer-long farmers market in the city.

“The time is right for a farmers market in Newburyport,” said Heidi Spinella, an Earth Day organizer. “The concept is that the people will embrace it and we will be able to do a six- to eight-week farmers market this summer.”

Spinella and Chase said Newburyport is fortunate to have farms in the area that produce herbs, fruits, vegetables and meats.

“It is important to support the local farmers,” Spinella said.

Supporting local food producers has grown in popularity and importance throughout the country in recent years, especially among those who are environmentally conscious. One of the biggest reasons is that local farming is considered “green” because it can save fuel costs.

“The farmers market ties in beautifully with eating locally,” Spinella said. “If we can eat more food produced locally, we can cut down on the fuel it takes to truck them across the country.”

Chase said it is also supports sustainable agriculture, another movement he says is really starting to flourish.

“For a community to be sustainable, it really needs the capacity to produce its own food,” he said.

Spinella said beyond green aspects, the farm also could prove to be a great connection for local residents. She said she envisions a market that would allow for people to “re-engage with the simple pleasures in life,” such as riding a bike to go shopping at the market.

“It is a community-spirited opportunity,” she said. “You could come to town, meet your friends. It would be a beautiful thing.”

Chase said that it is also a way for people to get to know local farmers. He said not many locals may realize there are many farms in the region.

He said farming is among the “original green enterprises” and a farmers market is an “appropriate fit” for Newburyport.

“It is a good way for people to get connected back to agriculture,” he said. “We are hoping it will become a regular thing.”

“It is good for the farmers, good for the residents and good for planet Earth,” Spinella said.



If you go

When: Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Bartlet Mall

Why: Earth Day celebration

Who: 10 local farms with fruits, flowers and more


Participating farms:

Arrowhead Farm, Newburyport

Bartlett Farm, Salisbury

Colby Farm, Newburyport and Newbury

Herrick Dairy Farm, Rowley

Nunan Florist and Greenhouses, Georgetown

Pettengill Farm, Salisbury

Simple Foods, Amesbury

The Herb Farmacy, Salisbury

The Katie May, a Newburyport fishing vessel

CSA at Long Hill, West Newbury

Pictures and more at the Newburyport Daily News website >

For farmers: (mostly) free publicity for your business

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

Thanks go to Amy W. and Deb M. who collated these websites where farmers can list their businesses to increase their exposure – even if you don’t have a website yourself, you can certainly start to build a web presence, helping more people connect with local food. Virtual farmer’s market with free listings Lists primarily fruit and berry growers NH farmers Market Association

Ones that require membership NH Plant growers Association

Of course, our own effort is also underway and will be ready the beginning of July! In print and on the web, Seacoast Harvest will list the farms of Rockingham, Strafford, and York counties. This is a joint project of Slow Food Seacoast and Seacoast Eat Local. It’s not too late to help if you’d like to be a sponsor.

King Corn on PBS

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

If you missed it’s brief appearance at the Ioka, here’s a chance to catch King Corn on TV – April 15th on PBS. The story of corn is overwhelmingly relevant to how our food system works today –

Discover(ing) Sustainability blog official announcement

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

Alert blogger Jeff mentioned this new blog the other day, but here is their official press release:



DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire, recognized as a higher education leader in sustainability, is taking its ideas to the blogosphere. The new blog, launched recently by the University Office of Sustainability, aims to share UNH’s commitment to being a sustainable learning community while helping readers discover how sustainability connects us all.


“The blog title – “Discover(ing) Sustainability” – says it all,” says Sara Cleaves, associate director of the University Office of Sustainability (UOS) and one of the blog’s authors. “We see sustainability as seeing things whole and acting accordingly. It’s highly interdisciplinary and relies on connections and conversation, all of which we hope to foster with this blog.”


Currently authored by several UOS and communications staff at UNH, Discover(ing) Sustainability will seek voices from around the university, including students, researchers, and administrators. Recent posts have highlighted a “green cuisine” gourmet dinner at UNH, research related to climate change and clean water, and a recent award to UNH’s Wildcat Transit. The blog also brings sustainability trends in higher education and in the news media to light.


Visit the blog at


UNH, home of the nation’s first endowed office of sustainability in higher education, is a leader in conserving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and integrating sustainability throughout its curricula, operations, research, and engagement efforts. Committed to being a climate protection campus that pursues a sustainable energy future through emissions reduction policies, practices, research, and education, UNH has earned several awards for its sustainability initiatives, which range from composting and supporting local, sustainable agriculture to using compressed natural gas and biodiesel-powered vehicles, and being the first in the nation to receive an EPA Energy Star building rating for residence halls. Discover the sustainable learning community at UNH at