Archive for February, 2009

Kittery & York Schools Looking for Farmers

Friday, February 27th, 2009

The schools in Kittery and York are hosting a meeting  about Farm to School Programs and are looking for farmers to attend.  There will be a short presentation on the benefits of Farm to School Program to students, farmers, communities, and the local economy.

When: Tuesday, March 17

Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Location: York Middle School Cafeteria
30 Organug Rd
York, ME

For more information please contact:

Doris Demers, School Nutrition Director
Kittery & York School Departments
207-439-4846 or 207-363-5554
Fax: 207-363-5602

Farm Bill User Guide for the Northeast

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group has put together a really user-friendly guide to the evolving Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill includes so many different programs, so many different action points calling for public input, that it is easy to get lost in the information – or was, because this guide is exactly what we need to engage in positive and productive ways, and to inform ourselves.

Farm Bill User Guide on NEFOOD >

Seacoast Harvest 2009 edition underway …

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Every year, we update Seacoast Harvest, the local food guide we produce as a collaboration with Slow Food Seacoast. Which means we (lots of volunteers) contact every farm we can find in Rockingham, Strafford, and York Counties, revise the information contained in the guide, add more information, and try to print as many copies as we can, making the listings free to farmers and the guide free to area residents who are looking for local food.

Last year we printed 3,000 copies and are pretty well out (except for the ones I squirreled away to give out at our winter farmers’ markets.) This year we’d like to print 6,000 copies. Last year we listed 102 farms – but in the meantime, found another 120 that we will be contacting in addition this year. We’ve got a lot of good, important work ahead of us before the guide will be released in late May.

To reach these goals, we need your help. Consider making a donation to Seacoast Harvest. All the information you need, along with the ability to make a secure online donation, is here >

NAIS is back as TRACE

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

NAIS, the National Animal Identification System, intended to address large food safety problems like recalls, is now back as H.R. 814 or TRACE: Tracing and Recalling Agricultural Contamination Everywhere Act

The consequences to small, local producers of this bill, if passed, would be horrible. Our producers must constantly cross state lines for sales and processing, and would be required to install and maintan costly measures to comply – many of whom wouldn’t be able to as it would be fiscally not feasible, and would have to stop producing the healthful, more sustainable meat products we count on.

We do have a problem with safety in agribusiness – feedlots and chicken buildings containing thousands and thousands of birds are not healthy for the animals, and therefore not healthy for us. They do have problems with disease, and I can see that our representatives are trying to address those problems. But this bill is not going to be effective, and it does not address our needs.

H.R. 814 was introduced to Congress on February 3, 2009. It is now in committee:  The Committee on Energy and Commerce and The Committee on Agriculture

Now is the time to start contacting our Representatives to let them know we do not want this bill.

In particular, Massachussettes folks should be contacting Ed Markey, who sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee. [And it’s interesting to note that there are no representatives from VT, NH, ME, or MA on the Agriculture Committee right now.]

Find contact information for your representative here.  Write or call. Email if that is the only way it will happen, but emails are the least effective (much better than nothing!)

Speak up for your food supply!

Fisheries news: temporary restrictions to protect right whales

Friday, February 20th, 2009

[we’re going to be posting fisheries news bits and pieces here – the idea being that the more we know, as the old PSA goes …. This doesn’t mean you can’t get local lobster right now! You still can! But I like knowing how responsive the controllers are that when right whales are seen, they are protected]

New England – Temporary Fishing Restrictions in Effect to Protect Endangered Right Whales

Temporary restrictions are in effect for lobster trap/pot and anchored gillnet fishermen in an area totaling approximately 1,725 nm 2, east of Portsmouth, NH. The purpose of this action is to protect an aggregation of seven North Atlantic right whales that was sighted on January 10, 2009, in the vicinity of Jeffreys Ledge. These restrictions are in effect through 2400 hours on February 17, 2009.

Newburyport CSA Fair – Sunday February 22

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The Tannery Mill, Building #1, Newburyport, MA
Sunday, February 22
11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Meet local farmers, learn about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), and to get information about purchasing shares in local farms for the 2009 growing season.

Admission is free of charge.

“Socrates” The friendly turkey from The Historic New England’s Spencer-Peirce-Little farm will be the Guest of Honor!

Visit thenewburyportfarmersmarket.org for more information

Poultry back in the news …

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

From Foster’s:

Inspections would allow poultry sales at Portsmouth farmers’ markets

By CHARLES McMAHON

Monday, February 16, 2009

PORTSMOUTH — Poultry producers hoping to sell their products at the city’s farmers’ market could soon** get the chance once again thanks to a proposed law.

House Bill 42 was created in hopes of letting the state veterinarian employ a meat inspection services administrator that would implement a statewide meat inspection program.

City Health Inspector Kristin Shaw testified before the House Environment and Agriculture Committee on the bill late last month, along with nine other people who she said were all in favor of the bill.

Shaw said the city supports the bill and has been working with various groups at the state level to advance it.

read the full article >

** The full text of HB 42 is available online, and we should all note that this law would bring state meat inspection for poultry online sometime in the latter half of 2010. Not that we shouldn’t support this bill, just a reality check that there will still be no poultry this summer in Portsmouth.

See Who’s My Leg? for contact info for your state senators and representatives.

You can track the progress of the bill (to better time your calls and emails to your elected officials) through the nifty NH General Court website’s tracker – just type hb42 into the “bill number” box on the left side.

Hands on fruit tree pruning workshop – Saturday February 21

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Saturday, 9am-11am, Giff Burnap of Butternut Farm in Farmington, NH will offer a hands on workshop on pruning both young and old fruit trees. Snow depth and time permitting, the workshop will also provide instruction and practical experience pruning blueberry bushes.

Workshop size is limited to 10 participants, cost is $5 each.

 Reserve your spot by emailing wberry@llfarm.net

Fish News: Haddock and Hake stocks up, some flounders down

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

From NOAA Fisheries Service: 

Northeast – Comments Invited on New Measures for Commercial and Recreational Groundfish Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries Service is proposing a suite of measures to immediately reduce overfishing in the Northeast multispecies fishery and ensure protection for the stocks most in need, such as yellowtail flounder and winter flounder in southern New England, and northern windowpane flounder. The measures of the interim rule will be in place until the New England Fishery Management Council completes new measures for Northeast groundfish fishery management, tentatively expected by May 2010.

Measures proposed for the commercial groundfish fishery include expansion of the area of the Gulf of Maine where each day fished is counted as two days, and a prohibition on keeping ocean pout, northern windowpane and southern New England winter flounder. Groundfish vessels using gillnet and trawl gear would also be restricted from fishing in an area of southern New England waters to further protect depleted winter flounder. The reduction in days-at-sea already scheduled to go into place May 1, 2009, would also be retained.

For the recreational groundfish fishery, proposed measures include a party/charter boat trip limit of 10 cod per angler, prohibition on retention of southern New England winter flounder, and extension of the current Gulf of Maine cod closure by two weeks for both private recreational and party/charter vessels.

Several measures are being proposed under the interim action to take advantage of healthier stocks and provide vessels with more business options. The existing program that allows commercial fishermen to fish for haddock in waters on the eastern portion of Georges Bank would be continued. The limit on the amount of white hake that can be retained per day would be increased. The minimum legal size for haddock would be decreased. Some measures would be revised to provide more flexibility in transferring or leasing most limited access permits.

Comments may be submitted at www.regulations.gov until February 17, 2009.

More seafood info from FishWatch >

Movie + discussion with local farmers: February 26

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

from the Rye Energy Committee:

Eat at Bills: Life in the Monterey MarketFebruary 26th, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Rye Public Library
A video documentary about the phenomenon that is the Monterey Market, a family owned produce market in Berkeley, CA. The enthusiasm and experience of the market’s owner fuels the enterprise and illuminates the Market’s wide world of small growers and diverse customers. A visual produce delight.

See the movie, sample local cheeses from NH farms and meet these local farmers:

Shawn Stimpson from Nelson Farm in Strafford. Shawn will talk about the innovative way that he heats his greenhouse to grow greens throughout the year. He and his wife Sarah Anderson operate the winter CSA with a drop off in Rye. They will have greens for sale.

Charlie Reid and Anne Dickerson from the Stonewall Farm, Osprey Cove Organics in Madbury. Charlie started the organic farmer’s program at UNH. He will talk briefly about how to start organic seedlings, including: preparation of soil, where to buy organic seeds and potting mixtures, and provide timelines for plantings in the spring and summer. He will have organic eggs for sale.

Mel Low is a Rye resident and master gardener (see July/2008 newsletter). He will update us on his garden, what he plans to grow for the coming season, and his hopes for a Rye town garden.

Sponsored by the Rye Energy Committee 

Mark your calendars and bring friendsSee you there.