Concerns about the quality, quantity and environmental impact of our food supply has caused people to rethink their daily dietary choices. This weeklong series of shows, reports and features on NH Public Radio looks at the food supply here in New Hampshire. The series will run during “The Exchange” with Laura Knoy, airing live at 9 a.m. (live call-in show) and repeated at 8 p.m. Make sure to catch Sara Zoë Patterson of Seacoast Eat Local on Thursday’s show, “Localism in New Hampshire.”
This week on The Exchange we bring you Eating In, a weeklong series on food in the Granite State. We’ll look at some of the major issues around our food system. We’ll look at the economics of our food supply from farms to restaurants. We’ll examine the debate over organics and the trend of eating more locally and also look at localism efforts in our state. And we’ll also explore concerns about food safety. As always, you’re invited to join the conversation: call us during the show at 1-800-892-6477, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post a comment on our website, www.nhpr.org.
Monday, May 17th, 2010 Eating In – New Hampshire Food Economy 101 – A new report is out that shows the good and bad news around New Hampshire’s food economy. New Hampshire lags the region and the nation in the amount of land farmed, farm profitability and the annual wage for someone working in the food system. But there are also some bright spots. New Hampshire had strength in the retail sector and a high percentage of direct marketing for locally produced food. The report also gives some recommendations on how to increase production and make the most out of the land already farmed. We’ll look at how much our food industries are helping our GSP, the economic strengths and weaknesses of our food system, and how much the state is doing to make our food economy stronger. Laura’s guests are Commissioner Lorraine Merrill, New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets & Food and Ross Gittell, economist, professor of Management at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire and forecast manager at the New England Economic Partnership. Ross Gittell along with Matt Magnusson are co-authors of a new report on NH food called ”The Economic Impact of Local Food Systems in New Hampshire: Current Status and Prospects for Growth.” We’ll also hear from Jeff and Kate Donald, who have broken ground on a new farm in Epping, NH called Stout Oak Farm.
Tuesday, May 18th, 2010 Eating In – The Organic Debate - Organic is in! Look in any supermarket and you find products that are 100% Organic, Made with Organic Products or Natural. Many more are farming organically as well. They say organic is healthier both for the food and for the environment. But there are naysayers as well. Those who suggest that organic has no more nutritional value and uses far more energy than non-organic. They also say that the vegetables and fruits all contain natural carcinogens that are far worse than the chemical used on them and that if you really want to think about the global food crisis, then you have to think beyond organic. Well hear from both sides of the debate. Laura’s guests are Eliot Coleman, Owner of Four Season Farm, an organic farm in Harborside, Maine and author of several books on organic farming including ”The New Organic Grower” and James McWilliams, an associate professor of history at Texas State University and author of the new book “Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly”. We’ll also hear from Larry Pletcher, owner of The Vegetable Ranch, LLC, a certified organic farm in Warner. Rich Houston, Owner of Pine Lane Farm, a commercial dairy farm in Contoocook and TBA
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 Eating In: The Good and Bad of Localism – More and more, New Hampshire consumers are desiring local food. They go to farmers markets and become a part of their local CSAs. Restaurants are cooking more with local foods and consumers are bringing them home to eat. Advocates say its a more environmentally friendly way to produce and consume food. They say the products are better tasting, its helps the local economy and you really get to know the practices of those who make your food. But there are some who suggest that localisms isnt all its cracked up to be. They say that many times it actually takes more energy to produce local products, it’s not feasible in many climates and doesn’t address the global food crisis. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of localism. Laura’s guests are Richard Pirog, Program Leader and Associate Director for the Marketing and Food Systems Initiative at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and John Carroll, Professor of Natural Resources at the University of New Hampshire and author of ”Pastures of Plenty:The Future of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Conservation in New England” and ”The Wisdom of Small Farms and Local Food”. We’ll also hear from Ben Hewitt, author of “The Town that Food Saved: How one Community Found Vitality in Local Food” and two Vermont businessmen featured in Hewitts book: Tom Gilbert, Executive Director of Highfields Center for Composting in Hardwick, Vermont and Andrew Meyer, Owner of Vermont Soy and Vermont Natural Coatings in Hardwick, Vermont.
Thursday, May 20th, 2010 Eating In: Localism in New Hampshire – Localism is buzzing in New Hampshire. Granite staters are supporting their CSAs and farmers markets. They are buying from local farms, and supporting other businesses that use local products as well. There are also many organizations pushing to move even more local. But New Hampshire has its own unique set of challenges. It has a tough climate to support year round crops, rough land and growing developments limit the amount of food that can be made in the state. There is also the lack of organized distributions centers. Localism also requires much more work and higher prices for farmers and businesses that take their food. We’ll look at what’s being done in New Hampshire and the challenges the state still faces before it can move forward. Laura’s guests are Charles Burke, Owner of Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, President of NH Farm to Restaurant Connection and co-founder of the NH Farmers Market Association and Sara Zoe Patterson, Coordinator of Seacoast Eat Local, a network that connects New Hampshire seacoast consumers with sources of locally grown or locally made food. We’ll also hear from Jeff Paige, Owner and Chef of Cotton Restaurant and Tom Puskarich, Owner and Chef of Z Food and Drink, both of Manchester and TBA
Friday, May 21st, 2010 Eating In: Food Safety – Localism and Organic are nice, but when it really comes down to it, what Granite Staters care most about their food is that its safe. Recent food scares from lettuce, spinach and peanut butter show that we are far away from keeping out food safe. Plus, some say that eating food pumped up with hormones or that is genetically modified is not safe either. We’ll look at the issue of food safety, what’s being done in New Hampshire and the debate to make the standards even tougher. Laura’s guests are Joyce Welch, Administrator of the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, Food Protection Section and David Plunkett, Senior Staff Attorney to the Food Safety Program Center for Science in the Public Interest. We’ll also hear from Richard Uncles, Director of the Division of Regulatory Services for the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, John Seifarth, Inspector for the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, Food Protection Section and TBA.