NH Food Bank and partners launch statewide initiative designed to support the purchase of NH grown food to feed our food insecure neighbors
The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire, is joining forces with the New Hampshire Farm Bureau, New Hampshire Food Alliance and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire to launch a new pilot program to provide locally grown food to those in need. “NH Feeding NH” is a statewide initiative designed to support the purchase of New Hampshire-grown food to provide food insecure Granite Staters with more access to nutritious, locally grown produce, dairy and meat. As a result of COVID-19, many restaurants, schools and farmers markets across the state have had to alter their operations or even close their doors, leaving farms without an outlet to sell their products. This program, modeled after programs in Vermont and Maine, will not only support local farmers, but will also help nourish communities in need, reduce food waste and replenish the local economy.
“The New Hampshire Food Bank is thrilled to work with our partners to bring this program to the Granite State,” said Eileen Liponis, Executive Director, New Hampshire Food Bank. “Fresh, local food is not always easily accessible to food insecure folks and COVID-19 has only added to these challenges. We look forward to supporting both our farmers and individuals and families who do not have access to the nutritious food they need.”
Thanks to one-time funding through the recent federal CARES Act, New Hampshire Food Bank partner agencies are able to purchase more fresh, local foods from farmers at a fair market price. In addition, thanks to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the New Hampshire Food Bank also received a grant to purchase 17 two-door refrigerated coolers to increase storage capacity for those partner agencies who do not currently have the proper storage space.
“We’re always willing and happy to give back to our community. Sometimes transportation of the product can be a challenge, but as long as someone can help with that, we’re happy to provide the food,” said Kathy Sherman, Sherman Farm in East Conway. “Farmers are in the business of feeding people and that means those who can’t afford food too.”
“When I first read the NH feeding NH offer, I instantly replied yes,” said George Rau, Director, Community Food Center in Tamworth. “I have listened to our area small farmers desperately needing the financial support to keep doing what they love to do: grow fresh and wholesome vegetables for their surrounding community. Helping them financially and giving our clients great fresh vegetables is a win-win for our entire community.”
New Hampshire Food Bank agencies will be required to track and report back to the New Hampshire Food Bank the product(s) their purchasing, number of pounds and the overall impact this program is having on their clients. The New Hampshire Food Bank and its partners are hopeful this first year will produce positive results to help secure the funding needed to continue this program in future years.
For more information, visit www.nhfoodbank.org/nhfeedingnh