KEENE, N.H. — In 2020, the Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition (MFCC) launched, “Food & Gardens for a Resilient Monadnock” — a website providing comprehensive gardening education and resources, information on programs making local food more affordable, as well as where to find free meals.
The Food Access Alliance (Alliance) is one of MFCC’s three committees meeting regularly to help build the coalition’s mission to “build a sustainable, equitable, and robust local food system” and is the driving force behind the website. “The Alliance saw a very serious need to build resiliency through food empowerment in our region during the pandemic,” says Roe-Ann Tasoulas, MFCC director. “This means finding land to grow your own food. It means learning how to grow food in our climate. It means getting charitable food where it is offered. Ultimately, it means having the power to feed yourself and your families independently.”
The Alliance also launched a private Facebook group, “Gardening Connections in the Monadnock Region” in conjunction with the website. With 332 members, the group connects the community to the new website by offering a place to get or give advice about gardening, plant and seed swapping, or donating time and experience to help others grow food, flowers, and herbs.
Businesses interested in “joining the story” of building resilience can fill out a form housed on the “Food & Gardens for a Resilient Monadnock” site to offer special discounts on seeds, tools, and plants to gardeners. All sales information will be promoted within the Facebook group.
“Growing Resilience: Brattleboro” was the inspiration for the website and shared resources with the Alliance. “Since our communities are so intertwined on both sides of the River, it makes sense to build resiliency throughout the region, continues Tasoulas.
Our hope is that these new community resources will empower people to feel more food secure long after the pandemic is over. Ultimately, we would like to see food pantries become obsolete — that all people will have the ability to grow and afford fresh, healthy food.”
Alliance members include: UNH Extension Nutrition Connections, SW Community Services, The Community Kitchen, Community Garden Connections, Cheshire Medical Center for Population Health, Cheshire County Conservation District, NH Hunger Solutions, Impact Monadnock, NH Meals on Wheels, RISE for Baby & Family, and others.
“Food & Gardens for a Resilient Monadnock” can be found online at https://sites.google.com/prod/
“Gardening Connections in the Monadnock Region” can be found online at www.facebook.com/groups/
–Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition