Are Granite Staters Up for a Challenge?
2022 NH Eats Local Month kicks off with the Live Free + Eat Local Challenge on August 1
Now that summer is in full swing, there’s no better way to celebrate than by getting outside and taking in the produce, baked goods, meat and flowers of your local farmers market. New Hampshire Eats Local Month is happening August 1-31, so we sat down to talk with NH Food Alliance Communications Coordinator Colleen Stewart to learn more about the over 100 partners throughout the state that are joining together to celebrate the power of food in bringing us together and encouraging the continued choice to eat and support local food.
Tell us more about the history of NH Eats Local and NH Eats Local Month.
Colleen: “NH Eats Local Month came together in the same way all of our work at the NH Food Alliance develops, through collaboration and networking. In 2006, the non-profit Seacoast Eat Local introduced Eat Local Challenges to their region, inspiring the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food to expand the challenge into a statewide campaign and celebration in 2009. In 2018, the NH Food Alliance partnered with Jen Risley, the Marketing Manager at the Monadnock Food Co-op, and began facilitating NH Eats Local Month. Together, the NH Food Alliance, Seacoast Eat Local, Monadnock Food Co-op, and the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food grew the month’s celebrations and started to focus on the long-term goal of expanding NH Eats Local Month to a year-round initiative under NH Eats Local.”
What is NH Eats Local Month?
Colleen: “NH Eats Local Month is an August-long grassroots marketing initiative geared towards growing the eat local movement across New Hampshire by connecting Granite Staters directly to local farmers, restaurants, food producers, markets and farm stands, and other food-related businesses. Throughout August, we host and promote a variety of campaigns, activities, and events focused on local food to encourage everyone in New Hampshire to get out and not only shop for local food, but to learn about how it is grown and produced.
The backbone of this promotional initiative are our NH Eats Local Month Partners, the local food and farm businesses invested in amplifying our collective eat local messaging throughout the month. For 2022, we have nearly 100 small businesses and organizations from across the state spreading the NH Eats Local message. These businesses create amazing campaigns, events and activities in their own communities to inspire everyone eat local and learn about how important it is for New Hampshire to have a vibrant farm and food economy.
Throughout the rest of the year, NH Eats Local is an informational resource for Granite Staters to find, support, and eat local food from the Seacoast to the North Country. We gather farmers’ market guides and pick your own lists, share stories about farmers, chefs, brewers, and other food producers, partner with local food-focused organizations and businesses to produce events, and just generally rally around New Hampshire’s food and farm economy in anyway we can.”
Tell us what Granite Staters can expect to see this month and each week.
Colleen: “The focal point of 2022 NH Eats Local Month is the Live Free + Eat Local Challenge. The NH Food Alliance is challenging Granite Staters to eat at or from five or more New Hampshire farm or food businesses throughout August. Granite Staters who participate in the Challenge will write the name and location of each farm or food business on their Live Free + Eat Local Challenge submission form and submit it to the NH Food Alliance by August 31. Challenge submission forms are available at over 50 NH Eats Local Month Partner businesses around the state and on nheatslocal.com as a downloadable print-at-home form or an online submission form. All completed Live Free + Eat Local Challenge submission forms received by the NH Food Alliance by August 31 will be entered to win prizes donated by NH Eats Local Month partners, including gift cards to the Littleton Food Co-op, Emery Farm, Co-op Food Stores, Kearsarge Food Hub, and more!
During National Farmersʼ Market Week, August 7-13, the Governorʼs Office and the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food will host a Farmersʼ Market Week and NH Eats Local Month Proclamation presentation at a farmersʼ market in the state. More details will be released by the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, so stay tuned. In the meantime, find a farmersʼ market near you here.
For each week following, we’ll be focused on sharing our Six Ways to Live Free + Eat Local, an outlines six different ideas, inspirations, and resources to find and support local farms. So stay tuned for all things local food!
Why eat local? How can eating locally make a difference?
Colleen: “Food connects us. It’s the thing we all have in common — everyone has to eat at least a couple times a day. But eating local food, grown and produced by the people you know in your community, brings us together as Granite Staters in a more meaningful way. When we eat local, we celebrate our land, our history and traditions, and our communities, which provides a framework for how we care for our environment and continue to center equity in our lives. Eating local also feeds our sense of self-reliance and focuses our energy to ensure everyone has enough nutritious food to lead healthy lives. Eating locally affects every part of our lives, allowing us to live more mindfully and sustainably, while stimulating New Hampshire’s farm and food economy and creating a prosperous future for all.