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Home » From the Commissioner

NH Farm Women Pioneers of the Local Food Movement

New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food (September 20, 2015)

Author Helen Brody’s latest book is a tribute to New Hampshire Women Farmers: Pioneers of the Local Food Movement. Brody teamed up with distinguished documentary photographer Leslie Tuttle to introduce readers to some of the remarkable women working on farms and in agriculture in our state today.


Forty-two percent of all farmers in our state are women. Nearly one in three principal farm operators are female, making New Hampshire third in the U.S. for percentage of principal operators who are women. Brody says over 12 years traveling the state to interview women at their farms, she saw women revitalizing farming, creating value-added products and developing new and vital markets for locally grown food.

Brody has profiled nearly 20 of these farmers, from up and down the state, reflecting the diversity of our farms. She also highlights the stories of several other women leaders in New Hampshire’s local food and agriculture movement—including the department’s Agricultural Development Director Gail McWilliam Jellie. Tuttle’s portraits show the farmers at work on their farms and at their markets. Her 100 color photographs capture the beauty and character of rural New Hampshire.

All proceeds from the book are going to the New Hampshire Farms Network (NHFN), a web site “Linking Farms, Food and You,” which Brody established in 2008. NHFN became a 501(c)3 non-profit in 2014. The site features farm profiles; an event calendar; information on farmers markets, the role of women in farming, recipes using local ingredients and links to New Hampshire Food System Builders. Brody, who lives in Lebanon, published her first food and agriculture book, New Hampshire: From Farm to Kitchen, in 2004. For all this and more, Helen Brody received the 2015 Andrew L. Felker Award for ‘distinguished achievement in agriculture’ from the department and the board of the NH Farm & Forest Expo.

Published by University Press of New England, New Hampshire Women Farmers: Pioneers of the Local Food Movement is available at book stores and on line through New Hampshire Farms Network at for $19.95 plus shipping. On-line orders will be signed and can be personalized. Brody and Tuttle are holding book signings around the state. Tuttle will be at The Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, at 11:00 am on September 26. Find listings of local book signing events on the New Hampshire Farms Network website by clicking on the NH Women Farmers book.
Eric Sideman of Strafford has been appointed by USDA’s National Organic Program to a new task force to explore hydroponic and aquaponic production practices and their alignment with USDA organic regulations. As an organic crop specialist with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Sideman provides technical support for farmers and gardeners and serves as staff scientist for MOFGA, working closely with Cooperative Extension in Maine and New Hampshire. He is a former member of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The 16 task force appointees include one other New Englander, Dave Chapman of Long Wind Farm in East Thetford, Vermont.
The task force will report to the NOSB, an advisory committee of organic industry and stakeholder representatives who recommend whether substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling, assist in developing standards for allowed substances, and advise the Secretary of Agriculture on other aspects of organic regulations.

The task force will prepare a report for the NOSB about the current state of technologies and practices in hydroponics and aquaponics, as well as how those practices do or do not align with the USDA organic regulations. The NOSB will utilize the report in developing recommendations on hydroponics and aquaponics production systems, an area of growing controversy for the organic industry.

Lorraine Merrill, Commissioner
Department of Agriculture, Markets, & Foodlorrainemerrill

(This column is excerpted from the Weekly Market Bulletin, September 15, 2015)

The NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food Division of Agricultural Development compiles market information and publishes the Weekly Market Bulletin for the agriculture community. The Bulletin is the department’s ‘publication of record’ and includes appropriate industry notices, announcements, seasonal information and market survey data. Subscribers may advertise in the popular agricultural classified advertising at no charge. One-year subscriptions are $28 for delivery by U.S. Postal Service, or $22 for delivery by secure internet. Sign up for the Weekly Market Bulletin by calling the office at 271-2505 and providing a credit card for payment; or visit the office at 25 Capitol St., Concord; or mail in your request with a check. Be sure to provide your address, phone number, and if you are requesting an online subscription, an email address.

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