Every farm has a story to tell — its history, its farming methods, its beliefs, and its goals for the future. New Hampshire Farms Network (NHFN) was established in 2008, first to tell their stories, and then to communicate their importance to the state’s food security, community health, economic development, and land conservation efforts. Our audience – there are no membership requirements – is the NH community and any visitor who has a keen interest in and desire to visit the state and buy the food these farms produce. The website is impartial in its outlook and is supported by donations, grants, and sponsorships.
NHFN was established after a book, New Hampshire: From Farm to Kitchen, was published in 2004. The book was well received but it was able to profile only 30 of the state’s over 4,000 farms. With the help of a volunteer webmaster, the New Hampshire Farms Network and www.newhampshirefarms.net were born to continue uncovering farm stories. As more farms were profiled, and visitorship grew, requests came in urging additional information – where to buy the farm’s foods, recipes, a calendar, and links to educational organizations and social media.
Though the expansion was gratifying, out-of-pocket expenses began to mount, so the then six year old New Hampshire Farms Network and its founder, Helen Brody, applied for and received an expedited 501 (c) 3 status in March, 2014. The Network was then granted $5,000 by the Byrne Foundation to further establish itself as a viable and permanent entity.
The NHFN farm profile program currently enlists professional writers and college students to be farm profile writers. In New London, NH, Colby-Sawyer College included the visiting of farms and profile writing as part of their 2015 & 2016 fall environmental study curriculum. Plymouth State University, through its Center for Rural Partnerships, and St. Anselm College are also participating and we are looking forward to participation by other colleges and universities.
Recently, we have looked to businesses to support the farm profile effort through our Business Supports Farms program established in 2015 through a Northeast AgEnhancement grant
Our social network manager and volunteers publish a monthly newsletter and update Facebook and Twitter at least once a day
As for the future efforts of NHFN, now that our farm profile program is well under way, we are researching grant opportunities for a farm profile manager, additional profile writers, a program for the adult disabled to work on a farm, a better map to locate NH farms and their products, our newsletter, and an anecdotal research study. Suggetions for funding are always welcome: Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-252-5299