community-based projects

Kearsarge Regional Food System: A comprehensive inventory and assessment

The Community Based Research Project of the 2011-2012 academic year had the task of conducting a comprehensive inventory of the food system in the Kearsarge Region in New Hampshire, comprising of fifteen towns (Andover, Boscawen, Bradford, Danbury, Henniker, Hopkinton, New London, Newbury, Salisbury, Springfield, Sunapee, Sutton, Warner, Webster, and Wilmot). Our team worked with Kearsarge Area Eat Local (KAEL) for the duration of the academic year. The aim of this project was to determine the status of the system and provide KAEL with recommendations on how to make the area more self-reliant, as well as to provide opportunities for farmers to collaborate with one another.

The first semester of this project our class worked to collect data for our study. We gathered information from farms (such as total acreage and amount of land under farming production, crops etc.), we generated GIS (Geographic Information Systems) maps on the demographic distribution in the region, and we gained a deeper understanding of regulations and of the distribution of food in the region.

Our class made a trip to Hardwick Vermont to see a working example of a closed loop food system. Our class also conducted surveys of consumer perceptions and food security. After an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, we presented KAEL with our final recommendation which include the following actions:

• Reshaping Farmers' Markets
• Increased Marketing
• Collaboration with Supermarkets
• Exploring a Food Hub Facility
• Developing opportunities for a Composting Facility
• Attracting Young Farmers
• Promoting Environmentally Conscious Farming Methods and Marketing
• Consumer Education and Perception

We are most grateful to the farmers in the Kearsarge Region who assisted us, allowed us on their farms and answered our questions with patience.

The members of this project are: Alex Banat, Laurel Bauer, Gage Bensley, Torrey Burns, Andrew Chase, Margaret Gousse, Tyler Hoppock, Iraj Khaliqi, James Montanari, Ryan Prothro, Ashley Reynolds and Adam Wilson.