By Lois R. Shea, Senior Writer and Content Manager |
The realtors call. Kim and Randy Gaudette politely decline the offers.
They are the fourth generation of the Lucy family to farm this 88-acre parcel of land fronting on the Saco River in North Conway, with views of Cathedral Ledge and easy access to the famed Diana’s Baths. They keep goats and chickens and pigs and alpacas and honey bees, manage a pristine sugar bush and produce vegetables.
They are trying, with help from the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, to make sure the Lucy Brook Farm remains farmland forever.
This river valley, with its fertile floodplains and deep topsoil, boasts some of the best farmland in northern New England. The land trust has been conserving farmland since it was founded in 2000.
But conservation is not enough. The land trust is also actively helping farmers keep farming. Local Food Systems Advocate Jesse Wright coordinates farmer-driven efforts — from “scaling up” workshops to collaborative marketing campaigns — to help the region’s farms thrive.
New England produces only 12 percent of the food it consumes, with just 5 percent of land in agricultural production. Those numbers do not bode well for food security.
“If we let some of these farms go,” says Wright, “they are not coming back.”
Weekly grocery deliveries are being made to children during summer break and school vacation weeks; high school cross-country skiers will be able to participate on teams and enjoy New Hampshire’s official state sport; new art will be installed on the Franconia ArtWalk — and much more. The Charitable Foundation’s Express Grants program, which has a streamlined application process and short turnaround time, provides small grants (less than $5,000) to nonprofits in need of flexible funding to help with specific projects and programs
The New Hampshire Theatre Project's “Elephant in the Room” series uses theatre to bring people together to talk about immensely difficult things — suicide, eating disorders, substance misuse — and connect people with resources available to help
Jobs for America's Graduates and the Appalachian Mountain Club have partnered up to offer Berlin students meaningful, paid summer employment, skill-building work in environmental stewardship, and exposure to careers in conservation and land management
The Penacook Community Center offers programs for neighbors of all ages — from infants to elders. For Kathy and Paul St. Louis, the center's senior programs gave them a way to create strong community connections when they moved to town
The Austin17 House in Brentwood is a place where young people feel connected, and heard, and celebrated
Families will have increased access to nutritious foods. Community forests in Gorham and Milan will expand, providing additional income, lumber and open space for recreation. A local community college will train students for high-demand careers in industrial mechanics. And more.
Brandon Pierre is a mentor with the Mayhew Program. Mayhew doesn’t change people, Brandon says. It gives boys “an authentic, honest belief in themselves — which allows them to change their future.”
The Dover Adult Learning Center serves about 1,000 students a year in its core classes — from high school diploma and equivalency classes to English for speakers of other languages, adult literacy, computer skills and career pathways
Center for children with disabilities in Keene has been caring for children with complex needs for more than a half-century
Grants from the David M. Brooks Music Fund are sending new cellos, trumpets, trombones, flutes, violins and more to children in Manchester public schools; and guitars, keyboards, ukuleles and xylophones to public-school children in Laconia
A few examples of recent grants making a difference in communities around the Granite State: Portsmouth Music and Arts Center builds community through the arts; Christa McAuliffe's legacy continues; Kids in Chichester get new playground equipment; Empower Coös Youth Grant Committee makes its first round of grants; Veterans get support and services; History is preserved in Manchester; The largest remaining dairy farm in the Monadnock region is conserved
Project LAUNCH, a coalition of nonprofits and public agencies, has been building a coordinated system of services and care to make sure that every child in Manchester has the social and emotional supports she needs to learn, thrive and grow: developmental screening that leads to earlier interventions; professional coaching and development for early childhood teachers; making behavioral health a routine part of pediatric visits; parenting classes and home visiting; a rapid-response team for children who have been affected by trauma.