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NH Families Gather For “Play-In For Climate Action”

Concord, NH – New Hampshire families rallied on the State House Lawn in Concord to highlight the need to protect our children’s health and the environment and show New Hampshire leaders that they demand a clean and healthy future for their children.

There were over 50 people who attended the free event, more than half of whom were children. A press conference followed kid-friendly fun activities and opportunities for activism. The event and press conference were organized by Moms Clean Air Force, a community of over one million moms and dads united against air pollution – including the urgent crisis of our changing climate – to protect our children’s health.

The New Hampshire Sierra Club ran an electric car Ride and Drive and there was a musical performance from Robert Hodgman, founder and lead performer of Creative Concerts. Kasia Beznoska, from Growing with Yoga led a children’s yoga class and Danielle Baudrand helped the children make a quilt using the Zero Waste Approach.

“I am proud to stand with Moms Clean Air Force today in support of a healthier future for all children,” stated Sarah Robinson, Mom of two young children and Director of the River Guild in Concord. “Our children are watching us. When they see us take action, they see it as a valuable part of the experience of life, of being part of a strong and loving community. This planet is so beautiful and so fragile – let’s show our kids how to fight for it.”

Catherine Corkery, Chapter Director for the New Hampshire Sierra Club spoke about her personal experience with Lyme disease this summer. “Climate change isn’t a distant concept; it affects us every day in our backyards. It’s affecting our way of life in New Hampshire. If you spend time outdoors, like we love to do in NH, it’s hard to ignore the significant increase in the tick population over the past few years. With climate change translating to unpredictable weather patterns and warmer temperatures, the tick population is thriving and multiplying faster than ever before. Shorter, warmer winters are enabling ticks to survive for longer periods of time and flourish.”

At the event, Becky Whitley, Moms Clean Air Force’s New Hampshire organizer called for New Hampshire families to stand up against Trump’s proposed budget for FY 2018 which will slash the EPA budget by more than 31%, gutting bedrock pollution protection programs and hobbling enforcement of basic clean air standards. “As parents, we are outraged at this proposal,” she stated. “We depend on the EPA to protect our families from asthma, heart attacks, preterm birth, neurological damage, cancer, strokes, and other health issues linked directly to air pollution. Though the Administration has the power to propose budgets, Congress alone holds the power to approve them. We must let our members of Congress know that we will not stand for anything but clean air, clean water, and good health—and a commitment to preserving the EPA.”

Ms. Whitley also called upon local leaders to take action on climate change and lauded New Hampshire and the others states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) for pledging to cut emissions from power plants by at least 30 percent between 2020 and 2030. “It is heartening to see regional leadership in light of federal inaction and irresponsibility. Now we need elected officials in New Hampshire, from the Governor to local city councilors and select board members to recognize that climate change is a New Hampshire issue and needs to be addressed to protect the future of our children and grandchildren.”

Senator Shaheen, Senator Hassan and Congresswoman Kuster were not able to attend the event but sent letters that were read at the event.

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More about Mom’s Clean Air Force here: http://www.momscleanairforce.org

NH Protectors Stand with Bears Ears National Monument

HOOKSETT, NH – During a visit to New Hampshire, the Secretary of Department of the Interior Ryan Zinke heard volunteer protectors of Bears Ears National Monument.

On April 26, President Trump issued an executive order requiring the Department of the Interior to review national monuments designated since 1996 to determine which could be repealed or reduced. Yesterday, DOI Secretary Zinke, announced he recommends shrinking the borders of Bear’s Ears National Monument in Utah. This Monument is home to tens of thousands of important cultural sites, and the result of years of work by Tribal Nations — including the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and the Ute Indian Tribe. This Executive order is part of a larger effort by the Trump administration to drill, dismantle and degrade our public lands and waters.

In New Hampshire, members of the native community and the New Hampshire Chapter of the Sierra Club attended the Zinke event to show their disapproval by holding signs and using social media.

Catherine Corkery from NH Sierra Club:

“Secretary Zinke’s recommendation shows the Trump Administration is willing to ignore tribal sovereignty, the law, science, and the will of the American people to sell out our public lands. With all national monuments designated since 1996 still under “review” – and the very authority underlying national monuments at stake – this recommendation confirms the Trump Administration is on a disturbing path with national parks, public lands and waters.

In New England, ignoring the hard work of local people who negotiated the existing and recently approved monuments, not only disrespects the time and effort invested to develop the public land, it creates distrust in our government process and threatens our democracy. We will defend against this injustice to the native community and all protectors of our planet.”


Activists To March Against Monsanto May 20th

Protester against Monsanto. Image by Die Grünen Kärnten FLIKR

NH March Against Monsanto Rally and March at the NH State House

WHAT: A Peaceful March through downtown Concord and a rally with speakers to provide information about a Global Call to Action at informing the public about genetically engineered food and calling it into question. There will be information about saving our Bees, Monarchs and much more. Tyler Road, a local band, will kick off the rally for the third year in a row with their organic themed song, “You Can’t Bio-Engineer Love” by Dave Carroll. Experts and speakers will be followed by the march through Downtown Concord. An organic seed swap table will feature generously donated High Mowing Seeds, as well as, a collection of organic, non-GMO food for the McKenna House. Free. Family Friendly.

DATE: Saturday: May 20, 2017

TIME: 11:00AM-2:00PM

LOCATION: Concord City Plaza, in front of the NH State House, 107 N Main St. Concord NH 03301

March Against Monsanto Concord, NH Rally and March! May 20, 2017 11:00 a.m.
Rain or Shine! ~ City Plaza, Next to the Famer’s Market ~ Concord, NH

Join a world-wide event with millions of people marching in solidarity. The peaceful rally intends to educate with speakers and information tables to call into question the long term health risks of genetically engineered food for the protection of our food supply and pollinators. Tyler Road, a local band, will kick off the rally with their organic themed song, “You Can’t Bio-Engineer Love” by Dave Carroll. Speakers include bee keeper Ann Antonucci, NH State Rep Jim McConnell, Marty Michener, PH D Ecologist, Laura Wolfner, M.A. Molecular Biologist & M.A. Archealogist, and Bonnie Wright, from Non-Toxic NH, NH Right to Know GMO. The march will follow through Downtown Concord.

The goal of the day is to identify the risks to pollinators, promote organic solutions, supporting local farms and will share information about Monsanto’s herbicide Round-up, which has been declared a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. We support food and seed sovereignty. You, your family and friends are invited. People are encouraged to bring posters, costumes and noise makers. There will be excellent opportunities for photos and interviews. This is for our present and future seven generations to come. Our time is now to stand united and create positive change. We would like to thank NH Sierra Club and NH Peace Action for co-sponsoring this event.

We will collect donations of GMO-Free or organic foods for the McKenna House Homeless Shelter in Concord, NH.

Event Organizers: Fawn Gaudet~NH March Against Monsanto Community, MAM NH, Catherine Corkery~NH Sierra Club, Doreen Desmarais~NH Peace Action, NH Rebellion, Carline Carpenter~NH March Against Monsanto Community, MAM NH

List of speakers: 

Amy Antonucci, Local Bee Keeper
State Representative, James McConnell
Marty Michener, PH D Ecologist
Laura Wolfner,  M.A. Molecular Biologist & M.A. Archealogist
Bonnie Wright, Activist~ Non-Toxic NH, NH Right to Know GMO

Tables and Supporters:

NH March Against Monsanto Community
March Against Monsanto NH
Bees and Pollinators Against Monsanto
NH Right to Know GMO
NH Sierra Club
NH Peace Action
Non-Toxic NH
NH Rebellion
Rights and Democracy
League of Conservation Voters
“Half Hour to Health” Crossroads Chiropractic radio show on WTPL “The Pulse 107.7 FM”
“Queen City Chronicles” hosted by Jon Hopwood on Manchester Public Access Television WMNH
NH Organic Farmers Association
Peppercorn Natural Foods Plymouth, NH
Kearsarge Gore Farm Certified Organic Produce in Warner

Hanover Becomes First New Hampshire Town To Commit To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

HANOVER, N.H.. – The Town of Hanover, New Hampshire last night voted to establish a goal of transitioning to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2050. The article approved at Tuesday’s town meeting sets a community-wide goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and a 2050 goal of transitioning heating and transportation to run on clean, renewable sources of energy.

Tuesday’s vote makes Hanover the 29th city in the country to commit to 100 percent renewable energy and the first in New Hampshire to establish this goal. The vote comes after the Sustainable Hanover Town Committee in December endorsed a transition to 100 percent renewable energy in Hanover for electricity, heat and transportation by 2050. Earlier on Tuesday, the Town of Southampton, New York similarly established a goal to transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

“As Town Manager for the Town of Hanover, I am overjoyed that the Town Meeting voted unanimously to support a goal of 100 percent renewable energy. We look forward to working with Sierra Club and Sustainable Hanover to achieve this goal,” said Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin.

Town meetings like Tuesday’s Hanover town vote have long been a form of direct democracy across New England. Unlike the other 28 cities and towns that have committed to 100 percent clean energy, Hanover represents the first municipality in the United States to have a goal of 100 percent renewable energy voted on and approved by the residents of that community.

Tuesday’s vote builds on Hanover’s growing investment in renewable energy.In 2014, Hanover was named the EPA’s first Green Power Community in New Hampshire. The town is currently at 22 percent renewable electricity through partnerships with Dartmouth College and other businesses and institutions and town residents.

​”​This is a great day for Hanover. I am so proud to be a resident of Hanover​ — the first town in New Hampshire to make a commitment to 100% renewable energy and the first municipality in the country to have done it by a vote of its citizenry,” said Judith Colla, a member of the Sierra Club Upper Valley’s Executive Committee. “I look forward to supporting next steps here in Hanover and helping to spread this campaign to our neighbors throughout the Upper Valley​.”

Other cities to commit to 100 percent clean and renewable energy include major metropolises like San Diego and Atlanta, along with small towns including Abita Springs, Louisiana and Moab, Utah. Burlington, Vermont is the first city in the United States to run entirely on clean, renewable energy.

Dozens Gather To “Stand In Solidarity With Standing Rock” In Concord

Image from NH Chapter of the Sierra Club

Image from NH Chapter of the Sierra Club

Yesterday, more than 30 people braved the bitter cold and blowing snow to show their support for the water protectors in Standing Rock, North Dakota.

The rally, held at City Hall Plaza in Concord was organized by NH Peace Action and the New Hampshire Chapter of the Sierra Club to “Stand in Solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux” against the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

Image from NH Chapter of the Sierra Club

Image from NH Chapter of the Sierra Club

Concerned residents gathered peacefully to show support for and educate people about Standing Rock~Oceti Sakowin campsite on the Standing Rock Reservation and the controversial pipeline proposal. The groups oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline and encourage protecting the river, drinking water, and people, including Water Protectors, Indigenous and all people concerned about pipeline risks. Despite being asked to stop drilling, Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline developers, has decided to keep drilling.

For months now, members of the Standing Rock Sioux, and thousands of concerned citizens from across the country, have been fighting against the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. The proposed pipeline would cut through Native American tribal lands including ancient burial grounds.  The worst part of the proposed project is that the pipeline would have to cross the great Missouri River.  A minor leak in the pipeline would poison all of the people, the animals, and the crops that rely on the Missouri River for water.

Last month, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers halted the pipeline and are demanding a full environmental impact study to evaluate possible alternative routes.

Many rejoiced and the news spread quickly that the Army Corp of Engineers had halted the pipeline, but this is not the end for the Sioux.  There are likely to be many changes and challenges for these water protectors after a new Presidential administration takes office in January.

“We hope that Kelcey Warren, Governor Dalrymple, and the incoming Trump administration respect this decision and understand the complex process that led us to this point” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II. “When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes.”

Protecting our environment cannot be done by a few thousand people, scattered across the country.  The protests in Standing Rock have shown, what many who lived through the civil rights movement of the 1960s, that people standing together in peaceful opposition can become a massively powerful force.  We need to stand up and support those who were able to go to Standing Rock to hold the line against the greedy corporations willing to poison our land and destroy our drinking water.

Image from NH Chapter of the Sierra Club

Image from NH Chapter of the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club Of NH Endorses 83 “Environmental Champions” In 2016 Elections


CONCORD, NH—Today, the New Hampshire Chapter of the Sierra Club has released its list of carefully selected candidate endorsements for Governor, Executive Council, State Senate and State House of Representatives. The Chapter endorsements include 65 NH State Representatives, 14 State Senators, 3 Executive Councilors and a Gubernatorial candidates. Of the total 83 endorsed candidates, each has expressed concern for the New Hampshire environment supporting action on climate solutions, public land protections, and the impacts of pollution on human health.

“New Hampshire Sierra Club is pleased to announce the official endorsements for election of these Environmental Champions,” said Jim Allmendinger, the Political Committee Co-Chair for the New Hampshire Sierra Club.

“These candidates are our best hope for preserving clean air and clean water; protecting the wild places of New Hampshire, and promoting a sustainable clean energy future,” continued Allmendinger. “The incumbents worked hard to defend against the radical climate change denying conservative agenda that threatened to dismantle smart, popular energy programs and other successful state programs. The new candidates showed their support for key environmental issues facing the state, using creative problem solving techniques that will move New Hampshire toward a more progressive clean energy future.”

“New Hampshire Sierra Club endorsed these candidates based on responses to an in-depth questionnaire, voting record, and history of environmental involvement. The New Hampshire Sierra Club endorsement list will be distributed to the Sierra Club Members in the state online and in the mail. Members will be encouraged to volunteer and support the various campaigns in a vigorous state-wide member to member outreach program.”

Full list of endorsements here.

Ayotte’s Big Oil Cash & Votes Against Climate Action Featured In Statewide Sierra Club Ad Campaign

Sierra Club slams Ayotte in six figure digital ad buy targeting millennials

Washington, DC – The Sierra Club launched a six figure statewide digital ad buy, in New Hampshire today targeting millennial voters in the Granite State. The ad – entitled “Campaign Lifehacks with Kelly Ayotte” – focuses on the half million dollars in oil and gas company cash which Kelly Ayotte has taken for her campaign while voting against climate action and for big oil tax breaks.

“Granite Staters know that the climate crisis is accelerating and that we must act to stop it. But Kelly Ayotte has voted to thwart climate action in the U.S. Senate while preserving massive tax giveaways to the oil and gas industry sought by the Koch Brothers and other fossil fuel interests” said Sierra Club Political Director Khalid Pitts. “We can’t afford to send a climate disaster like Kelly Ayotte back to the U.S. Senate–New Hampshire needs a real climate and clean energy champion like Governor Maggie Hassan to stand up to the Koch Brothers and Big Oil by standing up for our communities.”

The ad will run from Tuesday, October 25 to Election Day on digital channels across New Hampshire. More information about the ad can be found at ayottenotfornh.com

Further announcements of additional ads holding Kelly Ayotte accountable for her record will be forthcoming in the days ahead.

Governor Maggie Hassan Accepts Sierra Club’s Endorsement

 CONCORD – Today, Governor Maggie Hassan accepted the Sierra Club’s endorsement at an event at Carter Hill Orchard. The Sierra Club is the nation’s largest grassroots conservation organization, with over 10,000 members and supporters in New Hampshire.

“I am deeply honored to receive the endorsement of the Sierra Club as we continue working together to protect our land, air and water,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “Throughout my time in office, I have worked with members of both parties to take stronger action to protect our environment, combat climate change and support clean energy alternatives to help our citizens, businesses and economy thrive. Unfortunately, Senator Kelly Ayotte has shown time and again that she puts her corporate special interest backers such as the Koch Brothers first at the expense of our natural resources and the health of our citizens. In the Senate, I will work across the aisle to build a stronger, clean energy future for our families and businesses.”

“Governor Maggie Hassan has been a climate champion for New Hampshire and understands that protecting our environment is more than just an election year issue,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “The Governor’s strong record stands in stark contrast with climate disaster Senator Kelly Ayotte, who has repeatedly voted to protect tax breaks for Big Oil, voted against clean water protections, and has said that the role of the Environmental Protection Agency needs to be reined in. The Sierra Club is proud to endorse Maggie Hassan for Senate because we know that she will always fight for our environment.”

As a State Senator, Governor Hassan sponsored the legislation that allowed the state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to reduce harmful emissions and energy costs, create jobs and encourage innovation in New Hampshire’s clean energy economy. She also helped pass the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to maintain and grow our clean, renewable energy sector.

As Governor, she has built on these efforts by signing bipartisan legislation to update RGGI and New Hampshire’s RPS, establishing a long-term New Hampshire Energy Strategy that focuses on clean, renewable energy, fully funding New Hampshire’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), and raising the net metering cap to help New Hampshire’s clean energy industry continue to grow and thrive. She was also proud to sign the Under 2 MOU, a global compact among cities, states and provinces worldwide to limit the increase in global average temperature to below two degrees Celsius.

In the Senate, Maggie will fight to build on New Hampshire’s progress and work to achieve a cleaner environment and stronger energy future that will help our citizens, businesses and economy thrive. Maggie supports policies such as setting a strong national target of 50 percent clean and carbon-free electricity by 2030 and expanding RGGI’s reach by encouraging more states to join. She will also work to build on New Hampshire’s leadership in boosting clean energy efforts by creating a strong national net metering model rule and extending clean energy tax incentives, while ending special tax breaks for Big Oil companies.

Meanwhile, Senator Kelly Ayotte has shown time and again that she sides with corporate special interests at the expense of our natural resources. Ayotte has voted multiple times to protect tax breaks for Big Oil, was the only New England Senator to vote against critical clean water protections and has an environmental record that is worse than former Senator Scott Brown’s.

Climate Change on the Table: Impacts on Agriculture, Local Food and Vulnerable Communities

Speakers at Climate Change on the Table Press Event Nov 2015

Speakers at Climate Change on the Table Press Event Nov 2015

CONCORD, NH – A gathering of New Hampshire groups, experts, and businesses discussed the agriculture and farming challenges from extreme weather events, invasive plants, and other climate impacts. Impacts seen in the farming community and from consumers were presented with special emphasis on more vulnerable communities in the state who experience food access hardships. Lastly, Jane Presby, owner of Dimond Hill Farm in Concord, gave a tour of the farm to point out examples of impacts around her farm (pictures attached).

NASA scientists have reported that 2015 is expected to be the hottest year on record[1]. The summer, the months of October and September were hotter than any other on record. What does it mean to increase the world temperature by a half of a degree? We all have heard about the dire predictions for moose, public health, and extreme weather events. But we have not heard much about the ways climate changes will impact the food at the table and the availability of food.

Impacts on the farm: Jane Presby, Dimond Hill Farm , Concord, NH

“Climate change is creating new challenges for the sustainability of food production in our region, our country, and our world,” said Jane Presby of Dimond Hill Farm. “Education is fundamental to understanding these changes and to becoming conscious consumers.”  

Dimond Hill Greenhouse with Jane Presby

Dimond Hill Greenhouse with Jane Presby

Jane Presby, owner of the Dimond Hill Farm in Concord, NH, calls her farm “icon of times gone by and a beacon for the resurgence of small farms and locally grown meat, dairy and vegetable products that is sweeping New Hampshire and the region.” Dimond Hill Farm is a 7th generation 150-acre farm that grows and sells vegetables from the farm stand located in the big yellow barn a hill overlooking Concord.

Jane prioritizes a variety of techniques to address climate vulnerabilities to still produce healthy crop yields, like invasive insects or plants; unusual early frosts or high temperatures; and unpredictable rainy or drought conditions. She uses greenhouses to control watering and temperature conditions for the vegetables to adjust to the less predictable shifting climate trends. Despite here best efforts and planning, Jane and her crew still can’t predict everything. This year the traditional expected rains did not come in April and she completely lost her bean crop. No beans were grown and none were sold this year. She plans to expand her greenhouses in the coming years.

Jane encourages everyone to visit their local farm to meet the farmers and shop at the farm stand to get their food. Not only does it give you the freshest fruits, meats, and vegetables, you can see where your food comes from and help our local economy become stronger and independent. You can find Dimond Hill Farm on Route 202/9 between Concord and Hopkinton, NH or online at http://dimondhillfarm.com/.

Impacts in New Hampshire and the Northeast: Erin Lane, USDA Northeast Climate Hub

“In our synthesis of assessed vulnerabilities in northeastern agriculture and forestry, we found that perennial crops such as tree fruit are among the region’s most vulnerable products,” said Erin Lane, Director for Partnerships with the USDA Northeast Climate Hub. “When an extended warm period causes premature leaf-out or bloom, and is followed by hard frost, crop losses can be high. Other top threats to northeastern agriculture include extreme precipitation, drought, and pests. On the flip side, a longer growing season could provide opportunities in the northeast. Adaptation can mean both adjusting to and taking advantage of variable weather conditions. Some strategies include promoting soil health, protecting our farm systems from the extremes, and using weather data to support practical decision-making.”

New Hampshire is home to the US Department of Agriculture’s Northeast Climate Hub. The Climate Hub mission from its website is:

“to develop and deliver science-based, region-specific information and technologies, with USDA agencies and partners, to agricultural and natural resource managers that enable climate-informed decision-making, and to provide access to assistance to implement those decisions.  This is in alignment with the USDA mission to provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.”

The Northeast Climate Hub region includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and D.C. In June 2015, the Northeast Hub released the Northeast and Northern Forests Regional Climate Hub Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies to provide a greater understanding about the climate shifting and the trends developing from the shifts. They found in New Hampshire three main trends affecting farmers:

  • Frosts after early spring hurt perennial crops. When an extended warm period causes premature leaf-out or bloom, and is followed by hard frost, crop losses can be high (which is what happened with apples in NH in 2012).
  • Extreme precipitation and wet springs are delaying planting and harvesting dates, causing flooding and soil compaction, damaging crop quality, and reducing vegetable yields.
  • Warmer temperatures on average cause more heat stress in livestock.

Dairy constitutes the most important agricultural activity in the Northeast, especially in New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont where milk is the leading agricultural commodity.  Given the economic importance of dairy to agriculture in the Northeast, the vulnerability of the industry is significant.  Warming daytime and nighttime temperatures, as are projected to occur during summer, will likely have adverse effects on milk production.  Heat stress also causes lower birthing rates and feed intake, again impacting milk production.

  •  A rise in minimum temperatures affect crop growth cycles causing earlier leaf out and flowering, longer growing seasons, and later senescence, which  may result in increases in production for heat tolerant crops and woody perennials but, shorter growing seasons for cool weather crops (e.g. potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage). Maple syrup season is coming earlier and is shorter. Weeds, pests and diseases are intensifying as ranges move northward.

Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies:

  •  Promote soil health using practices that protect soils from erosion (cover cropping and reducing tillage) while improving productivity and resilience to drought or extreme moisture.
  • Protect from extremes with hoop and high tunnel houses, ventilation systems, riparian buffers, expanded irrigation, and the shifting of production zones away from flood- and frost-prone areas.
  • Decision support tools provide better information faster to help managers improve practices such as: integrating pest management, shifting planting dates, adjusting feeding management, identifying and selecting better adapted varieties, breeds and cultivars.
  • Increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emission by retiring organic soils from cultivation and restoring forested wetlands, as well as improving manure management.

Impacts on the Most Vulnerable: Jessica Carson, Carsey School of Public Policy

“Recent estimates show that one in ten Granite Staters are food insecure, meaning that about 132,000 of our families, friends, and neighbors do not have access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle,” stated Jessica Carson, a Vulnerable Families Research Scientist at the Carsey School of Public Policy. “Households in poverty, headed by a person of color, with children, or in rural places are especially likely to be at risk for food insecurity, with nutritious foods often being less accessible and/or affordable for these groups. While the formal food safety net—food stamps, food pantries, school meals programs—go a long way, it is important to consider ways to continue improving the reach and efficacy of these programs to alleviate food insecurity.”

Research shows that one in ten New Hampshire households experienced food insecurity in the period between 2012 and 2014, meaning that 52,000 Granite State households did not have consistent access to enough nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. Risks for food insecurity are not uniform across the state. Households with children, headed by a female householder, headed by a black or Hispanic householder, in a rural community, or living below 200% of the federal poverty line are especially vulnerable.

Whether people can afford food is a critical factor in food security, but a second key element is the availability of food, a particularly important issue for rural Granite Staters. That is, where population density is low, the availability of traditional food sources like grocery stores, convenience stores, and farmers markets are likely sparse, as are food safety net resources, like food pantries and food service programs. Research from the Carsey School of Public Policy shows that communities with the lowest risk for food insecurity are clustered in the Southeastern part of the state (e.g., Merrimack-Bedford area and the Portsmouth-Rye area), while some of the highest-risk areas include some of our most rural communities, like the Northwestern parts of Coös County (e.g., Stratford, Northumberland) and parts of Western NH (Claremont-Newport area). While some of our bigger cities, like Manchester and Nashua, have high poverty rates, their high population density means that grocery stores and food safety net resources are more readily available.

Indeed, food safety net resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), free and reduced price school meals, and food pantries can be important resources for Granite Staters in need. However, it’s important to always consider how these kinds of resources might be more effective. For instance, among those who do receive SNAP benefits, New Hampshire’s average benefits are among the lowest in the nation, inadequate for meeting food costs even for the USDA’s thriftiest meal plan. In addition, there is a disconnect between those who are eligible and those who actually participate in many programs. Only one-in-three poor seniors receive SNAP benefits, and only 52 percent of eligible households participate in the School Breakfast Program. Intensifying community outreach to increase awareness, guiding eligible persons through the enrollment process, and working to ensure programs are delivered in useful and convenient ways may all increase efficacy of the food safety net.

Section on State-Wide Efforts with NH Food Alliance: Jennifer Wilhelm, NH Food Alliance

“Local efforts are underway to improve the connection between our local farmers, producers, and consumers so that products can reach markets effectively and profitably,” said NH Food Alliance researcher Jennifer Wilhelm. “One goal of NH Food Alliance is to increase food access to help address hunger in New Hampshire. The Granite State Market Match program opened the door for SNAP recipients to redeem credits at local farmers markets across the state. Another goal is to help food producers to support local farmers, like the relationship between LaBelle Winery in Amherst, NH and Aylison’s Orchard in Walpole, NH.”

The NH Food Alliance is a growing network of people working together to build a food system that is good for people, businesses, communities, and the environment. Together with a diversity of stakeholders from all sectors of the food system, the NH Food Alliance is working to connect the good work already underway, and to advance Farm, Fish, and Food Enterprise Viability in New Hampshire.

NH Food Alliance is supporting and building the network of food system professionals, organizations, and businesses working within New Hampshire. By shining a light on successes, sharing information, and promoting learning innovation and great ideas can multiply across the state. We also make new connections between groups and individuals, generate new information and research, and coordinate advocacy around issues.

There are several great examples of work being done that supports enterprise viability and market development, improving both food access and increasing income for businesses.

  • Granite State Market Match program for SNAP recipients
  • Three River Farmers Alliance
  •  Local businesses buying local food: Throwback Brewery, LaBelle Winery, Concord Hospital

By working together to rethink our local food system, we not only support food entrepreneurs, but also improve food access for all New Hampshire residents, and reduce the distance food travels to our plates. NH Food Alliance information and reports can be found at http://www.nhfoodalliance.com/.

Individual Action: Catherine Corkery, NH Sierra Club

“New Hampshire is not immune to the impacts of climate – though at times the worst of the worst happens far from our communities. The effects of climate do not take holidays off; rather, during the holidays it amplifies the hardship,” stated Catherine Corkery of New Hampshire Sierra Club. “Supporting local farms, fisheries, and food producers creates demand for their products which promotes local solutions to climate impacts and hunger.” 

Climate research shows that the most vulnerable in our society will be often last to adapt and most severely burdened so it comes to bear in New Hampshire. With humility and generosity, deliberate action can help address local hunger and climate by promoting our local farms.

Our communities benefit by having farms nearby as open space, as local producers, and as economic drivers. We need farms for many more reasons. As the farmers attempt to address progressively less predictable weather, the cycle of crop failures and adaptation increase instability. When farmers are unable to grow their food efficiently, higher demand pushes food prices higher. More unsold food is left on the shelves resulting in hunger to those unable to buy food and hardship to the farmers who cannot sell their produce. Less viable farms mean fewer farms.

Another example of climate change impacting our local food and economy is the shrimp industry. The Gulf of Maine has warmed pretty steadily since 2004 with 2012 a record warm year at all depths. Though there has been some variability the overall trend has been a warming one for a decade or more now. A report prepared by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Technical Committee in October 2014 details the climate changes and harvesting trends.

The Northern shrimp industry was a $12 million dollar industry on average for the Gulf of Maine fisheries. The importance of the shrimp harvest cannot be overstated as shrimp fishing occurred during the winter months after lobstering decreases profitability. This winter will be the second year in a row for total closure. And the two previous seasons 2012 and 2013 were very bad as well causing the complete closure.

An incomplete list of suggestions to address hunger and climate at once is included.

Things You Can Do To Help Address Hunger as Climate Action

Please consider these alternatives regularly as good practice or in times of need:

1.   Shop at your local farms and farmers markets for the freshest vegetables, meats, and fruits. Most NH farmers markets accept SNAP coupons.

2.   Try a CSA subscription – Community Supported Agriculture programs provide weekly fresh food deliveries for you and your family while giving the farmer the security of regular clientele. There are often easy payment programs and you get a ton of food every week. Learn more about CSAs in NH at the NH Department of Agriculture,  http://agriculture.nh.gov/publications-forms/agricultural-development.htm

3.   Eat seasonally – by eating foods in season in your area, you can reduce costs, like costs associated with transportation and environmental impacts.

4.   Find resources at the NH Food Bank: http://www.nhfoodbank.org/

5.   Try something new – sometimes an unfamiliar local vegetable or fish can be cheaper and delicious.

6.   Grow a garden – no matter how small or large, in containers or in the front yard. You can eat what you grow, share with your neighbors, or bring it to your local soup kitchen.

7.   Cook all your food for one week or whole month to improve nutritional value and lower costs.

8.   Reduce the uneaten or spoiled produce by buying only what you need.

9.   Community Meals at local churches, granges and community centers is a great way to lower costs and meet your neighbors.

To help those in need

1.   Host a Food Drive: at work, in your neighborhood, at church, at school, at the hockey game.

2.   The New Hampshire Food Bank needs volunteers year round. Hunger knows no boundaries and can hide in plain sight.

3.   Donate items to the food bank, soup kitchen, local programs, and other service groups. http://www.nhfoodbank.org/

4.   Volunteer your time with food programs for people in your town, like school children, homelessness, and the elderly.

5.   One on One: carpool grocery runs with an elderly person, refugee family, or a busy neighbor; plan a neighborhood cooking group to explore and share cooking experiences.

6.   Grow a garden – no matter how small or large, in containers or in the front yard. You can eat what you grow, share with your neighbors, or bring it to your local soup kitchen.

NH Sierra Club Opposes Northern Pass

The Burden is Too Great for NH Property Owners, Economy, and Ratepayers.

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Chapter of Sierra Club, 10,000 members and supporters, announced its opposition to the Northern Pass. The Sierra Club goal is to support a 100% fossil-free power sector for energy efficient homes, businesses, schools, and municipalities in the United States by 2030. New Hampshire Sierra Club (NHSC) endorses investment increases for grid modernization, weatherization, energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy projects, as envisioned in the NH 10 Year Energy Strategy. 

Flooding Canada for Profits:

In October, 2010, Public Service Company of New Hampshire, now Eversource, announced the Northern Pass. The project, if built, will transmit electricity generated in Canada and owned by the Province of Quebec for sale to greater New England. A Province of Quebec owned company, Hydro Quebec, has dammed waterways, flooding vast land areas. The dammed water generates the electricity using turbines. In order to market the electricity, Hydro Quebec needs a pathway to build infrastructure to sell the electricity to Massachusetts and Connecticut, and New York. The proposed pathway is though New Hampshire. 

PSNH owns rights of way it acquired around 75 years ago using rate payer money to bring necessary electricity to homes and businesses in New Hampshire from its fossil fired generating plants in Portsmouth and Bow. The electricity is transmitted along the old rights of way to substations where the voltage, usually 115 kV, is reduced for distribution to New Hampshire customers. 

PSNH, now Eversource, proposes to rent the old rights of way to Hydro Quebec to serve as a corridor to transmit the electricity to greater New England. The transmission facilities will require the construction of steel towers as high as 135 feet on massive concrete foundations. There are two distinct sections of the project. North of Franklin, NH the transmitted electricity will be high voltage direct current (DC) rated at 300+/- volts, meaning as high as 600 kV. In Franklin, a 21 acre converter station will be built to transition the DC to alternating current (AC). The second section, South of Franklin, will run alongside existing transmission and distribution lines approximately 34 miles to Deerfield. The AC transmission towers, rated 345 kV, will vary from 48 feet to 135 feet. It is worth repeating that the new towers will, in most areas, be constructed next to the existing 115 kV wires that bring electricity to New Hampshire.

NHSC opposes Northern Pass because:

“Flooding vast areas of Quebec, eradicating wildlife, displacing Native People, installing towers and wires or digging a trench across New Hampshire will be a permanent scar. That is why New Hampshire Sierra Club opposes Northern Pass,” continued Jerry Curran from Amherst. “More flooding is happening now. There is no guarantee that Hydro Quebec will stop flooding rivers and valleys. The Northern Pass can only encourage more flooding.”

“NHSC supports more investments in energy efficiency and weatherization in our homes, businesses, schools and municipal buildings, as developed in Governor Hassan’s 10 Year Energy Strategy,” stated Catherine Corkery, NHSC Chapter Director. “Studies have shown significant potential in all sectors in New Hampshire (residential, industrial and commercial) to save millions of dollars with energy efficiency and weatherization alone. Further, ISO New England has predicted annual energy demand to grow less than 1% until 2021. We need to invest in our needs and demands before approving massive projects, like Northern Pass.” 

“The burden of Northern Pass is too great for New Hampshire property owners, economy, and ratepayers. The transmission pathway wrongly assumes that the right-of-way easements allow for rent to Hydro Quebec,” continued Corkery. “The easements were purchased with rate payer money for needed transmission and distribution to New Hampshire homes, farms and businesses. Eversource, doing business as Northern Pass, has no right to rent easements to foreign governments to sell Hydro Quebec energy. The safety of burying under road ways is unknown. The transmission towers or digging a trench through the heart of New Hampshire will impact property values negatively. Buried or left above ground, this proposal is a bad deal for New Hampshire” 

“Last month the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared the summer of 2015 the hottest summer on record. With 14 out the 15 hottest years ever recorded having occurred since 2000, it’s undeniable that climate change is affecting us here and now,” stated Jim Allmendinger of Durham. “We urgently need to address carbon emissions and invest in our own communities, infrastructure, homes, and renewable energy now, not later.” 

“The Northern Pass opposition will need more volunteers to win,” stated Jerry Curran, NHSC Chapter Chair. “We are asking current rights of way easement holders under threat of Northern Pass to share your easement forms to further instruct our efforts to oppose Northern Pass. Please scan your easements and send to NHSC603@gmail.com or mail them to our office. If folks have questions or are willing to volunteer, send us a note to NHSC603@gmail.com or call our Concord office 603-224-8222.”

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