Happenings Now Outreach

First “Community Conversation”

On March 22nd, thirty-two people gathered in the Holy Cross Community Center to eat together, hear short talks, and discuss the needs and resources in Weare around food and hunger.  We learned about:

Who is hungry and what the resources are in Weare (Deb Urella, town welfare officer)

  • The town food pantry and thrift store that helps fund it (Peggy Bailey, director)
  • A community garden project at the John Stark Regional High School (Suzanne Carmichael, Gabrielle Bougher)
  • Prime farm lands in Weare and the efforts to encourage farming and make it economically sustainable (Wendy Stevens, Weare Agricultural Commission)
  • Successes in conserving working land (forest, farms); efforts to connect landless farmers with landowners of agricultural lands who aren’t working them (Ian McSweeney, Russell Foundation)
  • The idea of permacultural—“permanent culture,” which functions as nature does to provide beauty and food with a minimum of effort (Val White, EarthScapes of NH, Weare Garden Club)
Participants heard from a wide range of people involved in combating hunger in our area.

There was great energy and enthusiasm about working together to make Weare a place that feeds its people, encourages local agriculture, and builds community.   Some of the needs or ideas included:

Expanding the food pantry to having hours on a Monday or Friday—8 to 12 volunteers needed

  • Getting townspeople to help care for the garden at John Stark RHS during July and August, so that the produce is used at the food pantry
  • Investigating the idea of community dinners to provide community and food to those who hunger for relationships or food or both
  • Having master gardeners be mentors to new gardeners

We also talked about starting a food blog or central website for sharing information and events.  We also are considering a showing of “The Power of Community,” a film about Cuba’s agricultural revolution, which was born out of necessity when its oil supplies were cut off.  This may happen at Holy Cross on Friday, April 27th.  Stay tuned!  There will be other “Community Conversations” in the future.