Our mission is to reinvigorate our community around a restorative local food system through community outreach, increasing food access, and promoting economic and environmental viability.
We believe that healthy communities are built around growing, preparing, and sharing food (and ideas!)
- We engage in educational outreach through farm to school efforts, and by disseminating information through campaigns and events.
- We develop and maintain partnerships with local organizations, facilitate conversation and connections, and host volunteers.
- We strive to create collective community space and bring people together over local food.
We believe that access to healthy local food is a basic human right (and it's just what the world needs!)
- We operate Sweet Beet Market to bridge the gap between producer and consumer through a reliable, consistent and inclusive marketplace.
- We work with local pantries to ensure all our neighbors have access to healthy local foods.
- We are currently assessing the possibility for wholesale distribution of local goods.
We believe that a resilient local food economy is based in responsible land and resource use, sustainable business practices, and collaboration between all players.
- We engage with local farmers to share knowledge and infrastructure, advocate for producer needs, and contribute to building a resilient network.
- We are operate Sweet Beet Farm, our own small farm based in the research and implementation of regenerative farming techniques and growing food for market.
- We host and promote educational opportunities related to regenerative farming and collaboration within our food system.
The Kearsarge Food Hub was formed in the fall of 2014 by four Kearsarge natives and one Maine transplant who felt strongly about protecting the beauty of our natural world and its ability to provide for and nurture us and future generations.
We were all called, in our own ways, to the same paramount challenge: to reforge a sense of community around a localized food system. We came together over meals and informal meetings, not knowing exactly where or how to begin. We reached out to local farmers, producers, and community members, and slowly things began to come into focus...
We started putting down roots in Bradford, NH. We began by cultivating land, feeling strongly about reclaiming the knowledge of how to grow food. This land was generously donated to us by enthusiastic community members - a perfect example of how ready people were to see growth in Bradford, and how willing they were to contribute.
From there, we built a roadside farm stand, Sweet Beet. We created our own definition of local: a 30-mile radius around Bradford. We began aggregating from producers within this radius, forging important relationships with the people doing the tough boots-on-the-ground work of growing and preparing food from nature. We sold their goods, and our own produce from Sweet Beet Farm, to eager patrons.
Our team grew from 5 to 6 to 8, and so on...
Our contributing producers grew, too. From 10, to 20, to 30+.
Sweet Beet Farm Stand was a pilot project, a way to start opening new market channels for farmers and create reliable access to local food for patrons. It was a relatively low investment project where we could begin engaging with the local food network while remaining open to the needs of the individuals within the system and to the system as a whole. We were careful to remain flexible enough to adapt quickly to new challenges and opportunities that came our way, still not fully knowing our place or the best way to help. We were also careful to grow at a steady and sustainable pace and not bury ourselves in debt. We did this by being resourceful, accepting help, and collaborating with others whenever possible.
After two seasons in the farm stand, we had a new opportunity for growth. A local organization, Unless, LLC. had just purchased and old abandoned inn across town. The old Bradford Inn. They shared our mission of reviving a sense of community in Bradford. We struck up a partnership, moved Sweet Beet to this new space in the fall of 2016 (becoming a year-round indoor market) and began dreaming of more resources to build into this 10,000 sq. ft. building.
This became the Bradford INNovation Project - an attempt at creating community space with an emphasis on local food. Over the past year we designed the first floor, raised over $30,000 from our community to contribute to the project, and dug into building renovations led by Bauer Construction.
Now we are just about to unveil Phase One of this project - an updated Sweet Beet Market space, the Village Cafe, a shared-use commercial kitchen, and event space. Not all of this is the Kearsarge Food Hub itself, but a constellation of different entities working together, including building owner Unless, LLC., the Village Café, and the Hub. It's a massive community project, and that list of contributors is growing as more uses for the building come into view, like office space and shared wellness space.
It's been four years. Four years of making new fields, growing food, making connections, building structures, carrying out grant projects and making it up as we go along. Four years of community collaborations, new opportunities, school visits, food pantry deliveries, and fundraising. Four years of seeing the big picture while getting into the nitty gritty. There is no one way, no one right answer to localizing the food supply and reestablishing community. It is constant problem solving, communication and innovation...and we love every minute!
We were always driven by our guiding mission, but now we are officially a federally registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. We are delighted and excited to function as a charitable organization based in education and community collaboration.
And it's only the beginning!
What We've Achieved
- Spring 2018: Received Capital Area Wellness Coalition's Well Done! Award
- Summer 2017: Raised over $30,000 for the Bradford INNovation Project
- January 2017: Received NOFA-NH's 2016 Outstanding New Farmers of the Year award
- 2016: Donated 2,600 lb of food to local pantries.
- December 2016: Sweet Beet Market opened in a new location at the old Bradford Inn.
- Summer 2016: Began distributing to local restaurants
- Summer 2016: Raised over $6000 through our first fundraising campaign
- 2016: Launched a grant-funded business development workshop series
- Summer 2015: Sweet Beet Farm Stand opened it doors!