NCAT’s Northeast Team is rearing to go in 2018 with a new office in New Hampshire. They brought on an outreach specialist and have plans to do work in helping farmers expand to new markets and help veterans find opportunities in agriculture.
Farming in New England is hard. The winters are long and the rocks seem to grow faster than the potatoes. With perseverance, resilience, and ingenuity, farmers have continued to work the land. They have kept agriculture in the northeastern U.S. consistently on the cutting edge, bringing the region to the forefront of the local food movement. In February 2017, The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) moved its Northeast Office to be in the center of that innovation. With a new office in downtown Keene, NH, and a new outreach specialist, the team plans to support partner organizations and extend technical assistance to farmers in regenerative agriculture.
“NCAT was founded over 40 years ago on the idea of small-scale, local, and sustainable solutions in energy and agriculture. Here in the Northeast Regional Office, we rely on that experience in our work with farmers and community food systems, but we recognize that we’re not working alone. We look forward to meeting new partners and developing new projects that will continue to build the health of our soil and, with it, the strength of our communities,” says Andy Pressman, Northeast Regional Director. Andy moved to New Hampshire in 2010 and specializes in whole farm planning, organic crop production, and appropriately scaled agricultural tools and equipment. He and his family also run Foggy Hill Farm and CSA in Jaffrey, NH.
Lee Rinehart, Agriculture Specialist, has worked in livestock and pasture management for the past 20 years. Lee has found a new passion in ecological fisheries. He is collaborating with the non-profit Greenwave. Greenwave grows food while sequestering carbon and reducing dangerous wave activity on coastlines, with the goal of providing meaningful work for displaced fishers and aspiring farmers. “I’m excited that so many farmers and organizations are taking Aldo Leopold’s land ethic to the water,” notes Lee. “Our burgeoning fisheries work complements the efforts by partner organizations to bring new opportunities to coastal communities.”
Daniel Prial, Community Food and Outreach Specialist, has recently joined the team and comes with a background in outreach and community development from the Peace Corps and the National Park Service. Since moving to New Hampshire in 2014, he’s been pulled into the local-food movement. “I can’t help it!” he confesses. “I personally like good food, local food, organic food. It’s what I cook at home and it’s what I serve my friends and family. How could I not get involved?” Before coming to NCAT, Daniel was working on reports on the food system and partnering with the Community Kitchen in Keene, NH.
Andy, Lee, and Daniel are knee deep in their project work for 2018, which includes:
- Workshops for farmers on what it takes to scale up and start selling to institutions, restaurants, food hubs, and grocery stores;
- Hosting screenings and discussions of the new film documentary “Farmers for America.”
- Two, week-long trainings for veterans looking to transition out of the military and into farming: one in Troy, New Hampshire, and one with the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC; and
- Development of resources and trainings on sustainable pasture management and rotational grazing.