Valley Farm Fresh Connects Consumers with Local Farms & Food

Finding and enjoying local foods from Upper Valley farms just got easier with Valley Farm Fresh, a new marketing campaign launched by Vital Communities.

Valley Farm Fresh encourages Upper Valley consumers to buy local foods from the region’s many farmers through an improved, mobile-friendly Valley Food & Farm Guide, recipes and educational materials, and a calendar of farm-related events – all available online at

“We’re excited to launch the Valley Farm Fresh campaign to help connect consumers with the Upper Valley’s diverse farms and the local foods they produce,” said Becka Warren, Valley Food & Farm manager at Vital Communities.

“Our recent in-depth market assessment revealed, among other things, that farms want to sell more product direct to consumers, while consumers need better resources to help them find and use local foods. The new campaign works toward both of those goals. The new cooking tips and recipes provided at are all about our region’s foods. For example, our recent blog post about defrosting meat in a hurry is focused on helping consumers use meat from local farms.”

Supported through a grant from the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program, Vital Communities’ Valley Farm Fresh campaign is a multi-channel effort to raise the visibility and accessibility of local farms and food within the Upper Valley, and to increase the region’s direct sales from farmer to consumer. The campaign features online resources, Facebook and Instagram outreach, advertisements, and printed recipes and information for farmers to share at their farmstands and markets. To learn more, visit or contact Becka at

And the Winners Are…

Caption: Paul Coats, director of Recreation and Parks for the City of Lebanon, discusses the Mascoma River Greenway at the TMA 13th Annual Meeting.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Resource Systems Group, Advance Transit, and a Hartland bicycle commuter were honored at the 13th annual meeting of the Upper Valley Transportation Management Association (TMA), a program of Vital Communities. The annual awards recognize organizations and individuals making it easier to bike, walk, carpool, and ride the bus in the Upper Valley.

“This year’s award winners demonstrate our region’s commitment to healthy, affordable, and sustainable transportation options,” said Aaron Brown, Vital Communities’ transportation program manager. “Though we live in a rural region, the Upper Valley serves as a model for providing access to good transportation in small-town America.”

The TMA honored one individual and three organizations:

  • Commuter of the Year: Bicycle commuter Jesse Hills of Hartland was honored for his commitment to biking year-round to his job at Mt. Ascutney Hospital.
  • Large Workplace of the Year: Dartmouth-Hitchcock was recognized for its years of support for public transit and its new sustainability council, which features a transportation team.
  • Small Workplace of the Year: Resource Systems Group was honored for innovative programs including co-locating near transit and offering subsidies to employees who purchase homes close to the workplace.
  • Project of the Year: Advance Transit’s Green Route expansion, which improved service to every 30 minutes and increased the route’s ridership 50 percent.

Keynote speaker Paul Coats, director of Recreation and Parks for the City of Lebanon, discussed the unique fundraising success that will make the Mascoma River Greenway a reality in the coming years.

The Upper Valley TMA is a program of Vital Communities that works to reduce reliance on driving alone. The TMA’s members include local municipalities, transit agencies, major employers, and three regional planning commissions.

High School Local First PSA Contest 2015

Winners have been named in our second annual Upper Valley High Communications Competition! Please join us in congratulating Becky Kelecy for best Print Public Service Announcement (PSA), Damien Murray for Television PSA, and Tess Johnson for the winning Radio PSA. Becky and Tess hail from Hartford and Damian is representing Lebanon High School. All are seniors in the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center’s Media Arts program taught by Felicia Allard. Their public service announcements will support Local First Alliance’s ongoing media campaign and answer the question: Why is it cool to shop at locally owned businesses? Submissions from 11 students were evaluated and winners selected by the Local First Alliance Steering Committee.

“We all really appreciate having a meaningful class assignment for an organization that helps our communities,” said Lebanon High School Student and television PSA winner, Damien Murray.

The winning print PSA will run in the Valley News and on the back of a Chippers truck, the winning radio PSA will run on Great Eastern Radio stations, and the winning television PSA will run on our local tv stations. Each winning artist received a $100 cash award courtesy of Lake Sunapee Bank, Mascoma Savings Bank, and Vital Communities with a $100 gift certificate generously donated by Great Eastern Radio and Lebanon Village Pizza.

“The competition was tough this year with several excellent submissions in each category. We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with these talented students and to mutually benefit from their hard work.” – Emily Gardner, Local First Alliance Manager

Watch for these amazing PSA’s in our community throughout the rest of this year and join us as we continue to urge our community to remember to keep it local and look for the logo!