After a brief hiatus, we are very excited to announce the launch of our next The Local Crowd Upper Valley campaign: Building Community Through Food, which will help the New Hampshire-based group Abenaki Helping Abenaki (AHA) reduce hunger among community members, tribal and non-tribal alike.
The Local Crowd is a national platform that allows community members to support local community initiatives through donations big and small. We are proud to lead the Upper Valley chapter that has hosted fundraises for local businesses and initiatives — raising over $370,000! This type of community resource sharing can make a meaningful difference for small local projects with big plans but small budgets.
We hope you can donate today to this next campaign to raise $5,000 to help community members in Southern New Hampshire continue to build community through food and increase access to food year-round.
Here’s how Building Community Through Food came to be:
AHA’s food and community projects began several years ago when Darryl Peasley, a member of the AHA Board of Director, was looking up used cider mills online. He got a call from his cousin, asking him what he thought about trying to make some cider. They hadn’t talked about it before that point. Call it coincidence or call it fate, so began one of Abenaki Helping Abenaki’s (AHA) first food security projects.
Fast forward a few years, Darryl now works alongside friends, family, and community members on four different food-related projects: the Seed Project, Apple Cider Project, Maple Syrup Project, and the AHA Food Pantry.
The Seed Project is run in conjunction with the Kearsarge Food Hub and other partners. Each year they collect seeds at harvest, store them for the winter, and redistribute them to local growers during the planting season.
The Apple Cider Project is a joyful community effort that has produced over 100 gallons of apple cider. The apples are sourced from local farms or from people’s personal property. The cider is milled, packaged, and then either sold or gifted to community members.
The Maple Syrup Project builds upon the practices of the Algonquin, Abenaki, and Penacook people – the first tribes to make maple syrup. They tap the trees, collect the sap, boil it down to syrup, and distribute it throughout the community. Their efforts will be even more expansive this upcoming sugaring season now that they are able to tap 11 more acres of sugar bush.
Last but certainly not least, the AHA Food Pantry provides processed and locally grown foods to community members all year round. Community members can often find vegetables grown through the Seed Project, hand-pressed apple cider from the Cider Project, and delicious maple syrup from the Maple Syrup Project stocking the food pantry shelves. These sit alongside other fresh and shelf-stable foods, as well as high-quality meats.
The “Building Community Through Food” campaign will support and enhance these projects through the completion of a community gathering place with upgraded equipment for cider making, syrup boiling, and seed saving. Having the proper infrastructure provides more opportunities to expand production, keep things up to code, and invite community members to come together during cider and syrup seasons. Donate today to help support these community food projects!