Farmers are known to have some of the best stories around as they deal, day in and day out, with ornery animals, recalcitrant machinery, and the unpredictability of the weather. But these stories can offer more than entertainment: sharing them also can help farmers combat the isolation and stress that often comes with farming, especially during a pandemic, and can cut farmers off from potentially helpful information, resources, and camaraderie.
An upcoming event offers farmers a time to meet each other and share stories in a low-key, friendly setting, with refreshments and social time:
Farmer to Farmer: Meet, Greet, and Swap Stories
Wednesday, February 8, 5:30-6:30 pm (Snow date: Thursday, Feb 9, same time)
Stonewall Farm Community Room
242 Chesterfield Rd, Keene, NH
Free, but registration requested
Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/farmer-to-farmer-meet-greet-and-swap-stories-tickets-489956401787B
Led by a facilitator offering prompts to kickstart the conversation, the event concludes with an overview of the services offered by Farm Strong NH, a collaborative effort to address farmer stress, mental health, and suicide in New Hampshire. The event is co-hosted by Vital Communities and Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition, which works to build a robust, effective, equitable, and sustainable local food system throughout the Monadnock Region.
In dealing with the isolation that has affected everyone during the pandemic, farmers have a unique set of challenges and experiences, said Cameron Huftalen, a Vital Communities project manager, who will facilitate the event.
“We hope that this event will allow folks to share their stories — about the good and the difficult that comes with farm work — with other farmers who have likely faced similar situations,” Huftalen said. “When talking to many folks unfamiliar with farming, it’s hard to convey just what the work is to people who haven’t experienced it themselves. We want to remove that barrier by bringing together folks who all are in the farming realm.”
This event is part of an ongoing project of Vital Communities and the Farm Strong NH program to nurture peer-to-peer connection for farmers in New Hampshire.
The February 8 event is the first of three story swaps that Huftalen will facilitate. Others are:
- “Farmer to Farmer Gathering with Vital Communities,” Saturday, February 11, 2:30-3:30 pm, a workshop in the NOFA-NH 21st Annual Conference at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH. Information and registration: https://www.nofanh.org/nofawinterconference
- “Farmer to Farmer Story Sharing,” Wednesday, March 2, 5:30-6:30 pm, Kearsarge Food Hub Community Room, 11 West Main St., Bradford, NH. Register here.