Skip Navigation

Farm to Plate

 

Farm to plate3  Farm to Plate 4 Farm to plate1
L to R: Rick Ellsmore, NRCS State Conservationist, Market Manager Joan O’Connor, FSA Executive Director Jay Phinizy, State Senator Martha Fuller Clark, Commissioner Lorraine Merrill, and Governor Maggie Hassan. 
 
L to R: Senator Martha Fuller Clark, Commissioner Lorraine Merrill, and Governor Maggie Hassan.

 
L to R: Rep Jane Johnson; Joan O’Connor; Hon. Tara Sad, Chair House Environment and Agriculture; Rep. Peter Bixby; Gov. Maggie Hassan signing Farm to Plate Bill; John Carroll; Commissioner Merrill; Sen. Martha Fuller Clark (Sponsor).
 


Governor Maggie Hassan ceremoniously signed SB 141, the "Farm to Plate Law", when she kicked-off National and NH Farmers Market Week on August 8th at the Tilton, NH Farmers Market. This law establishes state policy “to encourage and support local food producers, farming, and fisheries, including businesses engaged in agriculture, the raising and care of livestock, dairy, fishing, foraging, and aquaculture, agritourism, horticulture, orchard management, maple syrup production, and the associated local and regional businesses that process, purchase, distribute, and sell such food throughout the state.”

The main sponsors of the legislation, Senator Martha Fuller Clark, Tara Sad, and John Reagan were in attendance along with other NH legislators, NH Commissioner of Agriculture, Lorraine Merrill, USDA Farm Service Agency Executive Director, Jay Phinizy, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist, Rick Ellsmore.  Mr. Phinizy and Mr. Ellsmore presented a United States Department of Agriculture Certificate of Appreciation to Joan O'Connor, the Tilton Farmers Market Manager, for her years of work in support of New Hampshire farmers markets.

The law, reprinted below, states that, to the extent possible, local governments shall consider the policy and principles of this section when adopting local law, or when enforcing existing law and regulations.

SB141:

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fourteen

AN ACT establishing the Granite State farm to plate program.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

312:1 New Section; The Granite State Farm to Plate Food Policy and Principles. Amend RSA 425 by inserting after section 2 the following new section:

425:2-a The Granite State Farm to Plate Food Policy and Principles.

I. It is the policy of the state of New Hampshire through the department of agriculture, markets, and food and in conjunction with other state agencies to encourage and support local food producers, farming, and fisheries, including businesses engaged in agriculture, the raising and care of livestock, dairy, fishing, foraging, and aquaculture, agritourism, horticulture, orchard management, maple syrup production, and the associated local and regional businesses that process, purchase, distribute, and sell such food throughout the state.

II. State agencies, including the department of agriculture, markets, and food, the department of resources and economic development, the department of health and human services, the department of environmental services, the department of transportation, the department of education, the university of New Hampshire college of life sciences and agriculture, and the university of New Hampshire cooperative extension shall strive for interagency cooperation as well as cooperation with public and private entities to foster local, state, and regional food systems that adhere to the Granite State farm to plate principles below:

(a) Agriculture in New Hampshire represents a vital part of both the state’s rural and urban economies and the larger food systems that connect it with the state’s local and regional economies and the public.

(b) Consumer demand from individuals and institutions, including New Hampshire public schools, universities, child care facilities, after-school programs, restaurants, hospitals, and prisons, for locally grown and produced food is growing and deserves support from the state and state agencies.

(c) Support of local food economies is vital to public health of our residents and to the viability and livability of our communities.

(d) Increased access to healthy food occurs when local and regional community-based food production, processing, aggregation, distribution, marketing, and retail work together to build markets for healthy food.

(e) New Hampshire citizens and communities face social and environmental health issues connected to food, hunger, malnutrition, incidences of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Increased access to local, healthy food is needed to address such multifaceted issues.

(f) Local and regional food economies are a vital source of employment in our communities. Promoting the growth of such local food economies will enhance economic development and job growth throughout the state.

(g) Economic development opportunities among New Hampshire’s cities and towns are facilitated by state and local governments cooperating to remove obstacles and excessive financial burdens to farms and associated businesses, including farmers’ markets, cooperatives, food hubs, fisheries, and processing centers.

(h) All levels of government shall consider the findings of the Farm Viability Task Force of 2006-2007 as well as consider advocating farmland preservation efforts that would permanently protect farmland with voluntary agricultural conservation easements that place priority on protection of agricultural resources and production to ensure our state’s future capacity to produce food.

(i) The New Hampshire dairy industry is vital to the state’s economy. It impacts state and local economies via millions of dollars in total economic output, thousands of jobs and millions more dollars in labor income. The dairy industry should be further supported through the milk producers emergency relief fund as specified in RSA 184:107, and other methods that will encourage the success of the state’s dairy industry.

(j) Federal governmental programs provide significant opportunities for the state to obtain federal funding that supports the development of local food systems, such as use of federal benefits at farmers’ markets.

(k) Recognizing that a broad array of entities and organizations are already working together to promote New Hampshire local and regional food systems and participants, including agricultural producers, processors, distributors, and consumers, the input of such groups is vital to the construction of a more diverse and productive set of New Hampshire food systems.

III. To the extent possible, local governments shall consider the policy and principles of this section when adopting local law, or when enforcing existing law and regulation.

312:2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved: August 1, 2014

Effective Date: August 1, 2014