Grown Connected is an effort that was started by an idea and hope. Though the region has a vibrant and populous farming community, research showed that the consumers in the region were not using them as a consistent source for their regular shopping. So the "Grown ConNECTed" project was born.
The phrase indicates that there is more than just the labor that a farmer puts into the products they produce. There is a community they are connected with, that supports them through not just buying their products, but creating relationships that make every meal- for the farmer and consumer, a little richer in it's meaning (and flavor too!) That when we are connected as a community through our food, we create more jobs for our local economies, more opportunities to learn from each other, and more guarantees that our farming community will be preserved.
Behind the Connections
Grown ConNECTed is currently coming out of the Sustainable Food Programs at UConn CAHNR Extension. We work with Farmers throughout the region to inform our work and provide support for consumers and Farmers. The hope is that this project will help make local food more visible, and more convenient for the people of the "Quiet Corner" so that the can get a full taste of local flavor on their plates.
UConn Extension Educator, Sustainable Food Systems
Jiff Martin is an active program manager of several extension programs promoting local food and assisting new farm enterprises for the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. She has worked for over 12 years on food and agriculture issues in Connecticut.
Becca is a part time farmer and a part time helper at UConn Extension to get the word out about programs that we are doing in Northeast CT and around the state! She takes care of social media and farmer communique so let her know what you want to see and hear about!
Sustainable Food Systems Programs Assistant
Alyssa Benoit is a graduate student at UConn's Master in Public Administration program. Alyssa values knowing where and who her food came from, and supporting the local farms and families behind it, which drives her passion as she helps Grown ConNECTed.
Local Food Ambassador
Joy helps promote NE CT farms because in addition to providing fresher, better tasting and more nutritious farm goods, it helps to preserve the way of life that she grew up in- on a farm in Hampton. Supporting local farms also means maintaining farmland and the quintessential New England countryside that she loves.
Local Food Ambassador
Zainab knows that people have always connected through food and the beauty of nourishing those you love. Quality food should easily be traced to the source, which is right here in our communities. Supporting local farms benefits everybody and she's here to play her part.
Our Farm Advisory Team
Kelly Caisse- KD Crop Farms, Chaplin
Robert Chang- Echo Farm, Woodstock
Art Talmadge & Sherry Simpson- Cranberry Hill Farm, Ashford
Charlotte Ross- Sweet Acre Farm, Woodstock
Susan Mitchell- Cloverleigh Farm, Columbia
Cari Donaldson- Ghostfawn Homestead, Willington
Joe Orefice- Hidden Blossom Farm, Union
Libby Tarleton- Russo's Roots, Canterbury
Betsy Molodich- Betsy's Stand, Sterling
Nancy Barrett- Scantic Valley Farm, Somers
Yoko Takemura- Assawaga Farm, Putnam
Nick Weinstock & Danielle Larese- BOTL Farm, Ashford
As many of the towns in our Grown ConNECTed Northeast Region are part of the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor, we work closely with them and their work to "connect people with the abundant and diverse natural, historical and cultural resources within eastern Connecticut ... We advocate to sustain our region’s legacy for future generations."
They have and continue to be invaluable thought partners in helping us engage and take pride in our community that are shaped by their open spaces- farms, forests, and fields alike. To learn more about The Last Green Valley, and support what they do, visit their website at: thelastgreenvalley.org