2023 Steering Committee
Co-Founder & Owner RVCG
I believe in the mission of the NGA and I look forward to being part of the Steering Committee that will help guide the organization in its efforts to strengthen the grain basin in the Northeast. As Co-Founder of River Valley Community Grains, I believe my experiences and insights can make a significant contribution to the overall efforts of the Steering Committee.
Bio: As Co-Founder of River Valley Community Grains, I am working towards restoring value-added grains in NJ, working with farmers to clean and mill the grains and direct-to-consumer marketing in the form of farmers’ markets. Education background: Master of Arts in US History from Rutgers University and Community Sustainability Management from University of Colorado.
Co-Founder & Owner of Short Path Distillery
I would love to help foster a strong and healthy community that is self-sustaining, that directly improves the life I live and the world I interact with every day. The need for local is much more important than mere tribalism. The more something is locally controlled the more it is responsive to the community it serves, while the further away it is the more it is concerned with “the market.” You stop dealing with people and start dealing with concepts. Local is a check on quality and decency. Yes something made in a high-tech factory far away can be “better” made than by the person around the corner, but I’m never going to interact with the owner of that factory, while I will grab a pint at the local pub with my mechanic. Humans rip off strangers not neighbors. It can be in quality, price, or any other metric to “make a buck.” Communities are less concerned with making maximum profits today, as they are on lasting forever. The goal of community is to be there for future generations. All of this is to say, I think what the Grainshed is doing and what it is planning on doing is vitally important. But also it’s just a ton of fun. I have I guess one platform and that is increasing engagement, hopefully via membership. I have personally lobbied as many players I can to join the Grainshed. I would love to expand membership, or at least partnerships with retail outlets as this is the point of contact most customers have with our products (grocery stores, coops etc.). I think collaborations across the Grainshed is another great way to build excitement not just with members but also with the public at large. This will increase engagement of members as well as the public. And lastly throwing parties. People love eating and drinking and having a great time and we have all the things to make that happen. Successful parties/events not only build buzz and awareness they also generate revenue directly to the NGA which can be used to further our goals.
Bio: New England born and raised (with a brief stint in the South Pacific), I went to middle and high school in Maine, college in Boston, and have lived in greater Boston ever since. I graduated with a masters degree in organic chemistry. In 2014 I founded Short Path Distillery with two friends which focuses on using as many local ingredients as possible (hence the name Short Path). From the get-go our goal was to make not only a single malt whiskey but a single malt whiskey that uses exclusively locally grown and malted grains. Today we make three such whiskeys.
Co-founder & Owner of Valley Malt
Why would you like to serve on the NGA Steering Committee? To keep the momentum of the local grain economy moving forward and expanding. How do you intend to further the NGA mission through your position on the Steering Committee? To anticipate the work needed to bring together more growers, processors, and makers and align our mission as much as possible. To help the NGA become a sustainable organization with good governance structure, ample funding and staffing support.
Bio: Founding member of NGA and Craft Malt Guild. Founder of Valley Malt (2009) and Ground Up Grain (2018).
Executive Director of the NGA
I hope to build my knowledge of what our members needs and build on the success of the NGA to continue to prosper and fully achieve our overall mission. I will continue to work towards marketing and outreach strategies that build demand for Northeast grains. While focusing on attainable steps in order to support farmers and processors in networking and overall aid.
Bio: I am Hannah Smalls, she/her pronouns, and proud Executive Director of the NGA. I am currently in the business planning process of having my own resilient farmstead. I have a BS in Sustainable Food and Farming, with a long time mission to be an active part in achieving a healthy, thriving, and resilient local food system.