Natalie Woodroofe: WREN works to support emerging and established businesses

To the editor:

Over the past couple of weeks, WREN has been the subject of a few critical letters to your editor. We would like to offer your readers the following in response.

Nonprofits play important roles in expanding opportunities and resources, especially in rural America. For nearly 24 years, WREN has been supporting better lives and livelihoods, including assisting over 1,000 emerging or established business owners, primarily in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

In recent years, we have deepened our efforts to provide the skills and market opportunities our member farm and food businesses tell us they need to grow their enterprises and earnings.

As part of this strategy, we organize and host farmers markets, currently in Bethlehem and Gorham, and until this summer, in Berlin. As most nonprofits do, we seek funding partners whose missions and program investments align with ours to support this work.

Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Food Fund has been an important and valued partner in our local food system work. Their work supports expanding local food access for more low- and middle-income families in our region and our work is to support those who grow or produce that food.

For the past two years this partnership has made it possible for emerging market vendors to equip for market operation; for WREN to provide vendors with food safety and business development training; and for shoppers to have access to fresh local foods and hands-on, nutritious food preparation demonstrations.

Surely, a recipe for better lives and livelihoods!

Natalie Woodroofe
WREN Board President