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Nov 13, 2022

ep. 112: Jennifer Hashley · Friendly Neighborhood Food Superhero

Forces of Nature is a talkshow miniseries featuring dynamic leaders from across food & environmental movementsTune-in for a dose of optimism.



w/ host: Aaron Niederhelman

Rooted in the Tufts Friedman School of nutrition, the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project is one of the first initiatives nationwide to help immigrants and refugees develop commercial farming opportunities. Change-agent Jennifer Hashley grew New Entry into a sustained effort while she was getting her Master’s in Agriculture and Public Policy at Tufts. The goal since the beginning has been to help farmers thrive in the fields, the office and within their communities. Today, 25 years later and New Entry has established a framework that will teach anyone that’s ready to learn how to operate a successful sustainable farming business.

New Entry is teaching an approach to farming that could eventually become the model that everyone uses to produce food in the future. A model that is smaller scale, regional, diversified and using production that is bathed in ecological best practice.

Each and every food purchase from these farms is a circular dollar spent in local economies. Jobs are created, and in using this production approach the land, natural resources and nature are looked after in more responsible manner. New Entry farms are also beneficial in dealing with food waste, water and this healthy farmland sucks down and stores carbon. Additionally, farming the landscape to combat climate change is real, and as a whole local food is significantly less taxing on the environment as compared to conventional. The biggest win of all is the opportunity for more community members to eat more fresh and nutrient dense foods from nearby farms.


For others, with current geo-political instability and what was exposed as weak spots in global food supply chains during COVID, local food from regional production is actually all about guaranteeing food security for the future. More New Entry farmers on local lands helps with food surplus for any region or community. Local food is also about stability. After all, “Every society is (only) three meals away from chaos.”

The long and short of it, New Entry brings contemporary farmers up to speed. Jennifer has developed a system that is chock-full of creative ways to gain land access, grants and funding programs. She help farmers work with multipliers, to figure out distribution and value-ad, and they offer a network to help with staffing. This all adds up to capacity building of local and regional food production. Here we have a trained workforce that is champing at the bit to work their butts off. What’s needed is access to good land, some capital, and a community commitment to make it all grow. New Entry is infrastructure that will change food system by serving the needs and interests of this vested communities of eaters.



Jennifer is optimistic for the future. She wants you to share in her vision of stability through focus on production of good local food. Her call to action is to simply support the things that we believe in. Use your purchasing power of this good local food as a way to exercise those beliefs. When more of this is done in your community, more folks that you care about will benefit. That’s actually true for any community that gets a New Entry farmer to start farming for them. She’s got the IP to train a workforce and drive food systems change. So, time to break some bread with Jennifer and find out how to light this local food candle! Who wants in?


So, tune in to hear how Jennifer is making it all happen…