The Citizen of the Year award is presented each year by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce to an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the community and has made significant contributions to the vibrancy and strength of the Greater Rochester area.
At the Chamber’s Annual Dinner & Awards Banquet held on Saturday evening, November 6, 2021, at The Oaks Grand Ballroom, the Chamber announced their 2021 Citizens of the Year are Jeanne Varney Grover and Alicia Frye, co-founders of the Rochester Farmers Market and Vouchers for Veterans.
Jeanne Varney Grover is a lifelong resident of Rochester, NH. Alicia Frye is a resident of Barrington and a former Rochester business owner.
Alicia and Jeanne both started The Farmers Market in Rochester to offer fresh food, produce, activities for families, and live music to provide a venue for local farmers to expand their business and to increase the quality of life in Rochester for years to come. Jeanne let the market operations, organized vendors, volunteers, and entertainment, Alicia, former co-owner of Benedict’s Grill in Rochester, executed the marketing, fundraising and attended each market. Both worked tirelessly to create a vibrant and delicious destination for the community and beyond.
Jeanne and Alicia expanded the Rochester Farmers Market to include, Vouchers for Veterans, a program for veterans to receive a voucher free fresh produce and market purchases in the month of September, as a heartfelt appreciation for active and retired military service members. This program has brought hundreds of veterans to shop at the Rochester Farmers Market. In addition to Rochester, Jeanne and Alicia created a nonprofit organization for the Vouchers for Veterans program, with a mission to expand the voucher program to markets throughout Strafford County.
According to former Mayor Caroline McCarley, “the Rochester Farmers Market has become a community centerpiece and has helped create a robust local economy for farmers and small businesses. The market has become a community event where friends and neighbors gather to talk and listen to music while having access to locally grown produce and products – we are very thankful for all of their hard work”.
According to Retired Colonel Daniel Saucier, “this program has allowed several hundred veterans to come to the market in September and receive cash vouchers, which allows them to purchase fresh items from the farmers – this supports the local farmer and the local veteran”.
Jeanne Varney Grover and Alicia Frye, with long term ties to the community, banded together to fulfill a need and provide the City of Rochester with a local Farmers Market, which has encouraged residents and visitors to eat healthy, and support local growers. Their work has been recognized by the Seacoast Eat Local, Local Growers Exchange, NH Farmers Markets, New Hampshire Department of Agriculture Markets and Foods, and Snap/EBT program. Both Jeanne and Alicia were also recognized by the Rochester Main Street program in 2018 with the Silver Level Presidential Volunteer Service Award for their work.
The Chamber is proud to present both Alicia Frye and Jeanne Varney Grover together, as Rochester’s 2021 Citizens of the Year, and thank them both for their hard work that resulted is a continued benefit to the community of Rochester and other surrounding communities.
Presenting this year’s Citizen of the Year award to Jeanne Varney Grover and Alicia Frye, was Lisa Stanley, last year’s recipient.