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  • October 20, 2021 11:20 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    We invite businesses and organization to participate in the Monadnock Region's Plaid Friday event on Friday, November 26.  Celebrate in creative ways that work best for you, your staff, and neighborhood.

    Here's one great way to participate: Become a Plaid Friday Hub

    As a Plaid Friday Hub, your business commits to:

    • Printing out and posting our Plaid Friday Poster before the event
    • Having you and your staff wear plaid on November 26
    • Photographing customers who visit your business wearing plaid (browse past year's photos for inspiration) -- please follow all COVID-19 state and local requirements
    • Sharing information about Plaid Friday with all your staff, clients and customers

    Other Ways to Participate in Plaid Friday

    Here are some other ideas -- but get creative, too!

    If you'd like to serve as a Plaid Friday hub this year, please contact us today.

    I want to be a Plaid Friday Hub

  • October 19, 2021 5:00 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    What are “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs), and how can they help address our regional housing shortage? Find out in this free, virtual discussion, ADUs: How Homeowners Can Become Home Creators, on Wednesday, November 3, 5:30-7 pm.

    Register today!

    New Hampshire and Vermont, like much of the nation, are struggling to create housing options that meet the needs of a changing population and a shifting economy. Our population is aging, with many older adults wanting to remain in their communities but who cannot find appropriately scaled, universally accessible homes nearby. Households are becoming smaller, with families choosing to have fewer children and consequently looking for housing that’s smaller than the conventional single-family home. Wages have remained flat while housing costs have soared, straining household budgets and putting much of the housing market out of reach for working and middle-class families.

    Addressing these challenges will require pursuing a variety of strategies and creating a range of housing types. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)—a home built on a lot of an existing home—offer one approach that communities and ordinary homeowners can use to create much-needed housing that fits within the context of a surrounding neighborhood.

    Join us for a virtual discussion about:

    • How ADUs have positively impacted the lives of their inhabitants
    • What’s preventing more widespread construction of ADUs
    • What are some strategies for addressing barriers.

    Our panelists will include:

    This virtual discussion will be moderated by James Vayo of Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and is brought to you by Southwest Region Planning Commission, Vital Communities, and The Local Crowd Monadnock.

  • October 03, 2021 8:23 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Do you have an incredible project just waiting to happen -- one that would strengthen your business, our community, and the local economy -- if only you had the funds to make it happen?  Will your project support community goals while keeping to a budget of $15,000 or less?

    If you said yes to these questions, please consider applying to launch a crowdfunding campaign with The Local Crowd.

    TLC Monadnock will select up to six teams to participate in its next crowdfunding cohort, based on each project's potential to positively impact their local economy and community. Accepted proposals will launch their campaigns in winter or early spring 2022.

    Additionally, TLC Monadnock will award one proposal a free video produced by 710 Main Films to support their crowdfunding campaign. Studies show that crowdfunding campaigns with videos raise four times more funds than campaigns without videos.

    While we welcome all for-profits, nonprofits, and community initiatives to apply, we’ll give preference to projects that address affordable housing, local food and farms, and equity.   

    All proposals are due before 5:00 p.m. on October 31, 2021.

    Apply Today!

    New Crowdfunding Campaign: Shop Indie Local

    For a decade, our community has come together to support our locally owned businesses and the Shop Indie Local movement.  This year's Shop Indie Local efforts (including our community's signature Plaid Friday and Cider Monday events) will provide critical relief to local business owners -- our friends and neighbors.   

    With your support now, we will inspire more and more AND MORE community participation.  This is THE year to support this movement.  Together, we will leverage the importance of supporting locally owned businesses, inspire more of us to shift our holiday spending to independent businesses, and affirm your dedication to the local economy movement.

    Contribute to our success and support us today!

    If you prefer to send a check, please make one out to Monadnock Food Co-op with Shop Indie Local in the memo.  Please mail it to Monadnock Food Co-op, c/o Jen Risley, 34 Cypress Street, Keene, NH, 03431. Thank you!

    The Farm Café: Outdoor Patio Campaign

    Congratulations to The Farm Café in Keene. They surpassed their crowdfunding campaign goal!  They raised $3,593 to purchase new outdoor tables, chairs, and umbrellas to create a welcoming and safe outdoor dining patio area in front of their business. 

    More about TLC Monadnock

    TLC Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations, and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in our region.  Crowdfunding, or the practice of raising funds to support a project from a large number of people, is a viable alternative to recruiting businesses from outside the region to boost economic activity.  Our goal is to raise at least $100K for ten campaign teams in 2021.  We’re thrilled to share that, as of today, we’ve supported eight campaign teams who have raised over $90K.  We’re so close to reaching our goal with just two months to go!

    TLC Monadnock is currently hosted by Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by the Greater Keene and Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.   Have questions? Please contact me at jen@thelocalcrowd.com or 603-400-9157.

  • October 03, 2021 8:17 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Harvey Edwards shared a local food and farm update with us. In turn, we wanted to share it with all of you!  Josie Britton painted as mural on the barn of her family’s farm, The Britton Farm in Walpole.  

    “We can always use a smile, especially when feeling stressed,” shared Harvey.  “And this mural that Josie Britton created certainly makes one stop and smile. Even more so when one of the cows or bulls at their farm is also looking out the real window and admiring this work of art.”

    Josie's father, Larry Britton, recently finished renovating this barn -- built in the 1700s by his Great-Great-Grandfather. Josie worked with her sister, Emily, to add a colorful mural to the barn this August.

    We hope you’ll check out Josie’s mural the next time you travel down Watkins Hill Road.  Thank you, Harvey, for sharing this story with us!

  • September 25, 2021 7:38 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Shop Early, Shop Local: October is the New December

    Why Shop Indie Local early this holiday season? 

    Supply and staffing shortages mean locally owned businesses face even more challenges this year.

    Let’s ensure that independent businesses have strong end-of-the-year sales by supporting them now:

    A huge thank you to the American Booksellers Association for creating the October is the New December campaign to boost the Shop Early, Shop Local message.  Check out their campaign here.

    “Bookstores Need Your Help. As booksellers are in the midst of the important fourth-quarter sales season, the American Booksellers Association encourages readers to shop local. Check with your local independent bookstore how you can shop with them — whether in-store, online, or both.”

  • September 11, 2021 6:12 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Arts Alive! is offering mini-grants to artists and creative businesses in the Monadnock region. Applications are open from September 1 - October 31, 2021. Grants will be awarded to projects that further either the artist or creative business - expanding their professional abilities or increasing how many people artists or creative businesses can reach with creative arts experiences.

    The money will be given to artists, writers, performers, and creative business entrepreneurs. Grant awards will be distributed via a check. Awardees will need to fill out a W9 form to receive their payment.

    Arts Alive!’s mission is to support, grow, and connect a sustainable arts landscape in the Monadnock Region. “We want the Monadnock region to have a flourishing cultural community that values arts and culture and provides support to facilitate success.” The organization’s vision is that the greater community will take pride in the arts, which are seen as integral to a thriving society and economy.

    Apply online!


    Download the Application

    Mail your completed application to Arts Alive! 15 Eagle Court, Keene NH 03431.

  • August 24, 2021 2:43 PM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    This month, The Local Crowd Monadnock (TLC Monadnock), a community-based crowdfunding program, launched two local food-related campaigns. Perfect since August is NH Eats Local Month! One campaign for The Farm Café in Keene and the other for Food Connects in Brattleboro.  Whether you give $5 or $500, it all comes together to strengthen our local food system.

    The Farm Café: Outdoor Patio Campaign

    With more of us looking to dine local and outdoors, The Farm Café in Keene wants to meet this community need.  They recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to purchase new outdoor tables, chairs, and umbrellas to create a welcoming and safe outdoor dining patio area in front of their business.      

    “Here at The Farm Café, our mission is to support small farms, businesses, and a local economy in the most eco-friendly way that we can,” said Chef Skip, owner of The Farm Café.  “We work hard to bring local, organic, real foods to you, our patrons, for your enjoyment.”

    As I write this article, they have reached 40% of their $3,000 goal. Give at certain levels and claim a great reward (or two) while they last.  Rewards include a Farm Café gift card, t-shirt, hoodie, the privilege of naming a new menu item, and a Chef’s VIP Night (a 3-course meal for two).

    Give Today!

    Food Connects: Farm to School in a Neighborhood Near You

    Food Connects is an entrepreneurial non-profit on a mission to create healthy families, thriving farms, and connected communities. They partner with local schools throughout southeastern Vermont to support their Farm to School initiatives, and they want to bring this work to the Monadnock Region!

    “We want to help Monadnock Region schools grow their Farm to School programming by collaborating with existing programs like the Cornucopia Project and Stonewall Farm,” said Laura Carbonneau, Food Connects Marketing Manager.  “Our work will help ensure more kids have access to local food, integrate more Farm to School curriculum, and supply more school staff with the support they need. When schools embrace Farm to School programming, students spend more time outdoors—gardening, engaging in hands-on lessons, and exploring the natural world.”

    After just one week, they have reached 40% of their $8,000 goal.  Rewards include Food Connects swag, a charcuterie platter, and a private kids’ cooking class. 

    Give today!

    More about TLC Monadnock

    Watch for more crowdfunding campaigns launching this fall, including a campaign to support this year’s Plaid Friday and Cider Monday campaigns.  Also, we plan to recruit more affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, and equity campaigns for a 2022 launch.  Please stay tuned.

    TLC Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations, and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in our region.  Crowdfunding, or the practice of raising funds to support a project from a large number of people, is a viable alternative to recruiting businesses from outside the region to boost economic activity.  Our goal is to raise at least $100K for ten campaign teams in 2021.  We’re thrilled to share that, as of today, we’ve supported eight campaign teams who have raised over $80K.  Our 2021 goal is in sight!

    TLC Monadnock is currently hosted by Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by the Greater Keene and Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.   Have questions? Please contact me at jen@thelocalcrowd.com or 603-400-9157.

  • July 27, 2021 4:45 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    For the ninth year, let’s shine a light on local food, farms, and our Monadnock Region food system during New Hampshire Eats Local Month, a month-long celebration of our state’s harvest in August. 

    Discover more

    What do we mean by a food system?

    Our food system includes all the pieces needed to bring local food from the farm to our plates: the soil, farm workers, transportation networks, markets, and more -- everything needed to grow, harvest, and distribute these goods to us.  These pieces come together to form our local food system.

    Please dig in and enjoy this year’s bounty of updates!

    A Profession of Hope

    Land access remains the top challenge for beginning farmers in New Hampshire. Land For Good, a leader in farmland access based right here in Keene, helps address this challenge. Their New England Farmland Finder helps connect transitioning farmers with farm seekers. Over 4,000 farm seekers have subscribed to this service, hoping to secure land.

    “Farming is a profession of hope. Farmers of all types and scales anticipate every new growing season and production cycle with hope, now more than ever,” shared Lisa Luciani, Land For Good’s communications manager. “They move forward with hope about weather, market conditions, and sustaining their farms. We all remain hopeful for a more robust, equitable, and resilient post-COVID food system that strengthens our communities, economies, and ecosystems.” 

    Garden Angels

    Thirty gardeners are growing produce on more than forty plots at Monadnock View Community Garden (MVCG) on Park Avenue in West Keene this season.  MVCG also includes a pollinator garden and a communal raspberry patch. Subsidized plots are available for community members who may need assistance, courtesy of Antioch University’s Community Garden Connections.

    Area businesses donated 250 plants and “garden angels” planted them in available plots to grow vegetables for The Community Kitchen and Hundred Nights Shelter.  Garden angels share in the watering, weeding, and harvesting in these plots.

    If you are interested in securing a plot at the garden, contact Kristy Morrison with the City of Keene at kmorrison@ci.keene.nh.us. Contact Rowland Russell to learn more about becoming a garden angel at rrussell@antioch.edu.

    Food Hub Grows to Meet Demand

    Food Connects, a food hub based in Brattleboro, VT, has leveraged its longstanding ties with community producers and wholesale customers to meet increased demand for local food.  This year, they hired six new employees—doubling their staffing levels. They also built a second walk-in cooler and added a fourth refrigerated delivery vehicle.

    "As we responded to the community’s need for fresh, regional foods, we saw our sales double in 2020, growing to over $1.1 million," said McKenna Hayes, Food Hub Co-Director, "The year 2020 shined a bright spotlight on regional foods. Our challenge going forward will be to keep that light focused and carry the momentum of 2020 forward."

    From Farm to Fork

    During its 15th anniversary, Cornucopia Project in Peterborough expanded school garden programming to thirteen classrooms. Garden Educators delivered in-person lessons and developed classroom-ready lesson kits to support outdoor learning during the pandemic.  Culinary programs continued with meal kits designed for kids, bringing locally produced ingredients and fun lessons into families’ home kitchens.

    Cornucopia Project also worked with twenty-five restaurants and the Town of Peterborough to sponsor Peterborough Community Meals To Go. This innovative project raised over $85,000 to pay local restaurants to prepare free, healthy meals for community distribution through May of this year.

    Another new project, the Monadnock Farm to School Network (MF2S), is a partnership with the New Hampshire Farm To School Network and Stonewall Farm. The Network builds capacity for our region’s farm to school programs by collaborating on key issues like funding, finding resources and tools, sharing contacts, and brainstorming strategies.

    “By introducing food systems programs to students from preschool onward, we prioritize education that is rooted in sustainability and nutrition,” said Executive Director Lauren Judd. “These experiences enhance personal connections to food and the environment. We are committed to strengthening our community with healthy food education from farm to fork.”

    Local Food Stars

    Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition (MFCC), Monadnock Food Co-op, and Food Connects plan to launch a new “Local Food STAR” campaign, highlighting restaurants that source from local farms.  Stay tuned for more program details.

    MFCC also invites you to this year’s Monadnock Farm Tour on Saturday, August 21, from 12 pm – 5 pm. Seven Monadnock farms are opening their barns, pastures, hoop houses, flower gardens, and pudding plant.  Purchase tour wristbands at each farm for $5 per person ($10 per car).

    "Our community looked to local farms and farm products for secure, accessible, and affordable food over the last year, and our local food system answered the call,” shared Roe-Ann Tasoulas of MFCC. “Farmers worked together to offer each other’s products at farm stands, CSA sales were at an all-time high, and new programs were developed to get local and charitable food onto the plates of all members of our community. We are grateful to be an integral part of our Monadnock Local Food System.”

    Mobile Food Pantry

    The Community Kitchen and MFCC collaborated with food systems consultant Russ Moore to complete the Monadnock Mobile Food Pantry feasibility study.  The study found strong community support for enhancing food security services, emphasizing healthy, locally grown foods, by bringing a mobile pantry into communities across the Monadnock Region. Stay tuned for updates.

    “As The Community Kitchen celebrates NH Eats Local Month with more than a year of the pandemic behind us, we find our strength lies more than ever in community partnerships,” said Sarah Harpster of The Community Kitchen.  “There’s an incredible commitment within the community to close the loop between a strong local food system and people struggling to meet their nutritional needs.”

    Ten Years Growing

    Community Garden Connections celebrated its tenth year of educating gardeners and supporting garden programs throughout Keene. They assist social service agencies and community-based non-profits by providing funds for infrastructure, plants and seeds, and quality education and technical support.

    During the pandemic, they distributed 150 free container gardens and hundreds of seed packets to individuals throughout Cheshire County, donated over 1,000 pounds of fresh produce to The Community Kitchen, and provided take-home soup kits to Antioch University students.  

    Join them at a volunteer garden work party at the Westmoreland Garden Project at 702 River Road on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:00 pm.  Contact CGC at communitygardens@antioch.edu.

    Thank you to all the individuals, programs, policies, and initiatives that continue to build more robust local and regional food systems in our corner of the state and throughout New England.  Together, we’re cultivating healthier citizens, communities, and economies.

  • July 11, 2021 8:16 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    It's time to start planning for this year's Plaid Friday, Cider Monday, and Shop Indie Local efforts!

    We're kicking off our Shop Indie Local planning efforts with a crowdfunding campaignThe more funds we raise, the more we'll amplify our message.

    Together, we will:

    • Leverage the importance of supporting locally owned businesses.
    • Inspire more of us to shift our holiday spending to independent businesses.
    • Affirm our dedication to the local economy movement.

    Business Owners: Make the Pledge to Become Shop Indie Local Sponsor

    Show off your dedication to the local economy movement and support our Shop Indie Local efforts today!

    Shop Indie Local includes supporting Plaid Friday, Cider Monday, Small Business Saturday, and other promotions happening October 1 - December 31, 2021.

    With your support, we will continue to build traction -- inspiring more and more AND MORE community participation and media attention.

    Please consider supporting this year’s Plaid Friday, Cider Monday, and Shop Indie Local campaign at one (or more!) of the levels below.

    Plaid Friday Rock Star:  $50

    Your logo will appear in our Plaid Friday ad in the Monadnock Shopper News (~60,000 weekly readers).

    Cider Monday Rock Star: $50

    Your logo will appear in our Cider Monday ad in the Monadnock Shopper News (~60,000 weekly readers).

    Plaid Friday/Cider Monday Rock Star: $150

    Your logo will appear in our Plaid Friday AND Cider Monday ad in the Monadnock Shopper News (~60,000 weekly readers) AND the Keene Sentinel (delivered to ~10,000 households).

    Plaid Friday Photo Booth Host: $250

    Sponsor a Plaid Friday Photo Booth in your town or business.

    Plaid Friday Radio Rock Star: $500

    Your business will be mentioned during one week of our Plaid Friday radio ads (2 sponsors highlighted in each ad).

    Plaid Friday Launch Sponsor: $1,000

    Sponsor a Plaid Friday launch in your town or at your business. Your name and logo will appear on our Launch Event marketing materials and press release. We'll plan this launch together.

    All sponsorship pledges are due by October 31, 2021.  Send us an email to pledge your sponsorship or click on the button below to purchase your sponsorship through our crowdfunding campaign.

    Please let me know if you have any questions and thank you for all you do to support our local economy each and every day.

    Support Our Campaign Today!

  • June 29, 2021 2:13 PM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Photo by Aysegul Yahsi on Unsplash 

    Affordable housing solutions come in all shapes and sizes.  Let’s focus on some small solutions: Home Sharing, Accessory Dwelling Units, and Tiny Houses.

    Home Sharing

    Home Sharing provides one quick way to boost affordable housing options. Instead of living alone, you can share your home with housemates.  But how do you find the right housemate for you?  Enter Sharing Housing, Inc., a nonprofit based in East Dummerston, VT, on a mission to elevate this affordable housing solution.

    “Even before the pandemic, many people struggled with housing costs and social isolation,” said Annamarie Pluhar of Sharing Housing. “Shared housing is a viable solution many of us overlook when considering where and how to live, despite multiple advantages -- social, emotional, and financial.”

    Last July, ninety community members supported Sharing Housing’s crowdfunding campaign on The Local Crowd Monadnock.  Sharing Housing raised over $10K to create a self-paced online course called Discovering Shared Housing, to help individuals find and keep good housemates.  Start with their free online course, 5 Key Benefits of Shared Housing.

    Accessory Dwelling Units

    An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) includes an apartment over a garage, a tiny house in your backyard, or any small dwelling on the same land as your single-family house.

    “As the ‘missing middle housing’ concept is popularized among planners and designers, ADUs are poised to present the most viable stepping-stone solution for cities that are experiencing a housing crisis,” said Kol Peterson, author of Backdoor Revolution - The Definitive Guide to ADU Development.

    In 2017, New Hampshire laws changed to make it easier for homeowners to build ADUs, to boost the state’s affordable housing supply without developing more land. The City of Keene allows property owners to build attached ADUs in all residential districts and detached ADUs are allowed in the rural and agricultural districts without a conditional use permit.  There are rules around size restrictions, parking needs, and other requirements.

    “Not every state has made widespread access to ADUs official,” said Jess Kelley of Solid Roots Construction in Manchester.  “It is an incredible step forward for New Hampshire, but, as we realized in the course of working with our customers who wanted to build one, many people still aren’t aware that they even have the option.”

    Chris Lee of the company Backyard ADUs based in Brunswick, ME, guides people through the process of building an ADU, from design to permitting to move-in day.  You can purchase a feasibility study of your land and local zoning rules from them for $450.

    “When we started working on ADUs, we thought the mission was to help homeowners build rental units in their backyards,” shared Chris. “But, we quickly realized there was simply a huge gap in available housing -- there are not enough quality small [not tiny] homes to go around and most builders don’t want to build them.”

    Tiny Houses

    Like the name states, Tiny Houses are small homes usually under 600 square feet built on wheels or foundations.  A Tiny House is considered a ADU if it’s on the same land as a single-family house but can also be located in a standalone property or clustered to form a neighborhood.  In Keene, a tiny house is not permitted in most zoning districts since an ADU must be attached to the primary residence.

    State and local regulations can present challenges to those who want to go tiny. Earlier this year, state representatives introduced House Bill 588, requiring that municipalities allow Tiny Houses anywhere any single-family homes are permitted.  The bill, however, did not pass.

    “We’ve had many people who really want to buy them but couldn’t find a place they were allowed,” said Anne Mellin, co-owner of Tiny Living Spaces. “Unless you own property that you already have a house on and put the tiny home in as a second dwelling, you can’t do it.”

    Learn more about Affordable Housing legislation

    Small Change

    How do we bring more of these small solutions to our region?  While TLC Monadnock offers rewards-based crowdfunding, a platform called Small Change provides real estate investment crowdfunding.

    Small Change allows everyday people to invest in real estate projects that “change cities and neighborhoods for the better.” They select projects that boost walkability and bike-ability, offer better access to healthy food and green spaces, and elevate other attributes that increase the quality of life for all.

    I’d love to see a developer launch a Small Change campaign in our region. Please learn more and spread the word about Small Change.  

    Let’s elevate these small solutions together!  We’re in the very early stages of organizing an event to amplify these small solutions in our region.  Stay tuned here or contact me at jen@thelocalcrowd.com.

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