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  • March 09, 2019 7:41 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Help TLC Monadnock decide which Local Living Economy building block to focus on in 2019.  We will focus on recruiting projects working on innovations in this building block and provide them with extra support to run a successful crowdfunding campaign.  Help us decide by taking this poll.

    Take our poll

    Our current options are:

    • Affordable Housing
    • Arts & Culture
    • Climate Adaptation & Resilience
    • Community Health
    • Community Capital
    • Cooperatives & Community Ownership
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Environmental Conservation & Stewardship
    • Farms & Food
    • Green Manufacturing
    • Green Building & Design
    • Living Wage Jobs & Equity
    • Renewable Energy
    • Sustainable Transportation

    What is a Local Living Economy? In November 2009, a group of 70 local entrepreneurs, community leaders, students and engaged citizens gathered at Keene State College’s Seventh Biennial Symposium “From Local to Global” to answer this question. The consensus: A Local Living Economy is a resilient system that improves our quality of life, meets everyone’s basic needs and creates an engaged citizenry.

    With that definition agreed upon, we now move on to the next question: How do we cultivate a stronger Local Living Economy?  Judy Wicks, co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and key participant in the November 2009 discussion, shared, “In order to build a local living economy, we must first determine what one looks like—what are the components, or building blocks, a vision of a local living economy that we can work toward achieving?” 

    Together, we are looking at the system that drives our Local Living Economy. This type of holistic thinking takes work, but it can result in better problem solving leading to more positive and lasting changes in our community.

    As scientist and systems thinker Peter Senge states, “Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static snapshots.  Fragmentation, competition, and reactiveness are not problems to be solved -- they are frozen patterns of thought to be dissolved.”

  • February 27, 2019 6:01 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Whether a pop-up shop, pop-up event or pop-up planning process – the Pop-Up Economy means that whatever pops up is temporary.  This temporary status makes pop-ups less risky than setting up something permanent and typically requires less investment of time and money.

    “The pop-up provides business owners the opportunity to test a new product, concept, brand or market before making any long-term investments,” notes the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s brochure on the Pop-Up Economy. “The owners of vacant properties can also economically benefit from the Pop-Up Economy. Traditional leases are long-term; when viable tenants cannot be found, the extended vacancies that result can be a financial burden to landlords.”

    Some examples of the Pop-Up Economy in our region include the “Pop Up Holiday Shop” at Central Square in Keene and multiple Complete Streets demos hosted by Southwest Region Planning Commission in Keene and surrounding towns (see Keene’s Complete Street Demo video here:  Our Pop-Up Economy also includes food trucks like Street & Savory and Salt & Lime.  These mobile businesses aren’t temporary, but the locations where they set up their business can change.

    Beyond our region, two Pop-Up Economy examples serve as inspiration for building upon our own pop-up efforts: Night Market Philadelphia in PA and Western Market in Muskegon, MI. 

    Night Market Philadelphia

    The Food Trust, a nonprofit focused on access to healthy food, started Night Market Philadelphia in 2010. It’s a roving festival that pops up in different neighborhoods and brings communities together to celebrate the joy of food with food trucks, musicians, street performers and art installations. Each event is co-hosted by a community partner and supports existing businesses in each neighborhood by helping merchants secure permits to set up outside their storefront and attract more foot traffic during the event.

    Through a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Healthy Food Truck Initiative, The Food Trust promotes food truck vendors who offer fresh, healthy menu offerings.  They also work with Kiva Zip to bring 0% interest loans of up to $10,000 to local food entrepreneurs.  These activities mean the community and economic impacts of Night Market Philadelphia ripple well beyond each one-night event.  

    “Today, Night Market isn’t just a busy night for food truck vendors -- it’s an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and build a lasting customer base,” states The Food Trust’s Night Market Philadelphia Five Year Report.   “It isn’t just one evening of celebrating a neighborhood -- it’s a catalyst for sustained community engagement. It isn’t just a popular event -- it’s a creator of jobs, tax revenue and real economic growth.”

    Muskegon’s Western Market

    In 2017, the city of Muskegon built twelve small “chalets” on an empty lot and called it Western Market (in reference to their nearby farmers’ market).  The chalets each cost about $5,000 to build and the city rents them to businesses for the season, from May to December.  Last season’s businesses included a bakery, fair trade boutique and a variety of other retailers.  While the initial funding for these structures came from donations from the local chamber of commerce, a community foundation and other area organizations, the success of Western Market (demonstrated by a waiting list of 25 businesses) convinced the city to use municipal funds to build five more chalets in 2018, locating them at different downtown locations. 

    In addition to helping new businesses get a start, seven existing businesses from nearby communities used the chalets to grow their customer base. The success of Western Market motivated a number of downtown landlords to build smaller retail areas on their first floors to accommodate these growing businesses in the future.

    “We’ve taken very small spaces, like here at the Western Market, and much larger areas, like the farmers market, and turned them into vibrant places that draw people from miles around and provide an economic boost to our entire community,” said Muskegon Mayor Stephen Gawron.

    Have ideas to make your community pop with the Pop-Up Economy?  Explore the opportunity to secure start-up funds for your idea through The Local Crowd Monadnock and email us at

  • February 16, 2019 9:01 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock is a locally based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in our region. We recently wrapped up the pilot phase of our program. 

    In 2018, TLC Monadnock:

    Attracted a diversity of campaign teams to develop and launch crowdfunding campaigns on our platform

    • Launched 10 crowdfunding campaigns based in 6 towns in the Monadnock region: Alstead, Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Keene, Peterborough, Winchester
    • Collectively raised $58,256 from 500 supporters (up from $35,146 from 227 supporters in 2017)
    • Seventy percent of TLC Monadnock campaigns met or surpassed their crowdfunding goals (Kickstarter has a 31% success rate)

    Successfully raised funds to cover portion of 2019 platform fees and continue past the pilot phase of this project

    • Leveraged TLC Monadnock to raise $2,500 -- allowing us to expand our platform to serve the entire region in 2019
    • The Local Crowd secured a grant from the National Science Foundation to support the Fourth Sector Economy (stay tuned for details in March 2019)

    Download our 2018 Annual Report.

    Discover more details and updates at or contact Jen Risley at or 603-283-5401. 

    TLC Monadnock is hosted by the Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by our community partners: Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation. 

  • December 08, 2018 8:08 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    The Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund program, a partnership with the Cheshire County Conservation District, is now accepting applications from local farmers. Currently, in its third year, the fund has supported seven farms in our region.

    This year, the Farm Fund will award up to $18,000 to help farms in Cheshire County and abutting New Hampshire towns develop or expand their production for wholesale markets, including selling to the Monadnock Food Co-op and Food Connects. Funds can be used to support a range of projects including the purchase of equipment and infrastructure, packaging and labeling design needs, and technical assistance.

    The Request for Proposals and application are available here. Applications are due February 1, 2019.

    "The Farm Fund empowers local farmers to grow their businesses to help them become more financially sustainable," said Michael Faber, Monadnock Food Co-op General Manager. "It also helps the co-op broaden its offerings of locally grown, raised, and made foods — that means more local food for you, your family, and our community."

    Tax-deductible donations to this fund can be made to the Cheshire County Conservation District. Additional fundraising activities will occur at the Monadnock Food Co-op, including a Round It Up Donation Drive in early 2019.

    The Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund's mission is to support local farmers in increasing sustainable food production and wholesale sales to contribute to a thriving local farm economy. This grant supports several of the co-op's goals, including building a healthy, sustainable food system, supporting local farmers and producers, and contributing to a strong, sustainable and improving local economy.

    For more information on eligibility, to apply for a grant, or make a donation to the fund, please visit or call Amanda Littleton at the Conservation District at 603-756-2988 ext 116.

  • November 28, 2018 6:25 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News

    Great news!  The Local Crowd Monadnock (TLC Monadnock), a locally based crowdfunding platform, will extend beyond its pilot phase.  While TLC Monadnock will continue to host crowdfunding campaigns based in Keene and seven other towns in the region, the question that we’re asking our community right now is: Should it expand to serve the entire region? So far, thirty-one of you voted “Yes!” by contributing $5 - $500 to our TLC Monadnock crowdfunding campaign.


    Our goal is to raise at least $2,500 by Monday, December 10.  The more support our community contributes, the more towns we’ll include in the program next year. We will use this funding to cover the platform fees for 2019 and jumpstart our efforts to transform TLC Monadnock into a pollinator enterprise, a self-funding enterprise committed to supporting local businesses.

    Past campaign leaders expressed support for continuing TLC Monadnock. Marty Castriotta of Village Roots Permaculture Farm in Alstead raised over $11,000 through TLC Monadnock for a barn raising at his family’s CSA farm.  The barn will house animals in the winter and provide space to host educational workshops during other parts of the year.

    "TLC Monadnock made it possible for us to embrace the idea of asking our community to support our cause and our project," said Marty.  "Within two weeks of launching our campaign, with the tremendous support of TLC, we raised the funds needed to complete our barn."

    Locally owned businesses have also demonstrated their support by donating awesome rewards to thank community members for their support.  Thank you to Walpole Mountain View Winery, MB Massage Studio, Monadnock Food Co-op, The Works Café, New England Everyday Goods, Cheshire Garden, New Dawn Farm, Yoga with Josephine and Stonewall Farm for contributing rewards to our campaign.  See all the rewards on the right side of our campaign page

    Please join with others in our community to continue to leverage the power of crowdfunding to cultivate a stronger ecosystem of investors, service providers and local economy champions investing in a local, green and fair economy in the Monadnock region. You can contribute to our crowdfunding campaign regardless of where you live.  

    Contribute to this campaign online today

    Checks can be made out to Monadnock Buy Local and mailed to The Local Crowd Monadnock, c/o Monadnock Buy Local, 63 Emerald Street PMB #114, Keene, NH 03431.

    More about TLC Monadnock

    TLC Monadnock is a locally 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.

    This project is part of a two-year research study funded by a USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant to gauge this platform's effectiveness in rural areas.  During its pilot phase (that ends January 1, 2019), TLC Monadnock will only accept campaign proposals from businesses, organizations or community initiatives based in Alstead, Jaffrey, Keene, Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Peterborough, Swanzey or Winchester.  TLC Monadnock gives preference to campaigns that align with their respective city or town's master plan and contribute to a local, green and fair economy.

    Discover more details and updates at or contact Jen Risley at or 603-499-7950. 

    TLC Monadnock is currently hosted by Monadnock Buy Local and supported by the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, Monadnock Food Co-op and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation. 

  • November 26, 2018 5:42 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Photo credit: Prime Roast Coffee

    With Thanksgiving and Plaid Friday this week, things were a bit slow for our TLC Monadnock Campaign. However, we'll be out in full force promoting our crowdfunding campaign next week -- watch for an article about TLC Monadnock in next week's Monadnock Shopper News.

    On another note -- If you're looking for some Shift Your Shopping ideas, take a look at our rewards on the right side of our campaign page. They were all donated by locally owned business owners who wanted to show their support for expanding TLC Monadnock.

    Is there someone on your gift-giving list that would appreciate a gift from ...

    Go ahead, shift your shopping and lend more support to our campaign today!

    View Campaign

  • November 05, 2018 6:26 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Yesterday marked the public launch of our crowdfunding campaign for The Local Crowd Monadnock!

    View Our Campaign

    Thanks to all of you -- we raised 30% of our goal. Together we're leveraging the power of crowdfunding to make wonderful ideas happen -- projects that support a local, green and fair economy in the Monadnock region.

    Impressive News: Our sponsored rewards from Cheshire Garden and Monadnock Food Co-op are already sold out. We hope that other local businesses will donate rewards to support this campaign, too. Please feel free to mention this opportunity to your favorite locally owned business. It's a win-win... especially during the holiday gift-giving season.

    Please help us spread the word about our TLC Monadnock campaign by sharing our this link on social media today:

    Thank you all again for your support!

  • September 09, 2018 9:02 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    MAxT Makerspace and the Cornucopia Project are turning their shared office space at 49 Vose Farm Rd, Peterborough, NH into a new hub for our community to work, learn and create.

    MAxT Coworking and Education Center

    Here's a note from Roy Schlieben, Director of MAxT:

    Some of you might know that I've been working on a rather large project over the past four years -- creating a Makerspace in my hometown of Peterborough. The idea is simple -- we want to give people, particularly young people, a safe space to learn and pursue their creative passions.  

    We've had success growing our Makerspace.  We attracted talented people and have seen a number of them start their businesses here. People have launched video production companies, developed robots, started second careers as artists, and created community events like repair cafe.  If someone has an inspiration to do something, we've been there to help them get going.

    We are ready to take another step.  We are creating a new section of our space dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurs.  We want to give them a workspace to develop new business ideas, provide a home for local business advisors to meet with them, and launch an incubator to help kick-start new businesses.  It's a project we've been working on for more than a year and we are ready to launch...but we need a little help to make it happen.

    The campaign for The Co is about creating this space, and I am asking you to consider donating to help us reach our goal of $9,700 in the next two weeks.  We are already halfway there, but it is still a long way to go.  You just have to follow this link and click on the giving level you are most comfortable with. 

    We even have some modest thank you gifts to claim!

    The Makerspace represents everything that I believe in.  It is about generosity, sharing, learning and growing.  I'm so proud to see how far my efforts have taken things.  But, I need your help. Please join me in supporting this worthy cause.

    Warm regards,

  • June 21, 2018 6:21 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    The first Keene First Friday Art Hop begins soon - Friday July 6 from 5pm - 9pm. We are eager to get downtown businesses, local organizations, artisan & craft businesses registered and ON THE MAP!

    Registration Forms

    Downtown Keene businesses can get involved by:

    Staying open! We recommend open until 9pm.  We understand that some businesses close much earlier.  If you are normally open until 6, would you remain open until 7pm and offer a wonderful and unique First Friday special? Offer arts or music in your shop? Add a Harvest of the Month special to your menu? And, if you notify the local police and liquor commission, as well as follow the simple rules (free, open to the public, legal tasting size, etc.), it is FREE to offer a tasting in your store! More here.

    Showing ART! Host a local musician! For a nominal fee, Machina Arts, our promoter, will provide low cost access to their ASCAP license, decreasing your cost to host live music. Contact us for pricing.

    Promote local food!  Promote the Harvest of the Month: Berries in July and Tomatoes in August!

    Other ideas!? We would love to hear them! Host a local museum or non profit; offer an arts activity; bring a local artisan business into your shop for the evening; partner with a local artist to commission a new work of art.  The list is endless!

    We are eager to put you ON THE MAP!  Fill out our registration form by June 29 and let us know what will be happening in your location.

    And please, do share the news about this event: Share our Facebook event, invite artist friends to vend on Railroad Square, get a local non profit involved to spread their mission and/or host a family friendly activity, visit one of our TWO POP UP Galleries, host/invite a local craft/artisan food company to participate. Information is available here.

    Thank you for your consideration.  Feel free to contact me with any questions: 603-309-6339 or

    See you at the Art Hop on July 6!

    Carolyn Sweet
    First Friday Program Developer
  • June 15, 2018 3:00 PM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    The support for the NH Honey Bee Initiative's first action, joining muralist Matt Willey's world-wide endeavor called The Good of the Hive, is amazing -- thanks to so many generous donors, especially you!

    The Initiative has been featured in two lengthy articles in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript and the Keene Sentinel as well as an editorial enthusiastically in support of this endeavor. Kin and I have met with three classes from two different area schools, and have presentations with several organizations, including Kiwanis, Rotary and the New Hampshire Beekeepers, scheduled over the next few weeks.

    Help spread the buzz by sharing the link to this campaign  and letting your friends and families know that you are part of such an exciting effort. Go bees!

    Share our campaign

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