Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News
For the sixth year, Monadnock Buy Local celebrates local food, farms and our entire Monadnock region food system during New Hampshire Eat Local Month.
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.
Now let’s dig in and discover what’s new in our Monadnock region food system this year.
Kin Schilling, founder of the Cornucopia Project, and beekeeper Melissa Stephenson teamed up to form the NH Honey Bee Initiative to protect honeybees and other pollinators -- animals critical to the health of our food system. Their first project raised over $16,000 through The Local Crowd Monadnock to bring artist Matthew Willey from The Good of the Hive to the Monadnock region.
The Good of the Hive is a global effort to raise awareness around the plight of pollinators. Matthew’s goal includes hand-painting 50,000 individual honey bees on murals and installations around the world. He spent August painting a mural of honeybees on an exterior wall of the Peterborough Community Center. Be sure to check it out!
“By inviting The Good of the Hive to our community, we will generate educational opportunities and events that will connect us all to a worldwide effort to protect honey bees and other pollinators,” shared Melissa. “The New Hampshire Honey Bee Initiative has some wonderful plans for future actions on behalf of all pollinators.”
The Monadnock Sustainability Network (MSN) partnered with the Cheshire County Conservation District to develop the Community Supported Solar for Farmers project. Based off the same Community Supported Solar model that brought solar panels to the Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene, this effort will focus on bringing renewable energy to farms.
“Our community proudly supports local farms in our region -- but buying local isn't always enough as farmers face substantial operating costs and tough competition from more conventional and larger farms from afar,” said Amanda Littleton, MSN Board Member.
Transitioning to solar energy will help farmers stabilize and lower a significant operating cost while decreasing their carbon footprint. To kick-start this effort, MSN recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on TLC Monadnock. As of today, they have secured 30% of their crowdfunding goal. Support this campaign at http://c-fund.us/glx.
Food Connects and its New Hampshire-based food hub Monadnock Menus deliver food from over 65 farms and local producers to 100 wholesale customers in the Keene and Brattleboro areas. In 2018, Food Connects raised over $250,000 to scale up operations by adding new delivery vehicles, cold and frozen storage facilities and more staff.
“We have demonstrated that our business model can work locally, but for years our farms have been asking for access to larger markets,” said Richard Berkfield, Executive Director of Food Connects. “These funds allow us to sell more local food to new customers in nearby markets, allowing farms and food producers to focus on what they do best, which is producing great food for us to eat.”
This year, Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition (MFCC) launched its new website, mfcommunitycoalition.org, to better promote local food and farm resources. Also, thanks to feedback from local farmers, MFCC will offer two quarterly forums on farm marketing and scaling up farm businesses. Save the date for their annual Feast on This! Film Festival, November 8 – 10.
Jess Gerrior, Doctoral Fellow in the Environmental Studies Program at Antioch University New England and Director of the C&S Workplace Organic Gardens Project, carried out a service learning project for MFCC this year. She created a digital resource called Cultivating Community to document the people working on our regional food system with photographs and narratives.
“As a service learning project, Cultivating Community seeks to contribute to a deeper understanding of local food issues for participants as well as stakeholders and potential benefactors,” said Jess. “It seeks to nourish the connections among us, without which the work is much harder.”
Community Garden Connections (CGC) builds local capacity to grow food and ultimately our region’s food security. It focuses on food’s connection to community health and resiliency. With the support of Antioch University of New England and community partners, CGC supports thirteen community garden sites at social service organizations throughout the region. This year, their Westmoreland Garden site added a high-tunnel greenhouse, strengthening their capacity to grow food for charitable organizations like the Community Kitchen in Keene.
“By integrating gardens into the programming and structure of existing agencies, CGC seeks to best serve people often marginalized by the existing food system,” said Kristine Burke, CGC Member. “And we hope to provide a foundation for long-term viability of these community gardens.”
For the second year, the Monadnock Food Co-op’s Farm Fund awarded grants to local farms. This year’s awards went to support winter crop storage at Picadilly Farm in Winchester, production efficiencies at Echo Farm Puddings in Hinsdale, marketing efforts at Brookfield Farm in Walpole and planting efficiencies at Tracie’s Community Farm in Fitzwilliam. The Farm Fund, a partnership between the co-op and the Cheshire County Conservation District, seeks to increase sustainable food production and wholesale sales to contribute to a thriving local farm economy.
“When we ask farmers in our area what some of their biggest barriers to growth and profitability are, the reply ‘infrastructure’ is usually just before or after ‘reliable seasonal labor’ and ‘the weather,’ reports Michael Faber, Monadnock Food Co-op’s General Manager. “While it is not within our scope of operation to help with the latter two, we hope to address the investment needed to grow efficient and reliable production for farms that can’t always meet all their infrastructural needs through the current financial system.”
Thank you to all the individuals, programs, policies and initiatives that continue to build stronger local and regional food systems in our corner of the state and throughout New England. Together, we’re cultivating healthier citizens, communities and economies.
The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock -- a locally-based crowdfunding platform -- has raised over $90,000 from almost 700 supporters for thirteen campaigns since it launched in March 2017.
As our pilot project draws to a close at the end of September, we reached out to the businesses, nonprofits and community initiatives that launched campaigns on TLC Monadnock. We wanted to hear about their progress and gather their opinions on the potential of continuing TLC Monadnock in our region. Here are insights from four of them.
Archway Farm in Keene, one of the first campaigns to launch on TLC Monadnock, used crowdfunding to purchase a food truck. Farmer Mark Florenz travels to various community events with this truck, introducing his pasture-raised pork to new people throughout our region. “This has definitely given us a good way to get out and meet more customers,” shared Mark.
In terms of TLC Monadnock’s broader impact, Mark said, “Having a local crowdfunding resource, I think, helps local groups be more effective in their campaigns and provides examples of what effective campaigns look like. I see a lot of hastily thrown together campaigns on other platforms that never go anywhere.”
Tiffany Mannion, the Bicycle Mayor of Keene, used TLC Monadnock to create an online hub that connects our community of riders to each other. The funds also allowed her to attend the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC. “It was really key to giving me the space to get the Bicycle Mayor program set up with a strong foundation,” said Tiffany. “The Bicycle Mayor position is not funded at all by the city.”
On TLC Monadnock’s potential to serve others, she shared, “Our community could benefit in countless ways for adopting TLC Monadnock as a permanent presence in our community. It offers the opportunity to move a community of ideas into a vehicle for change in our region. There are many people who can leverage their reputation into innovation and change.”
This spring, the Montessori School of Cheshire County crowdfunded to construct an outdoor classroom. Cuilin Sheridan, head of the school, was happy to report that they’ve already installed their walkway and a mud kitchen. On the way are a water cascade, tables and balance beams. “We really hope to be the school that can provide the perfect balance between academics, integrated arts and nature play,” said Cuilin. “The children are enjoying our outdoor space, and this is something we can provide for years to come.”
While Marty Castriotta of Village Roots Permaculture Farm just completed his crowdfunding campaign in late April, he’s already used the funds to raise the roof of his barn and expects to finish construction in September.
“With the exception of a couple grants, the rule of our farm enterprise has been to pay as you go and invest back into the farm,” stated Marty. “With that said, when we started considering the potential completion date of a barn that we started building in 2013, it was hard to see an end in sight. TLC Monadnock made it possible for us to embrace the idea of asking our community to support our cause and our project. Within two weeks of launching our campaign, with the tremendous support of TLC, we raised the funds needed to complete our barn.”
Marty continued, “I would encourage other farmers in the Monadnock region to explore the potential of crowdfunding for needed infrastructure and new initiatives. TLC Monadnock is a valuable resource in our community and can help us build a more resilient food system by helping to build more resilient farms.”
What are your thoughts and impressions of TLC Monadnock? Do you think our community would support this crowdfunding platform if we continued to host it? Should it become a state-wide or New England-wide tool? Let us know what you think. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-499-7950.
For more information on all thirteen projects of our TLC pilot to date, visit monadnocklocal.org/TLC.
TLC Monadnock is hosted by Monadnock Buy Local and supported by the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Region Planning Commission, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, Monadnock Buy Local and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.
Once again this month, Peterborough will celebrate First Friday on July 6th, from 5 - 7pm.
They're pleased to announce several open houses for new businesses in town, fun art exhibits, and of course, there are sales, tastings and lots of refreshments! Here is a sampling of the happenings:
Get Busy Living Studio, LLC, 45 Main Street
Carol Leger is offering 15 minute Wellness Consultations, free first class free and free essential oils sample!
Alley Cat Artists, next to Robin Oliver's Studio on Wall Street
Joan Barrows, oil paintings
Christine Destrempes, printed matter
Lulu Fichter, porcelain
Noel Greiner, found metal sculpture
Roger Goode, oil paintings
Robin Oliver, oil paintings
Ann Putnam, printmaker
Jane Simpson, collage and jewelry
Erin Sweeney, printed matter and jewelry
NEW BUSINESS OPEN HOUSE Chrysalis Community Health Center, 45 Main St.
Partake in a variety of treatments, enjoy refreshments and prizes galore!
Monadnock Humane Society Presents the MHS Summer Pet Tribute Wall Event in Depot Square
During the First Friday "Art for Animals" Exhibit Reception MHS will offer the opportunity for the public to honor their pets. Bring a favorite photo of your pet and hang it on our temporary Summer Pet Tribute Wall at our First Friday event at Depot Square. Memorialize a pet you've loved and lost, or honor one that is now in your family (or, pay tribute to the pet of an animal lover you know!).
Win a Custom Pet Portrait: Make a suggested donation of $5 (or any other amount), and your name will be entered to win a pet portrait. Several artists from the "Art for Animals" exhibit have donated their time to create a beautiful portrait of the pet of your choosing in their own personal artistic style. The MHS Summer Pet Tribute Wall will be on display from July 6th through the end of the exhibition "Art for Animals" August 30th.
NEW OWNERS of Gaia's Blessing, Summer Street
Meet David and Alethea Campbell an bid adieu to Michelle Lewis. Enjoy complimentary refreshments.
Here's the full line up:
First Friday in Downtown Peterborough July 6th From 5PM - 7PM and later
Summer is here, start getting out and enjoying what the area has to offer
Here are some of the merchants that invite you to join them:
Aesop’s Table, Depot Square (inside the Toadstool Bookstore)
NEW OWNERS, Eliza & Mary Jo Allen, See the new look and enjoy refreshments!
NEW ARTIST SHOW, Alley Cat Artists, in the Alley between Granite Block & 14 Grove St. --- Outdoor exhibit and sale, featuring 9 area artists
Ava Marie's Chocolates and Ice Cream, Grove Street, Perfect for ice cream on the Porch!
Aaron CubbageTherapeutic Massage, Depot Square, NEW BUSINESS Third Floor, Offices at Depot Square (next to Hobbs), Choose from 15 minute massages @ $20 Neck, Shoulders and Back Therapy, PLUS special offers!
Bowerbird & Friends, Depot Square, Come and explore, more great must haves than you thought possible.
NEW BUSINESS OPEN HOUSE: Chrysalis Community Health Center, 45 Main St. Take a look at the new, state of the art space, receive wellness evaluation, mini-acupuncture, enjoy refreshments and prizes galore.
Ask Dr. Cadorette to give you a tour of the new FDA-approved TMS procedure
European Esthetics, Depot Square, 5 minute Beauty Counter Makeup $10, enjoy a “sip and a munch!”
Gaia's Blessing, Summer Street, Meet the NEW OWNERS, David and Alethrea Campbell and farewell to Michelle Lewis. Enjoy complimentary refreshments.
Granite Block Art and Antiques, Main St. featuring antiques, estate jewelry and much more!
Farm House Table Cafe, School Street,, NEW OWNER, Kacey has put her touch in the cafe! See all the changes
Fry Fine Art, Grove Street, New Exhibit, ART IN BLOOM, Refreshments and cheese board.
NEW BUSINESS AND OPEN HOUSE --- Get Busy Living Studio LLC, 45 Main Street, offering, free 15 minute consultations, free healing oil samples
Grove & Main Antiques, Grove Street, will be giving away a GIFT with every purchase. Enjoy Refreshments.
Joseph's Coat, Grove Street, Always something new and tons of great finds! Serving a Summer Punch with (for Adults) or without (child safe)
Gallery Walk, Offices at Depot Square (3rd Floor, next to Hobbs) Monadnock Humane Society Partners with 8 artists Art Exhibit Celebrating the Visual World of Animals “Art for Animals”—Live Music and Refreshments served
Mariposa Museum, Main Street, Gift Shop open, exhibit at cost, “Conscience of the Human Spirit the life of Nelson Mandela”,
51 Quilts by Women of Color Network LAST WEEKEND FOR THE SHOW
Monadnock Oil & Vinegar Company, Grove Street, Tastings & a new product line of NH Herb & Spice Co
Nest Children's Shop, Grove Street, Celebrate the Start of Summer with 50% off Sale on select items
Peterborough Art Academy, Depot Square, Big Sketch Book sale and New Artists on exhibit
Peterborough Community Theatre, School Street ----Ocean's 8 - Movie Starts 7pm
Smart Nutrition, Ruth Clark, 20 Grove St. -- Cooking demo at 6pm "creating Tasty Summer Main Dish Salads" Enter for raffle of basket of herbs & spices!
Tribals-Rugs by Hand, Depot Square, 10—20% off all rugs
Sharon Art Center and Galleries, Depot Square, Shop is offering 20% off purchases
Shakti Healing Arts, Depot Square with complimentary drinks loaded with vitamins, mineral, antioxidants and anti-aging properties……
Even Love Tonics to start the weekend!
Steele’s Stationers, Main Street, Gifts, Stationery, Office Supplies and Fine Cigars
Toadstool Bookshop, Depot Square, Independent book store with tons of awesome books!
Underneath it All, Depot Square, Come see our new Make over, Felina Panty Sale, Offering Refreshments
Vicuna Chocolates, Main Street, Come for a taste, check out the factory space and stay for a while
Please join Monadnock Buy Local and our partners this Friday from 5 - 7pm at The Hive for the roll out of the First Friday Art Hop -- an ongoing, year-round arts event that is coming to Keene starting on July 6th.
First Friday Art Hop is an opportunity for the community to come together to support the arts and broader initiatives that will further cultivate Keene and the Monadnock region as an awesome place to live or visit and a great place to engage with artists and arts organizations. And, of course, supporting the arts and Downtown Keene is good for our local economy.
Opportunities for artists include: Art sales/vending, performances, gallery shows, installation collaborations, partnerships with non profit entities, funding!, public art proposal development, temporary and permanent sculpture installations, program input and more.
This event will focus as well on promoting local food and our restaurant scene, great music and our COMMUNITY!
This year, Monadnock Buy Local is collaborating with the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, Seacoast Eat Local, Seacoast Local and hopefully you to amplify the “Eat Local” message and empower more of us to celebrate the harvest.
We’re looking for partners to help us spread the word and energize all parts of the state to celebrate NH Eat Local Month.
Partners will receive:
How do you sign on as a partner? It’s easy — just send an email to email@example.com with an “I’m in!” message and we’ll add you to our list (be sure your business/organization is easy to identify). There’s no cost to you to participate as a partner.
Job Opening: The Monadnock Sustainability Network is looking to find a talented person for a part time position in a new program as the Monadnock Energy Hub Program Coordinator. The Hub’s mission is to pursue effective and achievable initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, and improve resilience locally.
The Coordinator role includes project/program management, independent research, updating media, and organizing events. The coordinator will be responsible for learning about local energy options, compiling and sharing information with Hub members, and providing key roles of continuity and leadership to support consistent progress in reducing greenhouse gasses.
Nest Children’s Shop, located at 4 Grove Street, downtown Peterborough, its Second birthday Celebration on Saturday, May 5, from 10am to 4pm. Owner Kim Peck invites the community to join the fun -- festivities include raffles, door prizes, new toys & games, sale tables and complimentary birthday cake.
Over the past two years, Nest has distinguished itself as Peterborough’s neighborhood shop for creative, high quality and affordable children’s toys and games, as well as beautiful infant clothing, accessories and gifts. Nest's unique products are inspired by children who love to create and imagine, offering a number of wooden toy brands, cooperative games, and eco-friendly activities.
“Nest offers an environment that goes beyond the internet, a place where our customers can connect with the products, feel the softness of the clothing, and try out a toy or game," says Peck. "At Nest, we focus on affordability, customer service and community."
At the 2nd Birthday Celebration, families will have the opportunity to sign their children up for the Nest Birthday Club, try out the new Plus Plus construction toy and view newly arrived spring infant clothing.
"Shopping local is very important to us," explains Peck, "When we spend our money in neighborhood shops, we are keeping our community and economy running. We are very excited to be celebrating this milestone with our community and friends. We couldn't do this without them!"
Ted McGreer from Ted's Shoe & Sport in Keene shares why he's a Monadnock Buy Local Member -- and a proud independent business owner.
Join with Ted and 116 others:
Now is the time to join Monadnock Buy Local, a movement to cultivate a more local, green and fair economy in the Monadnock Region.
We are individuals, businesses and organizations working to promote the positive economic and community benefits of spending and investing our dollars locally, while supporting programs and policies that forward our vision.
Maple Nut Kitchen is so excited to open their doors and invite you to see (and celebrate) their new location. Please RSVP by April 10.
Dominique Cassie from Terrapin Glassblowing Studio in Jaffrey shares why she's a Monadnock Buy Local Member -- and a proud independent business owner.
Join with Terrapin and 106 others:
Now is the time to join Monadnock Buy Local, a movement to cultivate a more local, green and fair economy in the Monadnock Region.
Learn more and join today!
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431