Summer means vacation for many of us. However, taking a vacation doesn’t have to include traveling far to get away. Take a staycation this year! Stay close to home and experience all the Monadnock Region has to offer. You’ll save money at the gas pumps. Plus, any money you do spend will recirculate in our local economy, building more community health and wealth.
Here are just a few events to add to your staycation plans this June. Also, keep reading to the end of this article to find out how to enter our Staycation Giveaway!
Downtown storefronts will transform into art galleries during Keene ArtWalk on June 3 – 12. Stroll up and down Main Street to view the works of over sixty New Hampshire artists. On Saturday, June 4, the ArtWalk expands to Railroad Square with a day of performances and demonstrations, including ballroom dance, glass blowing, and more.
Also on June 4, downtown Keene comes alive with food, too! The Keene Young Professional Network will host the second annual Taste of Keene Food Festival at the top of Main Street from 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Central Square, the upper section of Main Street, and part of Roxbury Street will be closed to traffic, allowing for a fantastic pedestrian-only event.
Enjoy small bites from twenty-five local restaurants and food producers. Purchase your food tokens today and save. Watch cooking demos from local and regional chefs throughout the day.
As an added treat, The Colonial Theatre will host two live performances during the festival, the Real McCoy Show International Stunt Comedy in a Hard Hat.
Brent McCoy is the Real McCoy. “His acclaimed show features breathtaking stunts, natural charisma, and a lightning-fast wit. It’s a rocking circus and comedy experience, appropriate for all ages. This ain’t no imitation… it’s the Real McCoy,” shared The Colonial Theatre. “The show features audience participation, original comedy, diabolo, juggling (fire is optional), breakdancing, and his signature finale, ‘a boy on a board on a ball on a bench.’ Brent will meet members of the audience in The Colonial tent between performances. And it's customary to tip street performers!”
Don’t forget to visit the Taste of Keene’s local craft biergarten to sip on a selection of our region's best brews and spirits (21 and over). Please bring your ID. Beverage tickets available for sale at the event. Enjoy live music while you sip from three bands: The Evocatives, Modern Fools, and Mojohand.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! This just in from KeeneYPN: We're looking for ten brave souls who are looking to terrify their taste buds in a scorching hot wing eating contest at the Taste of Keene Food Festival. Contestants will be expected to eat four rounds of increasingly hot chicken wings, with short breaks between each round to let the heat...well...burn. If more than one person survives the wings, we will offer a devilish dessert as a tie-breaker. The winner will be the last one sweati--uh, standing.
Each contestant will get a limited edition Taste of Keene Hot Wing t-shirt, flame sweatband, pint of Frisky Cow Gelato and pint of milk. Please note that contestants will be required to sign a waiver prior to participating.
Enter by purchasing your ticket here ($30 entry fee). The The Few, the Brave, the SPICY!! contest will run from 3:30 to about 4:15.
For a more nature-based staycation plan, join Monadnock Conservancy for a 20-mile mountain bike tour in Fitzwilliam on Saturday, June 18, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Learn about plans to improve this section of the Cheshire Rail Trail, plus efforts to protect the Chamberlain Conservation Area and Sip Pond. Registration is required.
Gilsum will ROCK the weekend of June 25 – 26 during the Gilsum Rock Swap & Mineral Show at the Gilsum Elementary School and Community Center. Browse tables, tables, and tables of gems, jewelry, and minerals for sale or swap. Grab a meal and pan for minerals. At 1 p.m. on Saturday, Paul Brandes, the “Indiana Jones of Geology,” will share a history of mining starting 60,000 years ago.
View the full schedule
Finally, check out our Independents Month Staycation Promotion coming this summer. Enter our giveaway by signing on to our Indie Month Challenge.
Take our pre-survey now and then a post-survey (coming in late July). Complete both surveys for your chance to win our Staycation package.
The winner of our Staycation Package will receive a two-Night Stay at the Inn at Valley Farms in Walpole, a gift card to The Hungry Diner in Walpole, a gift certificate to the Farm Store at Walpole Valley Farms in Walpole, a gift certificate for two 5 x 7 photo prints from Peterborough Camera, Copies & More in Peterborough, two tubes of sunscreen from Badger in Gilsum, one yoga class from Aloha Keene, and two keychains from GeoGraphic Gems. Best of all, you can enter to win an Upper Valley of NH/VT staycation package, too. We’ll announce winners in early August.
Take the Indie Challenge!
By Luca Paris
We've tried some new things since I joined as CEO of the Greater Keene & Peterborough Chamber of Commerce (GKPC):
Thank you for all you’ve helped us achieve.
The GKPC continues to collaborate with the community, and our latest endeavor is sponsoring The Thing in the Spring, a four-day music festival happening this week right in downtown Keene at Brewbakers/Nova Arts!
To multiply our impact and support events that benefit our businesses, residents, and increase tourism, we’re giving you an opportunity to help us meet our vision. Even a $5 donation supports our mission to ensure our businesses continue to grow and our region thrives for generations to come.
Support Our Campaign Today!
The Thing in the Spring has already been shared with more than 100,000 social media followers via the artists performing. It’s generating the exact buzz we hoped it would. Equally important, this festival is for all ages, so our high school students can come together to celebrate at a time when they’ve never needed it more.
I am grateful for all you’ve helped us achieve and the difference you’ve made in our local economy. Let’s keep the celebrations going and please donate today!
Twenty years ago, locally owned businesses in Tampa, Florida, came together to celebrate the very first Independents Week. Soon after, American Independent Business Alliance helped bring Independents Week to independent business alliances throughout the United States. Now, twenty years later, American Independent Business Alliance invites communities to come together to celebrate Independents Month!
Independents Month is a time to recognize our locally owned and independent businesses and the community values they embody:
Independents Month, part of AMIBA’s Shop Indie Local Initiative, is the perfect time to shine a light on the Local Multiplier Effect and the Monadnock Indie Impact Study. Together, we’ll inspire our communities to take positive action and boost the positive ripple effects our neighborhoods, towns, and cities receive when we spend more of our dollars at locally owned, independent businesses.
Independents Month is a time to reflect on your ability to think and act independently and embrace your part in shaping the future of your community. Shop Indie Local and boost the multiplier effect in your region. Also, take time to acknowledge the independent business owners you know.
Another way to celebrate Independents Month is to take the Indie Challenge. Pledge to make all of your purchases at locally owned businesses for one day, one week, or the entire month. Sign on to the Indie Challenge today!
Traveling during Independents Month? Enjoy what locally owned, and independent businesses have to offer wherever you’re visiting. Ask locals where their favorites are and look for independent business alliances in the areas you’re visiting.
Carla Jimenez, co-owner of Inkwood Books and co-founder of the Tampa Independent Business Alliance, created the first Independents Week in 2001. In 2005, AMIBA began promoting the campaign nationally, providing tools to help communities organize their own Independents Week celebrations.
This July, let’s celebrate our independence and our independents together.
The Monadnock Farm Share program makes farm shares more accessible to limited-income community members who otherwise would not be able to participate in a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
CSA programs are an opportunity for community members to enjoy farm-fresh produce while supporting local agriculture.
Community members pay 50% of the total farm share cost through the program. View program eligibility here.
This year's applications are due by May 30, 2022, and Cheshire County Conservation District will review applications on a rolling basis (first come, first served).
Community members choose from a listing of participating farms throughout the region.
Access this year's program information & eligibility, application, and participating farm list below:
2022 Participating Farm List
Program Information and Eligibility
What is a CSA?
Farmers face many costs in the operation of their farms. Community Supported Agriculture programs alleviate the financial burdens of farmers before the season begins. CSA customers provide an upfront payment to reserve a share of the season's harvest.
The cost of the CSA serves as a deposit for the season! This upfront cost allows farmers to purchase needed seeds, materials, or equipment for the upcoming season. At the same time, customers can reap this investment by taking home delicious produce once the farm season begins!
Many farms offer half share or full share CSA options. These options vary from farm to farm, but half shares are smaller to feed smaller households, while full shares can feed a larger household or households that eat a lot of vegetables.
Some farms offer on-farm pick-up days, while others provide delivery! Some farms pre-package their CSA shares for a quick pick up, while others allow customers to pick-your-own (PYO!). Pick-up days offer a unique experience to see where your food is grown and interact with other community members! While delivery offers a convenient way to bring fresh produce to your household!
By purchasing a CSA, you support local agriculture while also eating delicious, nutritious, and locally grown produce!
For additional information, questions, or assistance in completing your application, contact Benée Hershon at email@example.com or 603-756-2988 x 3011.
What better way to kick off this year’s Bike Month than by participating in the second annual National Ride a Bike Day on Sunday, May 1. It’s THE day to celebrate the joys of bicycling! Wondering how to celebrate? Go for a ride.
“We firmly believe that life is better for everyone when more people ride bikes,” shared the League of American Bicyclists. “On National Ride A Bike Day, let’s all ride bikes together, wherever we are and at our own pace, to take part in a collective action and kick start making life better for everyone.”
Why bike? Bicycling offers a fun and healthy way to get around. Studies show cycling elevates mood, memory, and metabolism. Cycling also reduces our carbon emissions and overall environmental impacts. All great reasons to get rolling!
“When all of us who ride bikes ride together on National Ride A Bike Day,” continued the League of American Bicyclists. “We can show our neighbors and our leaders why making it easier, safer, and more accessible to ride a bike is so important to so many people.”
Please join us on Sunday, May 1, for National Ride A Bike Day and then keep celebrating Bike Month all month long.
Following Bike Day, schools across the country will celebrate Bike & Roll to School Day on May 4. Over 800 schools will participate to call attention to making routes to schools safer and kids more active.
Learn more about Bike & Roll to School Day
The Kiwanis Kool Wheels Event will happen on May 7, from 10 am to 12 pm, at the Keene Recreation Center. Kool Wheels is a free family event where kids ages 4-12 may select a new bicycle helmet and learn about bike safety. Kids can bring their bicycles to the event for a tune-up.
Put these dates on your calendar: Bike to Work Week is May 16-22, with Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20.
Discover more about Bike Month
Track all your bicycling miles on Love to Ride's website. Once you're registered, you can also sign up for their National Bike Challenge. Create your own goals, connect with other bicyclists, and perhaps even win a prize.
Keene’s Transportation Heritage Trail project will connect the rail trail from Eastern Avenue to the Swanzey town line. While we can’t enjoy this project until 2027, we can help fundraise for the trail by participating in Pathways for Keene’s 4 on the 4th Road Race.
This summer, the City of Keene begins work on the Ammi Brown Trail and sections of the rail trail between the intersection of Hurricane and Aldrich roads to Summit Ridge Drive. Once completed by July 31, we’ll have a new bicycle and pedestrian loop that runs along West Street, Park Avenue, Summit Road, and Summit Ridge Drive, linking to the Cheshire Rail Trail.
Another important development in bicycling this year, UNH Cooperative Extension recently wrapped up a report called “Strengthening Connections: Downtowns & Trails,” highlighting how we can better connect Keene’s rail trails to downtown businesses. Assessors walked the trails and interviewed trail users to discover ways people do (and could) connect with our downtown assets.
“For a small city, Keene seems to offer a wide variety of businesses with numerous restaurants and a variety of retail as well as office space,” cited the report. “Assessors, by and large, found the business amenities available in Keene to be great assets. From a variety of restaurants, sporting opportunities, to general shopping, there were a number of places a trail user and any visitor or resident for that matter, might frequent.”
The report recommends adding more wayfinding signs to direct people towards these attractions.
“One main feature that will help with this connection is the inclusion of information about businesses and services on signage about trails,” stated the report. “Simple statements such as ‘downtown businesses are x miles from this point and include food, retail, and services.’ There is a great display in Railroad Square that could be further enhanced with information about general downtown amenities.”
The report also calls for amplifying the amazing community art near the trails, plus adding more art along the trails.
“Community art can be a powerful value-add to a user’s or resident’s overall experience in a community. Keene is fortunate to have a strong commitment to community art,” shared the report. “The Walldog Murals are the most vivid display of this effort and are visible from the trails. In addition to this clear asset, assessors noted a potential opportunity to enhance the community art space behind the Monadnock Food Co-op and right on the Cheshire rail trail. Others also noted that there were places along the trails that could be enhanced by the addition of some community art-such as sculptures.”
Read the full report
by Ethan DeWitt,
April 15, 2022
The New Hampshire Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee approved a $100 million, federally funded housing investment plan Friday, a critical step for a proposal touted by Gov. Chris Sununu as a means to increase rental capacity and workforce housing.
Voting 8-2, the committee signed off on a program to devote $60 million to matching grants for housing developments in the state and $40 million to grants to incentivize towns to speed up permitting processes and overhaul zoning laws. The initiative still requires approval from the state’s Executive Council, which meets April 20.
The new program would allow developers or housing organizations to apply for up to $3 million in matched funding for projects, provided those projects would be used for rental housing and include at least five units.
If the program is approved next week, the application period will begin in June, said Department of Business and Economic Affairs Commissioner Taylor Caswell, whose department designed the program and would be tasked with distributing the money. Developers will have until June 2023 to apply.
Meanwhile, towns will be eligible for $10,000 per unit of new housing they approve within six months, and will have access to funding to help demolish dilapidated properties or to hire consultants to help overhaul their zoning ordinances.
Addressing the committee Friday, Caswell said he expected many of the early grants to go toward developments driven by housing nonprofits.
“I’m anticipating that the first several rounds of this program would be held exclusively for our nonprofit developers who are developing exclusively those types of affordable units,” he said. “And for smaller developments.”
But some Democrats have continued to express concern that the initiative does not include income requirements, and urged Caswell to prioritize affordable housing projects when approving applications.
During Friday’s Fiscal Committee meeting, Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, a Nashua Democrat, asked Caswell why the department had opted to categorize the funds as “revenue replacement,” a designation that exempts the state from certain income limits. Approving the funds under the standard process would have required that the state target them to families making 300 percent of the federal poverty level or below.
“There’s no requirement for affordability standards,” Rosenwald said. “So I’m wondering why we chose not to build affordable housing with these public funds?”
Caswell said the state had used the revenue replacement approach in order to maximize flexibility for the projects and avoid limitations. But he said he expected many of the housing developments that apply for the funding to already have income targets because they are receiving external grants that require that.
Still, he said, the department anticipated a mix.
“They will be projects that have a zoning requirement that might be forced by locality, like an inclusionary zoning requirement,” he said. “They might be projects that have mixed income within them, so there’s a component that has an affordability piece to it, but then there’s a market rate component to that. And they might be in a rural town where you have an old Victorian house that somebody’s converting into five, six, seven units.”
Caswell said the department would publish lists of which projects get approved and how much each receives. And he said guidance for how developments could apply would be published ahead of June.
Rep. Susan Almy, a Lebanon Democrat, noted issues Lebanon has had with building affordable housing; housing developments that have been approved recently have tended to benefit residents making above the median income, she said, and not those who need it most. Still, Almy said she would support the funding due to the extreme need in the Upper Valley.
Senate President Chuck Morse, a Salem Republican and a candidate for U.S. Senate, said he supported the intention to make the program as flexible as possible.
First announced during Sununu’s State of the State address in February, the $100 million plan has received varying reactions from advocacy groups. ABLE NH, a disability rights group, has opposed the structure of the program, contending that it should be targeted to low-income residents and include guarantees for independent living projects, noting that people with disabilities have been burdened by the pandemic.
But one leading affordable housing organization, Housing Action New Hampshire, is supportive of the move.
“There are certainly a lot of projects from the nonprofit developer community that are focused on delivering affordable units to New Hampshire’s workforce, that are in the pipeline and honestly have competed for very limited resources,” said Elissa Margolin, the organization’s director. “And so now we have an opportunity to move a lot of those ahead and then partner with municipalities at the same time.”
The next step, Margolin continued, is to organize applications so that the affordable housing projects are given priority.
New Hampshire Bulletin is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Hampshire Bulletin maintains editorial independence.
Contact Editor Dana Wormald for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow New Hampshire Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter.
What’s Move Your Money Month? It’s a time to inspire you to move your money closer to home -- by banking with a community bank or credit union and investing in locally owned businesses in our region. Move Your Money Month is part of the Shop Indie Local movement, urging individuals to boost the ripple effect of economic and community benefits we receive when we spend and invest our dollars at locally owned businesses.
When you move your money to a community bank or credit union in our region, more of your dollars recirculate throughout our local economy -- building more local jobs and prosperity.
To back up a bit, what’s the difference between traditional banks, community banks, and credit unions? Traditional banks, publicly owned by stockholders, exist to provide a return on investment to its owners. Typically, these owners do not live where the bank does business. Community banks are privately owned and not publicly traded. These banks usually serve a specific geographical region. A credit union is a cooperative, meaning its members own it -- the people who use its services and live or work locally.
“The fortunes of local banks and credit unions are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits,” said Stacy Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Big banks, in contrast, are not tethered to the places where they operate. Indeed, they often use a community’s deposits to make investments in other regions or on Wall Street.”
Banking with a community bank or credit union often means getting the same services at lower fees than larger banks. Yup, more value for you and your community. “Average fees at small banks and credit unions are substantially lower than at big banks,” added Stacy. “Studies show that small financial institutions also offer, on average, better interest rates on savings and better terms on credit cards and other loans.”
Move Your Money closer to home and closer to your heart by choosing a bank more in line with your values. Who do you bank with now? Search for them at mightydeposits.com and find out what your bank does with your money. Discover how many dollars your bank invests in your community.
“The primary activity of almost all small banks and credit unions is to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments,” shared Stacy. “Meanwhile, big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to speculative trading and other Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank but provide little economic or social value for the rest of us and can put the entire financial system at risk if they go bad.”
Learn more about community banking at ilsr.org/banking.
Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Community Bank or Credit Union
In addition to moving your money to a community bank or credit union, we encourage you to invest in locally owned businesses. Why? The Monadnock Region Indie Impact Study found that businesses rooted in our region recirculate up to four times more money in our local economy compared to national chain stores. If we invested more capital in locally owned businesses, we’d see a return on investment that included more jobs and community prosperity.
“Americans now have $56 trillion in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and insurance funds—nearly all of it invested in global corporations,” said Michael Shuman, author and local economist. “If you and your neighbors could shift even a small amount of that capital from Wall Street to Main Street, your local economy could flourish.”
Ready to learn more? Sign up for The Main Street Journal, published by Michael Shuman, highlighting local investing news and events. Also, we’ll share local investing opportunities on our website throughout Move Your Money Month.
We’ll also celebrate Earth Day in April. “Invest in Our Planet,” this year’s theme, connects perfectly with Move Your Money Month. Find ways to share your time, talents, and treasures with our planet by investing in locally owned businesses, sustainable agriculture, alternative transportation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and equity.
Need some inspiration? Join us at Monadnock Earth Festival on April 23, from 12 pm – 4 pm in downtown Keene. Learn about what others are doing and making to invest in our planet, enjoy performers, and participate in activities from Railroad Square Park to the Monadnock Food Co-op. Hope to see you there!
Also, check out how our friends at Vital Communities connect with the Invest in Our Planet Earth Month theme.
We're getting ready for Move Your Money: Bank Local, Invest Local Month that starts April 1.
One of our first steps: Identify banks that help us keep our money closer to home.
Here's who we found (listed alphabetically):
Bank of New Hampshire (view impact data)
Headquartered in: Laconia, NH
Branch in Antrim
GFA Federal Credit Union (view impact data)
Headquartered in: Gardner, MA
Branches in Keene, Peterborough, Rindge
Mascoma Bank (view impact data)
Headquartered in: White River Junction, VT
About: Certified B-Corp
Branches in Keene, Peterborough, Rindge
Precision Federal Credit Union (view impact data)
Headquartered in: Keene, NH
Savings Bank of Walpole (view impact data)
Part of: NHTrust Financial Advisors
Headquartered in: Concord, NH
Branches in Keene, Walpole, Winchester
Service Credit Union (view impact data)
Headquartered in: Portsmouth, NH
Branches in Keene, Hinsdale
Did we miss any community banks or credit unions? Send us an email.
If you plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day at home this year, order take-out at an independent restaurant or purchase meals ingredients at locally owned market. This year, despite the pandemic, Americans plan to spend $5.87 billion to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Let's shift some of that spending to locally owned businesses!
Locally owned businesses help us keep the green in our communities. They strengthen our local economy, culture, and well-being. Independent businesses re-circulate more money in our community than chain stores. Moreover, studies show that small businesses create most new jobs.
We’re very excited to share that Monadnock Food Co-op selected Shop Indie Local as a Round It Up Donation Drive partner for March. Starting March 1, donate your change to us at the Monadnock Food Co-op to help expand Shop Indie Local into a year-round movement in the Monadnock Region.
Shop Indie Local celebrates locally owned businesses and works to increase spending at and investment in these businesses through events like Plaid Friday and Cider Monday. Supporting independent businesses is the key to building stronger local, equitable, and inclusive economies.
"The Monadnock Region continues to serve as a model for how communities can implement a strong Shop Indie Local holiday campaign," said Michael Faber, Monadnock Food Co-op General Manager. "We're excited to see this movement expand to include campaigns to boost local investing and eating more locally grown and raised foods."
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431