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Keep the Green in Our Community: Choose Indie Sustainable

February 28, 2024 7:37 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

This March, The Local Crowd Monadnock invites you to celebrate Choose Indie Sustainable Month.

We’re teaming up with the American Independent Business Alliance and partners throughout North America to spotlight businesses that benefit our local economy, environment, and community -- triple-bottom-line businesses such as B Corps, cooperatives, and other enterprises.

Locally owned businesses, especially ones working towards a more environmentally sustainable and socially just economy, help us keep “the green” in our communities.  Independent and locally owned businesses in the Monadnock Region strengthen our local economy, culture, and overall well-being as they re-circulate more money in our community than chain stores and online giants.

Cooperatives In Our Community

Cooperatives, companies owned by their members, follow seven guiding principles, including democratic member control and concern for the community.  These businesses exist to serve their members instead of far-away stockholders. 

Monadnock Food Co-op, a grocery store in downtown Keene owned by over 4,400 community members, uses a cooperative business model.  Everyone can shop at Monadnock Food Co-op.  However, members receive additional benefits such as quarterly discounts, patronage refunds, and vote on who serves on the board of directors.

Monadnock Food Co-op conducts an impact assessment annually, measuring its fossil fuel use, waste reduction efforts, community contributions, and more.  We’ll share details from their latest assessment throughout March.  Here is one update: “Recently, the store has been focusing on increasing the amount of organic waste we divert from landfills to be composted,” said sustainability coordinator Jane Clerkin. “This has led to the overflow of our compost dumpster, which is definitely better than having it go into the trash. As a solution, we have partnered with Elm City Compost to assist Casella Waste Systems in managing our organic waste.” 

The Co-op’s roof hosts our region’s first locally owned community-supported solar project. The project is locally controlled, whereas most community solar projects are owned and managed by developers or utilities. The Monadnock Sustainability Hub developed the New Hampshire Community Supported Solar Guide from this project to help others replicate this project and bring more renewable energy to our region.

New in 2024, the Co-op installed two Electric Vehicle DC fast chargers and two level 2 electric vehicle chargers outside its building. Monadnock Food Co-op received a grant through the Volkswagen settlement funds to cover 80% of the project's costs. The remaining 20% was raised through The Local Crowd Monadnock and other fundraising efforts.

Co-ops Beyond Our Region

While Monadnock Food Co-op represents a consumer cooperative, other types of co-ops, such as worker cooperatives, exist. Instead of the shoppers owning the business, the workers own the company.  To learn more about worker co-ops, please join us for a virtual screening of the film Works For All about the worker co-op economy in Cincinnati, OH.  

This short documentary highlights the work of Co-op Cincy, an organization cultivating a network of worker-owned cooperatives to create a regional economy that works for all. Co-op Cincy also helps convert existing businesses (whose owners are retiring) into cooperatives.

On March 29 at 7 p.m., during a live virtual film discussion, let’s talk more about worker cooperatives and how this type of co-op is growing in New England (and beyond).  Discussion guests include Kristen Barker, co-director of Co-op Cincy, and Rob Brown, director of Business Ownership Solutions at Cooperative Development Institute.

Reserve your ticket today to view the film (for free!), and then watch it any time between March 29 and March 31.  Thank you to our event hosts, American Independent Business Alliance and Monadnock International Film Festival, and event sponsors, Littleton Food Co-op and The Local Crowd Monadnock.

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B Corps

A certification process called B Corp helps a company “measure what matters” and better balance its purpose and profits. B Lab, the nonprofit that leads this movement, currently lists 7,988 certified businesses from 96 countries.  B Corps based in our region include Badger in Gilsum and Frisky Cow Gelato in Keene.

“B Corp Certification is holistic, not exclusively focused on a single social or environmental issue,” reads B Lab’s website.  “And the process to achieve and maintain certification is rigorous and requires engaging teams and departments across your company. Recertification confirms these standards continue to be met on an ongoing basis.”  

Any business can fill out the B Impact Assessment online and see how they rank. For a business to become a Certified B Corp, it must earn at least 80 points in the B Impact Assessment and pay a certification fee.  The certified company receives a full report with recommendations from B Lab on how to boosts its positive impacts. 

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One well-known B Corp in our region, Badger in Gilsum, makes healing balms, lip balms, sunscreens, and other personal care products.  

“At Badger, we’ve always held true to what we call our North Star -- our vision for a healthier world,” says our Co-CEO, Rebecca Hamilton. “In the beginning, at a time when most businesses were making decisions based on the bottom line, Badger was making decisions based on strong mission-driven principles and ethos. In our mission statement, we say that money is a fuel, not a goal—meaning that our true reason for being in business is to enact our mission-based work and help create the healthier world we imagine. This commitment to doing the right thing for people and the planet continues to shape the way Badger does business today.”

Badger has committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and installed a rooftop solar array in 2020.  They strive to choose ingredients from suppliers that practice regenerative agriculture.  The company works hard to reduce plastic packaging, as well. 

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A new B Corp in our region, Frisky Cow Gelato in Keene, makes its decadent desserts from New Hampshire milk.  Owner, Linda Rubin, has committed her businesses to sourcing at least half of all its supplies and ingredients locally and donating 2% of its annual revenue to nonprofits building our local food system and boosting food security.

“Why gelato? Back in 1983, I visited Florence, Italy and fell in love with gelato! The creamy texture and rich flavors totally won me over,” shared Linda.  “Ten years later, I moved to New Hampshire and started working at Stonewall Farm, a nonprofit education center and dairy farm in Keene. I spent almost nine years working at Stonewall Farm, educating people about where their food comes from and the importance of local agriculture. I dreamed about making a value-added dairy product someday.”

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When we Choose Indie Sustainable, we do so much more than just shop – we bank, invest, create, and donate to boost the ripple effect of economic and community benefits we receive when we support our local economy. Together, we build strong local, equitable, and sustainable economies. Stay connected and learn more throughout March!

The Local Crowd Monadnock - Keene, NH

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