This Valentine’s Day, show your “local love” -- love for your sweetie and your whole community -- by purchasing gifts (or gift-making supplies) and meals (or ingredients) at locally owned businesses. Last year, Americans spent $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day. Imagine if we shifted some of that spending to locally owned businesses!
Locally owned businesses offer us much to love. 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, meaning today’s local Valentines are tomorrow’s jobs.
Last year’s National Retail Federation survey found that 53 percent of Americans planned to celebrate with candy, greeting cards, and flowers.
Small businesses made it to the top five Valentine’s shopping destinations in National Retail Federation’s survey. The local love spirit is growing! So, continue to show lots of local love this Valentine’s Day. That love will circle back to you, your loved ones, and — best of all — your entire community.
If you plan to shop for Valentine’s gifts online, please check if your favorite locally owned shop has an online store. Or browse our online collection of Valentine’s Day items from independent businesses at TLC Monadnock Mercantile.
Here are some extra special ways to show your local love this Valentine’s Day:
Purchase chocolates from Ava Marie Handmade Chocolates in Peterborough, Life is Sweet Candy Shop in Keene, Ye Goodie Shoppe in Keene, and L.A. Burdick Chocolates in Walpole. Have you seen Burdick’s seasonal Chocolate Rabbits to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit? Adorable and available to ship now through January 27.
Give a gift that keeps giving, select a weekly Flower CSA Share from Vera Flora Farm in Gilsum, Ripple Cut Flower Farm in Peterborough, or Catbird Flower Farm in Keene. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, meaning your purchase of a share now helps these farmers invest in the future growing season with confidence -- knowing that their bounty will go to a good home.
Send a greeting card from Tree-Free Greetings. They make their cards out of sustainable materials such as kenaf, hemp, wheat straw, and sugarcane waste -- right at their solar-powered facility here in Keene. Tree-Free donates 25% of their revenue (not just their profits) to nonprofits through their Cards for a Cause program. Pick up a card online or at Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene.
On February 10, join the Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene for their Local Love Sample Night from 4-6 p.m. Enjoy free samples of local and regional goodies perfect for a Valentine’s Day gift or to complement a Valentine’s Day meal.
Check out other local Valentine's events in 2023:
Looking for another way to show the local love and support local economies everywhere? Support our Shop Indie Local crowdfunding campaign on The Local Crowd Monadnock and fuel our year-round movement to grow more local, equitable, and inclusive economies.
With your help, we’ll strengthen campaigns like Plaid Friday and Eat Local Month in your community and throughout North America. Plus, we’ll add new efforts like Move Your Money and Shop Black-Owned Month.
Offline donations are also accepted. Checks should be made out to AMIBA with “Shop Indie Local” in the memo and mailed to AMIBA, 524 Boston Post Road, Wayland, MA, 01778. Thank you for fueling the Shop Indie Local Movement!
This February, The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock invites you to celebrate Black-owned businesses, Black history, and diversity in our communities. We’re teaming up with the American Independent Business Alliance and partners throughout North America to promote our Shop Black-Owned campaign. Together, we can build stronger local economies that are diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
How can you celebrate Shop Black-Owned Month in February? Here are some ideas!
Looking for more diversity on your plate? Eat at Yahso Jamaican Grille in Keene owned by Jamaican native Gail Somers. The food is authentic, and the atmosphere makes you forget you’re living in chilly New England. Yahso means “right here” -- reflecting Gail’s commitment to making her restaurant a gathering space for community.
“We are a family at home away from home,” shared Gail. “We have made our home in New England and love it here, but we are also fortunate to have preserved some of our rich cultural roots with us in the foods we love to cook and to share and enjoy with family and friends.
How about adding more diversity to your glass? Sisters Alisa Lawrence and Nilaja Young own New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery in Winchester with their spouses, Karl Lawrence and Kenny Young. The distillery makes vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, and a variety of creative cocktails. Many of their spirits contain locally grown ingredients, including cider apples, blueberries, and juniper berries from their own farm. Visit their inviting tasting room made from reclaimed wood and take a tour of their distillery (by appointment): newenglandsweetwater.com.
“There’s always something new to try while we guide you through the process of making each spirit and why we created it,” said Alisa. “Our spirits are cultivated from local products that spur local agriculture and sustainability.”
The more dollars spent at Black-owned businesses in our community, the more dollars recirculate in the local economy, boosting job growth, charitable giving, and overall prosperity.
Ask your favorite locally owned businesses if they carry products made or grown by Black-owned businesses. Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene plans to call out Black-Owned business products with shelf signs. Look for their signs when you shop at the Co-op throughout February.
We want to give a shout-out to one specific Black-owned business, Global Village Foods in Quechee, VT. Global Village makes delicious allergen-free samosas and African-inspired ready-to-eat dishes featuring produce from four Vermont farms. Owned by Damaris and Mel Hall, they blend their two backgrounds into one fantastic business.
“Damaris grew up in Kenya where simple, fresh ingredients and rich aromatic spices created vibrant traditional dishes for family gatherings and communal celebrations,” states Global Village Food’s website. “A world away, Mel from Memphis cherished Sunday dinners with three generations of family around a table full of bold, soulful Southern fare.”
Recently, Global Village won a grant from Vermont's Working Lands Enterprise Initiative and a New England Food Vision Prize to expand into college dining halls. Global Village will build relationships with more local farms, giving preference to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals and immigrant farmers. They’re working with the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success in Manchester and Concord, NH.
A new initiative hosted by the Keene YMCA, the Monadnock Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Coalition (MDEIB) works to promote and develop our region as a welcoming and inclusive place for all — including BIPOC individuals who live, work, and visit our community. MDEIB formed in 2021, guided by the City of Keene’s Racial Justice and Community Safety Report. Partners include community members, businesses, organizations -- and maybe you?
“To be a welcoming community and ultimately a thriving community, we need to celebrate and embrace our diverse people and cultures,” said Dan Smith, CEO of the Keene YMCA. “At the YMCA we support Shop Black-Owned Month as one small way of doing so. We see it as part of our commitment to becoming an anti-racist multicultural organization.”
The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire will host the Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talks both in-person in Portsmouth and virtually each Sunday in February and the first two Sundays in March. They titled this year’s theme, Bringing It Back: Conversations We Still Need.
The first Sunday’s discussion centers around the silenced stories of our history. "Before European Contact: Changing the Ways We Present Our History” on February 5 at 2 p.m. brings together panelists to bring forward our history from Indigenous and African people’s perspectives: Anthony Bogues, Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Brown University; Anne Jennison, New Hampshire Commission on Native American Affairs; and Akeia de Barros Gomes, Sr. Curator of Maritime Social Histories, Mystic Seaport Museum.
A big thank you to this year’s Shop Black-Owned Month Monadnock Region partners: Keene Family YMCA, Monadnock Food Co-op, New England Sweetwater Distillery, TLC Monadnock, and Yahso Jamaican Grille.
Stay tuned for Shop Black-Owned Month updates and how we’re collectively building stronger local economies that are diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
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 short-term status makes pop-ups less risky than setting up something permanent and typically requires less investment of time and money. It allows entrepreneurs to test a new product or business idea and see how the community responds.
Check out these upcoming pop-up events here in the Monadnock Region.
Northeast Wine Company will offer Vintage: A Pop-Up Wine Experience on January 5 and February 2 from 2 – 7 p.m. at Brewtopia on Washington Street in Keene. Taste, learn about, and purchase hard-to-find wines at retail cost.
“The American Northeast is currently experiencing a renaissance of wine production, making high-quality and unique wines in every state,” said Sarah Trubnick, owner of Northeast Wine Company. “Northeast Wine Company is dedicated to showcasing sustainably and responsibly produced wines from small wineries throughout these emerging regions. We strive to make these wines available in restaurants and wine shops across New Hampshire and increase public awareness of the Northeast’s unique terroir.”
This event is free, but participants must be 21+ years old. Please register in advance. Learn more about Northeast Wine Company.
Save the date for this pop-up! The Monadnocker is thrilled to announce their Local Community Pop-Up on May 20 at His & Hers Farm in Alstead.
“Think fresh air, flowers, and sunshine! The farm’s vintage, lovingly restored barn will feature talented makers from the area with handcrafted goods, foodie flavors, and sweet surprises. Wander His & Hers Farm with its slopes, pergolas, terrace, and garden scapes, all thoughtfully created by kind and generous husband and wife owners, Dean & Wendy,” shared Caroline Tremblay from The Monadnocker. “Together, we’re planning an event filled with lives tunes, games on the grass, and crafting activities for all! If you heard the buzz about our Greenhouse Pop-Up in 2022, you know this is not a day you want to miss.”
TheMonadnocker.com is a digital, local magazine designed to spark, delight in, and celebrate the local experiences that make Southern New Hampshire so extraordinary.
Here are two pop-up examples beyond our region to inspire the growth of our Pop-Up Economy: Holiday Pop-Up Shops in Oklahoma City and Replay Lincoln Park in Chicago.
Each December since 2012, an empty corner in Oklahoma City has transformed into an outdoor shopping destination called The Holiday Pop-Up Shops. This pop-up generated over $650,000 in sales for participating shops last year and raised significant funds for its organizer, the Independent Shopkeepers Association.
Imagine cozy igloo dome tents chocked full of unique products from locally owned businesses, a Christmas tree at the center of this festive scene (much like the one on Keene’s Central Square), plus other decorations and temporary structures to host shopkeepers and attract and delight residents and visitors alike.
“The Holiday Pop-Ups aren't just about supporting local shops; they're also about connecting our community through placemaking,” shared the Independent Shopkeepers Association. “We encourage customers to find new shops during the Pop-Ups and support those shops at their brick-and-mortar locations the rest of the year.”
New this year, The Holiday Pop-Up Shops offered a limited number of Top Shopper Happy Hour preview passes, giving true fans access to three preview shopping nights before the shops opened to the public. Happy Hour shoppers also received special goodies from partners and sponsors. Discover more!
A vintage arcade bar in Chicago called Replay Lincoln Park offers unique experiences by launching pop-up themes. Currently, the arcade bar hosts A Very Harry Christmas Pop-Up, transforming the bar into a Harry Potter-themed winter experience with special cocktails, magical photo opportunities, and fun events throughout the month. Past pop-up themes included The Office, Shrek's Swamp, Moe's Tavern, and many more.
“These pop-up shops are a celebration of pop culture and complement our core mission, said Mark Kwia, the manager at Replay. “We’re a vintage arcade bar that celebrates an easier, more youthful time. Never grow up; it’s a trap!”
Have ideas to make our community pop with the Pop-Up Economy? Share your vision with us at email@example.com.
You love the idea of buying local, but the next thing you know … click, you bought that gift online from a business based far from our community. It’s so easy! And your one purchase won’t really make a difference… or will it?
Shopping online impacts job growth, taxes, and land use patterns in our community. Why? One reason is the Local Multiplier.
The Local Multiplier occurs when you spend your dollars at a locally owned and independent business instead of a chain store or online giant. Spend your dollars at independent business and your dollars recirculate through our local economy four times more than if you spent that money at a chain store or online giant. As your dollars move through our community, the money generates more local wealth, charitable contributions, and jobs.
While the image above reflects national data, Monadnock Region independent retailers return, on average, $62 of every $100 spent at their businesses back into our local economy. National chain stores return $14 of every $100 spent, while Amazon returns close to zero.
We can thank the actions of independent business owners for the Local Multiplier since they spend more of their revenue locally than chain stores and online giants. “Say you spend money at a local pharmacy,” explains local economist and author Michael Shuman. “Its employees then go to the supermarket, which might buy from a local farmer. The more times and the faster a dollar passes between hands without leakage, the more income, wealth, and jobs in a community.”
To get more specific about jobs, one study found that independent retailers employ 57 people for every $10 million in sales, while Amazon employs only 14 people per $10 million in revenue. In 2021, Amazon sales in New Hampshire displaced 8,199 retail jobs, while Amazon employed just 1,000 workers in our state.
These statistics come from a Civic Economics study called “Unfulfilled.” The report found that Amazon’s sales displaced 1,014,163 retail jobs and 621.8 million square feet of commercial space nationally in 2021.
In some communities, the cost to taxpayers is even higher when economic developers offer tax rebates and subsidies to attract Amazon to base some of its operations in their region. As of November 17, Amazon and its subsidiaries received over $5.1 billion in public subsidies. Learn more at goodjobsfirst.org/amazon-tracker.
The rise of online shopping, undercutting Main Street retailers, also changes land use patterns. Amazon doesn’t place its warehouses downtown but in remote industrial parks. Civic Economics concluded that as demand for Main Street storefronts declines, so will local governments’ tax revenue base.
“Amazon provides a valuable convenience, one that tens of millions of households (ours included) are willing to pay $99 a year to maximize,” said Matt Cunningham from Civic Economics. “We do not believe, though, that Americans yet comprehend the nature of the tradeoffs to come. They may be asked to accept an increase of hundreds of dollars in annual household tax burden to pick up the slack from the stores they visit less often. They may be required to fund redevelopment efforts around struggling commercial districts and failed shopping centers, or to live with the boarded up storefronts.”
"This unprecedented study makes abundantly clear the deleterious effects on the American economy resulting from Amazon's strategy of retail dominance," said Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association. "It's our hope that the facts included in this report will help policymakers and the public better understand the need for more diversity in the marketplace and recognize the potential long‐term costs of the loss of healthy local economies."
Do you just love the ease of shopping online? You can still shop online and shop at locally owned businesses. Check out our online marketplace called The Local Crowd Mercantile. Discover gift ideas from 200 Monadnock region businesses. Thanks to Monadnock Food Co-op and Saving Bank of Walpole for allowing us to offer our online marketplace at no cost to participating businesses this year.
Remember, every purchase -- and click -- counts. Please Shop Indie Local this holiday season: Gift Local and Give More!
Give more this holiday season. How? By joining the Shop Indie Local movement! From our Thanksgiving meal to our New Year's Eve celebration, we’re purchasing more of our holiday gifts and celebration needs from our friends and neighbors -- locally owned business owners. Please join us!
Think about the people you love. Instead of stuff, what do you truly want to give them? Perhaps it’s more hope, inspiration, or connection. Now, consider each person, place, and thing that plays a part in growing, making, and getting that gift to your loved one. When you Shop Indie Local, you give more to everyone.
When you spend your dollars at locally owned retail businesses in the Monadnock Region, four times more money returns to our local economy than if you spend that same dollar at a chain store. Spend a dollar at an independent business and 62 cents return to our local economy. (Spend it at a chain store and only 13 cents return; spend it at an online giant and only a couple pennies return.)
Those 62 cents recirculate through our economy, generating ripple effects that increase job growth, charitable contributions, and community prosperity. If everyone shifted just 10% of their purchases from national chains to locally owned retailers, we would return $27 million to our regional economy annually.
Check out TLC Monadnock Mercantile, a regional online marketplace featuring a diversity of products and services from locally owned businesses. Our virtual store compiles gift ideas, gift cards, and restaurant take-out options -- all in one place. Best of all, it is free for locally owned businesses to participate.
The site includes 200 businesses offering some fabulous gift ideas for your loved ones. Many thanks to Monadnock Food Co-op and Savings Bank of Walpole for sponsoring TLC Monadnock Mercantile.
Shop Indie Local Online
This week after Thanksgiving is a super busy one for the Shop Indie Local movement as we celebrate Plaid Friday, Small Business Saturday, Artists Sunday, Cider Monday, and Giving Tuesday. Learn more!
For the thirteenth year, independent businesses and community members in the Monadnock Region will celebrate Plaid Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. This year's event falls on Friday, November 25, 2022. Wear plaid on Friday to show your support for our local economy and commitment to buying local this holiday season.
Learn More: Plaid Friday
A number of locally owned businesses will serve as Plaid Friday Hubs this year. Hubs pledge to photograph you decked out in plaid and answer questions about Plaid Friday. TLC Monadnock will post all Plaid Friday photos throughout the day on our Facebook page.
Find a Hub Near You
While Plaid Friday overshadows Small Business Saturday in our region, we encourage everyone to celebrate this event, too. One way to participate is to play Shop Small Bingo. Download your bingo card at tlcmonadnock.com/shopindielocal. No matter how you get involved, every little bit makes a big difference.
November 27 is Artists Sunday, an art shopping movement of over 4,500 artists and organizations coming together to encourage consumers to shop with their favorite local artists and makers during the holiday season. Think of it as Plaid Friday but for the arts. Learn more!
Instead of Cyber Monday, a day when online merchants offer special deals, we invite you to Cider Monday. On November 28, stop in for free cider from participating Cider Monday businesses. Also, if you choose to shop online, choose local too! Learn more!
A global generosity movement, Giving Tuesday on November 29 encourages you to give any way you can. Organizers share, “Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give.” Learn more!
We invite businesses and organizations to participate in the Monadnock Region's Plaid Friday event on Friday, November 25. Celebrate in creative ways that work best for you, your staff, and neighborhood.
As a Plaid Friday Hub, your business commits to:
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
“The arts are the lifeblood of our communities, raising morale, creating community cohesion, and providing comfort during dark times while also delivering a huge economic footprint,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “And it is more important than ever that everyone take part to recognize the creative and cultural value of the arts and humanities in our communities.”
This October, celebrate the arts during Shop Indie Art Month hosted by the American Independent Business Alliance. We’ll recognize all types of artists -- crafters, painters, musicians, actors, writers, and others -- and boast the positive impacts artists have on our community and local economy. Join us!
The arts mean business: In 2020, the art sector made up 4.2 percent of the US economy -- greater than construction, transportation, or agriculture industries -- and included 4.6 million workers. The arts also mean revenue for other local businesses, as each arts event attendee spends an additional $31.47 at neighboring stores, restaurants, and hotels.
Art boosts our well-being: A national opinion poll from the Americans for the Arts found that 69 percent of us believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” and 81 percent shared that the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.” Recognizing the healing power of art, about half of US hospitals offer arts programming.
Art brings us together: 72 percent of Americans believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity,” and 73 percent agree that the arts “helps me understand other cultures better.”
Art inspires creativity: One Journal of Business Research study found that displaying art in the workplace boosted employees’ creative thinking.
Shop Indie Art: Look for opportunities to purchase art and creative works from Monadnock Region artists. Here’s one option coming up soon: The 49th Annual Cheshire Craftsmen Fair on October 1 and October 2 from 9 am – 3 pm at the Keene Recreation Center. Shop early for unique holiday gifts, including home decor, quilted items, jewelry, soaps, woven items, quilted crafts, pottery, fleece and felted crafts, framed photos, wooden toys, wooden crafts, candles, and more.
Attend an art event or take a tour: Here are two fantastic chances to meet local artists and see where they work. The Monadnock Art Tour and Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour both happen the weekend of October 8 – 10. Take a walk around downtown Keene’s public art murals painted in 2019 by The Walldogs, a group of over 200 sign and mural artists from around the world. If you prefer a guided tour, register with the Historical Society of Cheshire County (tickets are $10 per person).
Discover more events
Take a class: Get your creative juices flowing by signing up for a class or two. Mill Hollow Works in Keene will offer a Halloween Mask Making Party on October 30, 10 am – 2 pm or 2 pm – 4 pm. Sign up your kids of “Trick or Treating” age. Tickets are $15 per mask maker. Check out all the details. The Jaffrey Civic Center will host card-making, poetry, and pastel classes in October. See details at jaffreyciviccenter.com/classes.
Browse many more classes
Show your art: Join #ShowYourArt2022, an Instagram challenge hosted by Americans for the Arts. They want to “inspire your creative spirit and showcase the culture that makes our communities unique and vibrant. And whether you post once or all month long, you’ll be part of the movement showing the power and purpose of the arts and humanities across all parts of life.” Learn more.
Stay tuned for more Shop Indie Arts news, events, and inspiration
Shop Indie Art is part of a larger Shop Indie Local year-round movement. Together, we inspire our communities to take positive action and boost the ripple effects our neighborhoods, towns, and cities receive when we spend and invest more of our dollars at locally owned, independent businesses.
For the tenth 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.
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 part one of this year’s bounty of updates!
Marty Castriotta of Village Roots Permaculture in Alstead recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to help him write a book called Emerging Patterns of Resilience. The book will explore some of the best examples of permaculture design in the Northeast, including farms and backyard gardens.
Permaculture uses ecological principles -- inspiration from nature -- to design and regenerate healthy, productive landscapes and communities. Marty aims to inspire the next generation, the climate generation, to co-create a future of abundance.
Support Village Roots Today!
Exciting news for local food producers in our region! Monadnock Food Co-op purchased a food production facility on the other side of their parking lot. Ten years ago, the building housed a shared-use space called Neighbor Made to support local producers.
While Neighbor Made closed, a plant-based meal producer, MamaSezz, currently utilizes the space. MamaSezz plans to outgrow the space within the next three years.
What’s next for the space? The Co-op hopes to establish a place that supports its own growth while providing production space for local food producers. Have ideas or questions? Please contact General Manager Michael Faber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This August, round up your purchases at Monadnock Food Co-op and donate your change to Food Connects, a food hub based in Brattleboro, VT. Food Connects proudly serves New England farmers and food producers and recognizes that local shopping strengthens our local economy.
In 2021, Food Connects broke all previous records and returned over $1,240,000 in sales to its farmers and food producers, demonstrating its commitment to New England food systems. New Hampshire food producers generated about 38% of these sales. Food Connects also joined the New Hampshire Food Hub Network, made up of six food hubs working collaboratively to strengthen our state’s local food economy.
“We’re thrilled to formally partner with the NH Food Hub Network to strengthen our hub’s connection to others across the state,” said Alex McCullough, Food Hub Co-Director, “Regional partnerships like this provide Food Connects with the ability to connect New Hampshire producers to new markets to the west and south.”
Cornucopia Project works to plant the seeds for a lifetime of healthy eating. This year’s fresh new offering includes a traveling hydroponic tower for growing food in our region’s schools, libraries, and institutions. They piloted the hydroponic tower in an eighth-grade science classroom and it quickly engaged the students.
Students helped establish the “baby” plants grown on Cornucopia Project’s educational farm in Peterborough and learned how to keep the plants nourished throughout the spring. Lettuce, spinach, pea, tomato, sage, basil, and Swiss chard (a favorite!) provided snacks every week, along with water chemistry and biology lessons.
“We are seeing the impact of firsthand experience on our participants’ learning, joy, curiosity, and engagement with the local food system,” shared Jess Gerrior, Cornucopia Project Program Specialist. “We celebrate our local farmers, restaurants, gardeners, seed savers, and others who are making those lifelong connections.”
One thing for sure, food can only be grown locally if there is local land on which to grow it. That’s why the Monadnock Conservancy is working to protect some of the most beloved farms in our region. Using a tool called a conservation easement – a permanent agreement that prohibits development but permits forestry and farming – the Conservancy ensures local farms stay farms in perpetuity while remaining more affordable for future farmers. What’s more, when established, many farm conservation easements provide cash to farmers to expand their business, pay down debt, or plan to transfer the farm to the next generation.
This summer, the Conservancy partnered with Kroka Expeditions to protect 15.5 acres of farmland in Alstead, where the wilderness school grows much of the food consumed by their students and livestock. The soil on the property is considered “prime” by the US Department of Agriculture, meaning it is among the country’s most fertile and productive farmland.
Monadnock Conservancy will work this summer to conserve seven acres of prime land owned and farmed by Pete’s Stand, a third generation farmstand, along the Connecticut River in Walpole. Looking ahead, Picadilly Farm in Winchester will conserve the last 25 unprotected acres of their 71-acre property, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm that feeds 1,000 households in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts.
“We are honored to partner with local farmers to ensure that their land remains available to farm forever and that their businesses thrive,” said Monadnock Conservancy Executive Director Ryan Owens. “The Monadnock Region’s farms are the cornerstones of our communities.”
Now, get out there and enjoy our farms! Attend the fourth annual Monadnock Farm Tour on Saturday, August 20, from 12 – 5 pm. Twelve vibrant Monadnock farms will open their barns, fields, hen houses, kitchens, and a pudding plant. The event highlights the impact farms have on our local economy, their role in preserving open space, and how they contribute to our quality of life. The tour costs $10 per car or $5 per person. This Monadnock Farm Tour is produced by the Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition and Monadnock Food Co-op.
Stay tuned for part two of this article in August, including local food and farm updates from Cheshire County Conservation District, The Community Kitchen’s Mobile Food Pantry, and more!
Thank you to all the individuals, programs, policies, and initiatives that continue to build a more robust local and regional food system in our corner of the state and throughout New England. Together, we’re cultivating healthier citizens, communities, and economies.
We’re wrapping up NH Eats Local Month -- a month-long celebration of local food, farmers, producers, and our local food system. A strong local food system keeps communities vibrant, economies growing, and landscapes healthy. When you eat local food, the benefits ripple out through our community, helping small businesses thrive.
Here’s part two of our article highlighting updates in our local food system.
The Local Crowd Monadnock and The Local Crowd Upper Valley launched a crowdfunding campaign to support Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire and Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont Farm Share Programs. These two programs support organic farmers while making high-quality local food more accessible to community members in need.
Funds raised from this crowdfunding campaign will allow more children, families, seniors, and other low-income individuals to receive a season’s worth of farm-fresh, organic produce at a reduced cost. Learn more and support this campaign today.
Support This Campaign
The Monadnock Food Co-op conducted its inaugural Producer Survey this year in partnership with the Cheshire Country Conservation District. The survey collected baseline data from 110 locally owned businesses growing or making products in our region.
These businesses’ most significant challenges include hiring labor, generating a profit, and developing marketing options. In terms of opportunities, survey respondents shared that they’d like to see local food system builders support Eat Local/Shop Local education, boost grant programs, and invest in labor resources. Learn more about the survey at monadnockfood.coop/vendors.
In 2022, Cheshire Country Conservation District partnered with the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship and National Center for Appropriate Technology to host a free business planning course for local food producers. Participating farmers learned how to enhance the competitiveness of their business, created a business plan, and received a $2,000 stipend. Stay tuned for another course this fall at cheshireconservation.org/businessplanning.
The Community Kitchen hosted its first Monadnock Mobile Food Pantry pop-up event at the Senior Living Center in Winchester this summer. In addition to pantry staples, the pantry offered locally grown produce from Picadilly Farm in Winchester. Southwestern Community Services provided information about food and heating assistance, and the Monadnock Humane Society offered pet food and information on animal care.
Help bring more local food to the Mobile Food Pantry by contributing to the Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition Locals’ Local Fund at bit.ly/localsfund. This fund will support local farmers who sell fresh, local food at a negotiated price to the mobile pantry. Interested in future mobile pop-up events or volunteering? Please call Kate at 603-352-3200.
Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition will launch a new marketing campaign to help you more easily identify products made or grown in the Monadnock Region. The “Monadnock Grown” designation will inspire us to choose local and boost our local economy by purchasing Monadnock made and grown products at grocery outlets and farm stands. Stay tuned at mfcommunitycoalition.org.
Some thirty gardeners are growing produce on more than sixty plots at Monadnock View Community Garden (MVCG) 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.
Gardeners donated seedlings and purchased plants to six dedicated 'Giving Garden' plots to grow vegetables for The Community Kitchen and Hundred Nights Shelter. Volunteer garden angels share in the watering, weeding, and harvesting.
"Impacts from food insecurity, supply chain issues, and climate change mean providing healthy local food to those who need it is more important than ever," shared Rowland Russell, who co-coordinates the Giving Garden with Toni Spring-Baker.
If you are interested in securing a plot at the garden next year, contact Kristy Morrison with the City of Keene at email@example.com. Contact Rowland to learn more about becoming a garden angel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 campaign. The more funds we raise, the more we'll amplify our message.
Together, we will:
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 November 1 - December 31, 2022.
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.
Your logo will appear in our Cider Monday ad in the Monadnock Shopper News (~60,000 weekly readers).
Your logo will appear in our Plaid Friday ad in the Monadnock Shopper News (~60,000 weekly readers).
Your logo or product will appear prominently on our TLC Monadnock Mercantile for one week (you choose the week - first come, first served).
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).
Sponsor a Plaid Friday Photo Booth in your town or business.
Your business will be mentioned during one week of our Plaid Friday radio ads (2 sponsors highlighted in each ad).
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, 2022. 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.
Keene Mayor George Hansel proclaimed July as Independents Month at the July 7, 2022, City Council Meeting.
"Keene's local independent businesses help preserve the uniqueness of the community and give us a sense of place," said Mayor Hansel. "As we celebrate Independents Month 2022, we acknowledge that the ability to choose the direction of Keene lies within each of us."
Independents Month, led locally by The Local Crowd Monadnock and nationally by American Independent Business Alliance, is a time to recognize locally owned businesses and how they make their community healthier and wealthier.
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431