In early February, The Local Crowd Monadnock, Culinary Journeys, and Food Connects partnered to launch the Monadnock Restaurant Project, a homegrown stimulus program to help give the local restaurant economy the shot in the arm it needed to get through this winter. In March, Luca's Mediterranean Café recorded the best March in its 20-year history!
We’re thrilled to share more about what this grassroots effort accomplished and how we plan to support an exciting community event called A Taste of Keene Food Festival, taking place on June 5 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Central Square in Keene.
Thanks to 132 supporters, we raised $30,121 through a TLC Monadnock crowdfunding campaign. This community support empowered us to purchase 1,210 gift cards from 51 local restaurants. Thirteen business partners worked to quickly get these gift cards into the hands of their staff and community members, asking them to purchase double what each card was worth.
“These cards were not gifts, but a call to action,” said Luca Paris, owner of Luca's Mediterranean Café and founder of Culinary Journeys. “We anticipate that community members will spend at least twice the amount of what their gift card is worth, doubling the project’s impact by infusing $60,000 to these cash-strapped businesses. The more we spend locally, the more dollars we reinvest in our local economy.”
Our business partners included American House, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Cheshire Medical Center, Home Healthcare, Hospice & Community Services, Keene Fire Department, Mascoma Bank, The Keene Sentinel, Monadnock Broadcasting Group, Monadnock Shopper News, Nanotech, Savings Bank of Walpole, 17ROX, and The Peak.
The project also inspired others to pay it forward to support the local restaurant economy. Businesses such as Aloha Keene, Clark-Mortenson Insurance, Heaven Hair Gallery Salon, Historical Society of Cheshire County, The Insurance Source, Monadnock Food Co-op, Northern Lights Cheerleading, The Richards Group, and others launched their own efforts to support the Monadnock Restaurant Project movement.
A special thank you to 17ROX and Savings Bank of Walpole for providing matching challenges to motivate more people to give to our crowdfunding campaign. We also thank Alexis Chesney, Laura Carbonneau, and Monadnock Food Co-op for offering sponsored rewards during our campaign. These businesses and individuals donated $500 or more to our crowdfunding campaign: Eleanor Briggs, Electronic Imaging Materials, Inc., Patricia Kasal, The Keene Sentinel, Julie & Greg Tewksbury, Northeast Mountain Footwear/Fred's Shoes, Saving Bank of Walpole, Culinary Journeys, and 17ROX (plus other who chose to remain anonymous).
Stay tuned for Monadnock Restaurant Project updates at tlcmonadnock.com/stimulus.
To encourage participation in A Taste of Keene Food Festival on June 5, the Monadnock Restaurant Project will offer participating restaurants a stipend to ensure that these businesses can cover the costs associated with providing delicious offerings during this event. The Keene Young Professionals Network (KYPN) will host this event, with support from the City of Keene and community volunteers.
“What we really need is people coming out and feeling safe visiting these restaurants again,” said organizers from KYPN. “What we can do is provide an outdoor opportunity for the participating restaurants to showcase their dishes and make some money, abide by all local, state, and CDC guidelines, and schedule it when more people will either be vaccinated or feel comfortable attending. We hope to see you there!”
The event includes restaurant stations where local Keene restaurants will provide samples of their popular offerings (you purchase tokens to get the samples you wish to try), a local craft biergarten to sip on a selection of our region's best brews and spirits (21 and over; please bring your ID; you purchase tickets to get the beverages you wish to enjoy), a hot pepper eating contest with cash prizes ($30 to enter, but free to watch), and cooking demos from local and regional chefs in the gazebo throughout the day. Check out all the details, including lists of participating restaurants and breweries at keeneypn.com.
“Downtown merchants will be out on the sidewalks,” said event organizers. “And Keene's Art Walk will be kicking off with events the same day, so wander up and down Main Street between bites and see what's out there.”
Join us for the Start Small, Think Big campaign from May 10 through June 11. All gifts given to this crowdfunding campaign will benefit Monadnock United Way’s signature impact program, Impact Monadnock (IM). IM seeks to improve outcomes for all children in the Monadnock Region, from birth to age eight, and their families.
Poverty, adverse experiences, and limited access to quality child-care negatively affect a child’s ability to grow to his or her fullest potential.
Unfortunately, children in the Monadnock Region are affected by these factors more than most children in the state:
The most important investment we can make—focusing on the welfare of children from birth to age eight creates a strong foundation for their future health and happiness. And this in turn, leads to more stability and prosperity for the communities where they live.
Please stay tuned for our campaign launch. For more information, visit muw.org/impact.
What better time to get your bicycle out of storage and tuned up than National Bike Month starting May 1. Led by the League of American Bicyclists, Bike Month is a time to celebrate bicycling and encourage those who don't bike to give it a try.
NEW: May 2 is Ride A Bike Day!
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!
This year's Bike Month theme is "Bike There." Since forty percent of all trips in the U.S. are less than two miles, shifting some of those trips from automobiles to bicycles can have a significant impact. Whenever you're about to hop into your car to travel somewhere a mile or two from home, ask yourself, "Can I bike there instead?" If the answer's yes, we hope you'll go for it.
In addition to shifting your trips, we hope you'll track your 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.
I've tracked 508 miles over 139 trips on Love to Ride. The site motivates me to bike more by converting my miles into pounds of carbon dioxide reduced and calories consumed. It tells me I've burned off 18,811 calories and reduced my carbon footprint by 160 pounds. For a bit more fun, you can enter your goals not just in miles but chocolate bars, pints of beer, or slices of cake burned off.
Last May, Monadnock Food Co-op, Monadnock International Film Festival, and Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation hosted a virtual screening of the film, MOTHERLOAD, exploring cargo and electric bicycles. The film made such an impression that when my car died last summer, I decided to replace it with a cargo e-bike. It's a blast to ride with lots of room for groceries.
"If you're wondering how we can do more post-COVID-19 than just getting back to 'normal' but actually make a better world -- watch this movie," shared Ted White, Keene State College. "The film is about bicycling -- yes, but also visionary dreams, sensory joy, soul-health, our struggle to escape the entrapment of technology, a way out of a consumption-based existence, and more."
"An electric assist bike allows a non-biker the opportunity to get started with biking that they may otherwise would not have the capacity to do," said Mike Kowalczyk, Monadnock Region Rail Trail Collaborative. "It's a means for those that have been inactive to become active and enjoy the outdoors. It also benefits current bikers by giving them the ability to go farther."
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to see the film. If we get enough interest, we can schedule an encore screening.
While just past Bike Month, the Kiwanis Kool Wheels Event will happen on June 5, from 10 am to 1 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.
Besides bicycling more this May (and hopefully watching the film MOTHERLOAD), take the time to connect with the groups building a more robust cycling culture in our region and beyond.
Hope to see you bicycling in May!
We have wonderful news to share! We successfully completed our crowdfunding campaign for the Monadnock Restaurant Project. We raised $30,121 from 132 donors. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
While our campaign ended, our work continues:
Some special thank yous:
Please keep in touch with our project by signing up for updates through The Local Crowd Monadnock.
Luca Paris, Jen Risley, Laura Carbonneau, and Monica Marshall
PS: Our Snacktime Selfie Contest continues! Help spread the word and get a change to WIN. (Thanks to Elm City Brewing for this image.)
Each year, Monadnock Food Co-op organizes the Monadnock Region Earth Festival. Since we can’t gather in-person this year, we’re thrilled to partner with Monadnock International Film Festival (MONIFF) and Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition (MFCC), producers of the Feast On This! Film Festival, to transform our celebration into a virtual film festival for 2021. We hope you’ll join us.
The Monadnock Earth Day Film Festival will take place from April 22 - April 24, 2021. This free online event will feature films and host panel discussions to celebrate and cultivate a more resilient world.
"Uniting our film festivals into one energizing and impactful event is such a win-win for MFCC and the region,” said Roe-Ann Tasoulas from MFCC. “We're able to offer our community incredibly moving, funny, and thought-provoking documentaries fresh from larger festivals thanks to this collaboration."Curious about our film line-up? Please read on.
Seeding Change Film | Long Trailer (2:45) from Seeding Change on Vimeo.
This film features “triple bottom line” businesses that consider the social, environmental, and financial impacts of their companies addressing some of today’s most challenging issues. This award-winning documentary empowers viewers to be part of the solution by voting with their dollars and supporting the brands and products that align with their environmentally conscious values: seedingchangefilm.com.
First We Eat - Trailer from Suzanne Crocker on Vimeo.
What happens when an ordinary family living just south of the Arctic Circle bans all grocery store food from their house for one year? Add three skeptical teenagers, one reluctant husband, no salt, no caffeine, no sugar, and -40° temperatures. Ultimately the story becomes a celebration of community and the surprising bounty of food that even a tiny community in the far North can provide: firstweeat.ca.
Why we cycle from Nieuw & Verbeterd on Vimeo.
To the Dutch, cycling is as normal as breathing. Take a ride with ordinary cyclists and specialists from a variety of fields. These conversations uncover some obvious but even more hidden effects of cycling on people, societies, and the organization of cities: whywecycle.eu.
The Falconer Trailer from The Falconer on Vimeo.
Meet master falconer Rodney Stotts on a mission to build a bird sanctuary and provide access to nature for his stressed community. This film is a story of second chances: for injured birds of prey, for an abandoned plot of land, for a group of teenagers who have dropped out of high school, and for Rodney himself. The Falconer weaves Rodney's present-day mission with the story of his past, both of which are deeply rooted in issues of social and environmental injustice: thefalconerfilm.com.
Meet 56 fifth graders from Public School 15 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, living in the frontline of the climate crisis. Their actions on plastic pollution morph into extraordinary leadership and scalable victories. With stop-motion animation, heartfelt kid commentary, and interviews of experts and renowned scientists engaged in the most cutting-edge research on the harmful effects of microplastics, this alarming yet charming narrative conveys an urgent message in user-friendly terms: cafeteriaculture.org."MONIFF is thrilled to celebrate Earth Day by bringing the community together through diverse films and thoughtful discussions," said Dee Fitzgerald from MONIFF.
This event is free; however, registration is required.
We thank our event sponsors: Franklin Pierce University, Greater Keene and Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, League of Conservation Voters, Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition, Vital Communities, and W.S. Badger Co. Interested in sponsoring this event? Please contact email@example.com.
In addition to our film festival, groups from around the region will offer other Earth Day events in April.
Stonewall Farm in Keene will host a virtual Earth Day 5K Walk/Run & Bike Tour from April 19 - April 24. The funds raised will Stonewall Farm’s mission of teaching and demonstrating regenerative farming to people of all ages to ensure food security, vibrant communities, and a healthy planet. Details at stonewallfarm.org/events/earth-day.
Join the Harris Center for Conservation Education for a Vernal Pool Hike at the Horatio Colony Preserve in Keene on April 21 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Every spring, small depressions in the forest floor come alive, filling with rain, melting snow, and, eventually, salamander and frog eggs. By summer’s end, many of these vernal pools will dry out, revealing little trace of the life they contained in April. Space is limited, so please register at harriscenter.org/events.
On April 21, the Franklin Pierce Institute for Climate Action will host a screening of Kiss the Ground, a movie that explores the possibilities of regenerative agriculture. Stay tuned for event details!
Discover More Earth Day Events
While our celebration is virtual, we hope our film festival will inspire you to “unplug” and venture more outdoors, from your backyard to Mount Monadnock and every bit of wonder in between. We also hope to connect you to causes that inspire you to build a more regenerative and inclusive world for all. Most of all, we hope to cultivate … hope.
In early February, The Local Crowd Monadnock, Culinary Journeys, and Food Connects partnered to launch the Monadnock Restaurant Project, a homegrown stimulus program to help give the local restaurant economy the shot in the arm it needs to get through this winter.
According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 69,500 individuals worked in restaurant and foodservice jobs in New Hampshire before the pandemic—representing 10% of the state’s total employment. However, more than 200 NH restaurants have permanently closed since last March. The Monadnock Restaurant Project looks to inspire community support for local restaurant owners and their employees to keep these businesses open, and their staff retained.
In one month, the project dispersed over 600 gift cards from 25 local restaurants to employers, including C&S Wholesale Grocers, Nanotech, and Savings Bank of Walpole. These businesses shared these gift cards with their staff and asked them to spend the cards quickly, providing an immediate shot in the arm to Keene's local economy this winter. The Keene Sentinel and Monadnock Broadcasting Group also distributed gift cards to community members through contests and giveaways.
Organizers are fundraising for the project through The Local Crowd Monadnock's community-based crowdfunding program. Currently, they have raised 82% of their overall goal of $30,000. Culinary Journey's contributed $10,000 to start this project, and eighty-two community supporters have donated an additional $14,500. This crowdfunding campaign continues through March.
Support The Monadnock Restaurant Project
The funds raised will be used to purchase a second round of gift cards from local restaurants and food businesses in the Keene area, businesses not included in phase one of the project.
The project also aspires to inspire others to pay it forward to support the local restaurant economy. Businesses such as The Richards Group, Historical Society of Cheshire County, and Northern Lights Cheerleading have launched their own efforts to support the Monadnock Restaurant Project movement.
“These cards are not gifts but a call to action,” said Luca Paris, owner of Luca's Mediterranean Café. “We anticipate that community members will spend at least twice the amount of what their gift card is worth, doubling the project’s impact by infusing $60,000 to these cash-strapped businesses. The more we spend locally, the more dollars we reinvest in our local economy!”
Learn more about the Monadnock Restaurant Project
The Historical Society of Cheshire County is conducting a pop-up membership campaign inspired by the Monadnock Restaurant Project. The board and staff of the Historical Society have chipped in to purchase 25 gift cards for local restaurants. On March 19, the gift cards will be given to randomly selected members of the Historical Society.
The director of the Historical Society, Alan Rumrill said, “We thought the restaurant gift cards would be a good way to promote membership in the Society and pay it forward by supporting local restaurants who have been there for our organization over the years. We know our members will like to support those local businesses and their employees.”
The grand prize will consist of five $20 gift cards at establishments that have participated in the Wyman Tavern Brew Fest, one of the signature fundraising events for the Historical Society: Elm City Brewing Company, Luca’s Mediterranean Café, Machina Kitchen and Art Bar, Prime Roast Coffee Company, and The Stage Restaurant. Additional gift cards for a variety of local restaurants will be given out on March 19.
All members of the Historical Society of Cheshire County will be eligible to win. Moreover, members of the Historical Society are already winners by being part of an organization that helps people “find their place in history.”
The Historical Society of Cheshire County has been collecting, preserving, and communicating the history of the Monadnock Region for 94 years. In 2019, the Society’s staff of six employees and about 150 volunteers put on 174 programs that served 13,214 people, 29% of whom were youth and teens. During the pandemic, the Historical Society has continued to deliver local history stories via the internet.
Last year, despite the fact that the Society had to cancel 86 in-person programs due to the pandemic, they were able to offer 76 live programs onsite, offsite, or via Zoom, and they produced 47 additional pre-recorded programs for platforms such as Vimeo and You Tube. In addition, they reached an even larger audience with Monadnock Moments on Monadnock Broadcasting, stories in the Keene Sentinel and the Monadnock Shopper, and a popular series written by Alan F. Rumrill, Viral Stories: Tales for a Pandemic.
For more information, or to become a member of the Historical Society of Cheshire County, go to hsccnh.org.
"It could be a really rough few months for our fellow restauranteurs and if we don't do something soon, we could lose some of the businesses on the edge," said Luca Paris, owner of Luca's Mediterranean Café. "We can’t wait for someone else to help us. Eat, drink and build community! Let's do this as a community—quickly and safely."
How has our community rallied around this concern? Learn more about three efforts happening in the Monadnock Region.
The Local Crowd Monadnock, Culinary Journeys, and Food Connects partnered to launch The Monadnock Restaurant Project, a homegrown stimulus effort. So far, we have purchased $10,000 in gift cards from various locally owned restaurants in Keene. We then dispersed these gift cards to community members through partnering businesses C&S Wholesale Grocers, Nanotech, and Savings Bank of Walpole. These businesses shared gift cards with their staff with the charge to spend these cards quickly, providing an immediate shot in the arm to Keene's local restaurant economy this winter.
“It’s not a gift but a call to action,” shared Luca. “We anticipate that community members will spend at least twice the amount of what their gift card is worth, doubling the project’s impact by infusing $20,000 to these cash-strapped businesses. The more we spend locally, the more dollars we reinvest in our local economy!”
Want to get in on the effort? Go out and purchase gift cards directly from your favorite locally owned restaurants -- and from some new restaurants you haven’t tried yet. Then, enter our Snacktime Selfie. Snap a photo of your break, lunch, dinner, or anything in between enjoying what you purchased from a local restaurant. Share it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with #MonadnockRestaurantProject AND #SnacktimeSelfie hashtags. FIVE lucky winners will receive a $100 gift card to the restaurant of their choice. Entries are due before 11:59 p.m. on February 28. Eat local today and you could win big in March!
We want to hold this up as a creative way to respond to the pandemic and re-energize the local economy. We hope other communities in our region will bring the Monadnock Restaurant Project to their town.
To include more restaurants in this project, we’re raising funds to continue our efforts into March. Please support our crowdfunding campaign today.
Support Our Campaign Today!
Paul Tuller of Dublin dreamed up Community Meals to Go, a community-funded program to feed community members and keep our restaurants strong. Participating restaurants prepare to-go meals that are distributed to individuals and families experiencing food insecurity. Karen Hatcher, Peterborough Community and Economic Development Coordinator, helped launch the program by raising funds over $50,000 to pay restaurants $10 per meal.
Volunteers distribute meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. (first come, first served) at South Meadow School in Peterborough. Community partners include the Town of Peterborough, Peterborough Fire and Rescue Association, Cornucopia Project, The River Center, Peterborough Food Pantry and Union Congregational Church.
“If you’ve been impacted and are struggling and need a meal, come get a meal,” Karen said. “This is really for the community and there’s no judgment. It comes from a place of caring.”
For more information and to donate, please visit donorbox.org/peterborough-community-meals-to-go. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may have seen the colorful domes outside of Granite Roots Brewing in Troy. These heated private domes offer contactless ordering and food delivery. Granite Roots is doing their part to help local food businesses by partnering with Black Fire Farm and Machina Kitchen & ArtBar to host dinners in the brewery’s private domes.
“100% of the food profits are kept by [the partnering businesses],” shared Chris LoDolce, Granite Roots Co-owner. “We don't charge them to be on-site and we have them bring their staff to provide additional work for their team. We have booked out all of our reservations and have a significant waiting list.” (Click here to join their waiting list.)
image credit: Granite Roots Brewery
Chris invites additional restaurants with excess capacity in their kitchens to partner with Granite Roots. Specifically, they’re in search of restaurants to serve Central/South American Fare on Thursdays, gourmet meals on Fridays and BBQ on Sundays. Contact Chris or explore more details here.
“Food is at the center of every culture and community throughout history,” said Chris. “We're here to help do all we can to enrich the Monadnock Region's culture and community.”
Let’s all do our part to help support locally owned restaurants and our local economy: Eat, drink and build community!
This March, community economist Michael Shuman will return to our region to offer a Local Investment 101 Workshop Series that will teach, inspire and mobilize us to invest more of our dollars locally.
The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock and Vital Communities will host this online four-session series each Thursday in March from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Registration for all four workshops is $100 (and partial scholarships are available). Learn more!
The series focuses on grassroots investors eager to invest locally, businesses looking for local capital, and policymakers committed to facilitating local investment.
“If we could shift even a small amount of that capital from Wall Street to Main Street, our local economies could flourish,” shared Michael. “This series is designed to help community leaders, personally and collectively, achieve this vision by developing practical local investment strategies.”
We hope you’ll join us!
Announcing the Monadnock Restaurant Project Snacktime Selfie Contest. Snap a photo of your break, lunch, dinner, or anything in between that you purchased from a local restaurant, upload it to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the #MonadnockRestaurantProject AND #SnacktimeSelfie hashtags. FIVE lucky winners will receive a $100 gift card to the restaurant of their choice! Entries are due by 4/30 at 11:59 pm. Eat local today and you could win big!
If you said yes to these questions…THANK YOU! We invite you to submit a proposal to run a crowdfunding campaign with TLC Monadnock.
We will accept proposals until 5 p.m. on Friday, March 12, 2021.
While we welcome all for-profits, non-profits and community initiatives to apply, preference will be given to projects that align with their city/town’s master plan and strengthen our Local Living Economy.
This year, we are especially interested in supporting projects that address affordable housing, local food and farms, and equity.
Out of all the applications submitted, we will select one to receive a free crowdfunding video produced by 710 Main Films.
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431