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  • September 23, 2019 6:13 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    The Local Crowd Monadnock (TLC Monadnock), a community-based crowdfunding program, launched two campaigns this month.  One for Orchard Hill Breadworks in Alstead and the other for the Monadnock Energy Hub -- a regional network focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy.  Learn more about these two campaigns and support them today.  Whether you give $5 or $500, it all comes together to help make our community more local, green and fair!

    Orchard Hill Breadworks: A Stone Mill for Mill Hollow

    The Orchard Hill Breadworks campaign is well on its way to meeting its fundraising goal of $12,750 to purchase a hand-built stone mill from New American Stone Mills in Elmore, Vermont.  This Vermont-quarried granite mill will allow Orchard Hill Breadworks to bake with freshly milled whole grain flour.  Stone milling flour, rather than roller milling (a method used in many large-scale flour operations) better preserves key nutrients and results in a better-for-you bread. 

    The bakery launched its campaign on September 3 with a Pizza Night Fundraiser that brought in nearly $4,000 -- enough for Orchard Hill Breadworks to put a down payment on the stone mill.  As I write this article, their fundraising total surpassed $10,000.  Just 20% more to go!

    “In communities all across America, bakeries are introducing their customers to the increased nutritional value and flavor of baked goods made with freshly milled flour,” said Noah Elbers, owner of Orchard Hill Breadworks. “We hope to provide our community with a better tasting, more nutritious loaf while also bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.”

    Visit the Orchard Hill Breadworks campaign page at Give at certain levels and claim a great reward (or two) while they last.  Rewards include a Whole Grain Loaf of the Month Club, Bread Making Workshop, Pizza Party and more.  This crowdfunding campaign ends on October 3.

    Monadnock Energy Hub: Fast Charge Monadnock

    Fast Charge Monadnock aims to lower greenhouse gases and increase regional sustainable living by investing in electric vehicle infrastructure -- like charging stations. Support their effort to bring the first EV Fast Charger to the region, located at the Monadnock Food Co-op.

    An EV Fast Charger means a fully electric vehicle can recharge its batteries in 20-40 minutes (compared to 6+ hours on level 2 chargers available around Keene).  This project will encourage more zero emission vehicles to use our roadways, reducing our regional greenhouse gas emissions and increasing our regional sustainability.

    “Electric vehicles sales are rising with new car announcements coming almost monthly; drive ranges are lengthening as battery prices drop and technology improves,” said Mary Ewell, Coordinator of Monadnock Energy Hub.   “These aren’t just luxury vehicles either -- many are priced in line with new gasoline vehicles and highly economical when the federal tax credit and minimal maintenance costs are entered into the equation.”

    Visit the Fast Charge Monadnock campaign page at  This campaign also offers rewards for giving at certain levels such as gift cards from The Works Café and Monadnock Food Co-op.  Their crowdfunding campaign ends on October 14.

    More about TLC Monadnock

    Watch for more crowdfunding campaigns launching in October including a campaign from Mudita Massage & Wellness to support their Yoga for Addiction Recovery program and our own campaign to support this year’s Plaid Friday and Cider Monday campaigns.  We’ll also announce projects coming later this fall focusing on affordable housing, sustainable agriculture and equity.  Please stay tuned:

    TLC Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in our region.  Crowdfunding, or the practice of raising funds to support a project from a large number of people, is a viable alternative to recruiting businesses from outside the region to boost economic activity.

    TLC Monadnock is currently hosted by Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.   Have questions, please contact me at or 603-499-7950.

  • September 13, 2019 6:22 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Wow! We were so humbled by the incredible show of generosity that we witnessed this past week at Pizza Night. Our final pizza night of the year brought so many of our favorite people out, and we really felt the love. Thanks to all of your support, we raised nearly $4,000, enough to put the deposit down on our mill!

    Here's a sketch-up of what it will look like:

    Grain goes into the hopper at the top, is fed into the hole in the center of the stones, where it is ground into flour. So cool!

    We've gotten a few questions about what the mill can do, and I'd like to take a minute to answer them here. We are purchasing a mill with 26″ diameter stones. The stones are made with Vermont-quarried granite, and can mill 60-80 pounds of grain an hour. We use about 1000 lbs of whole grain flour every week at the bakery, meaning that this mill will be in fairly consistent use.

    The miller is able to control how closely the stones are set together, which affects the coarseness of the grain: close-set stones mean fine grain, stones set further apart equal a coarser mill. This means we can make cracked grain as well flour. We currently use cracked rye in all of our naturally leavened bread and cracked oats in many of our multi-grain loaves.

    Because heritage whole grains are much easier to come by than heritage flours, we will be able to experiment with other flours, such as millet, buckwheat, oat and more! Thanks for supporting us on our journey, and we hope you'll continue to follow along and share our project with others.

  • September 11, 2019 5:59 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Monadnock Energy Hub: Fast Charge Monadnock

    Launches September 14, 12 - 3 p.m.
    Drive Electric Event in Keene

    Fast Charge Monadnock aims to lower greenhouse gases and increase regional sustainable living by investing in electric vehicle infrastructure. Support their effort to bring the first EV fast charger to the region, located at the Monadnock Food Co-op.

    Gather to help kick-off their crowdfunding campaign and celebrate electric vehicles. Enjoy a meal from Street & Savory food truck, treats from Frisky Cow Gelato and music with Crazy Love.  Take a ride or drive in an electric vehicle, learn how ownership is a joy, acceleration is instant, and maintenance is almost non-existent for an EV.

    RSVP Today

  • August 23, 2019 5:37 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Launches September 3, 5 - 7:30 p.m. at a Pizza Night Fundraiser in Alstead

    Help Orchard Hill Breadworks kick-off their TLC Monadnock crowdfunding campaign to purchase a New American Stone Mill and begin baking with FRESHLY MILLED WHOLE GRAINS.

    For $9 Orchard Hill Breadworks will provide a crust, sauce and cheese plus paper plates and cups for water. You bring your favorite toppings (or pick them from the new Pizza Night garden!) silverware if you want and a picnic blanket/lawn chair. BYOB and rain or shine event.

    RSVP on Facebook

  • August 01, 2019 6:16 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Emphasis on Affordable Housing, Sustainable Agriculture and Equity

    The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock, a community-based crowdfunding program serving the entire Monadnock region and state, invites emerging and established social enterprises to submit project proposals to TLC Monadnock.

    For this proposal cycle, TLC Monadnock seeks projects focusing on affordable housing, farms & food or living wage jobs & equity.  While all for-profits, non-profits and community initiatives are welcome to apply, projects addressing these community needs will receive extra campaign support and resources -- beyond what is currently provided to all TLC Monadnock campaigns.

    All crowdfunding campaign teams receive hands-on technical assistance to help them launch a successful crowdfunding campaign. Campaign teams also receive a free crowdfunding assessment to ensure that they receive the coaching and training that best fits each team's needs.

    TLC Monadnock will select up to six social enterprises to participate in this crowdfunding cohort, based on the potential of each project to positively impact their local economy and community.  Accepted proposals will launch their campaigns in late fall or winter.

    This request for proposals is available online at  All proposals are due before 5:00 p.m. on September 20, 2019.
    Crowdfunding is the process in which an entrepreneur, business, or organization asks a large number of people (usually through the Internet) to contribute a certain amount of money for a specific project. By leveraging the power of crowdfunding, TLC Monadnock's fundraising platform  offers an innovative way for community members to support the projects they care about.
    For more information, visit or contact Jen Risley at 603-283-5401.

    TLC Monadnock is one of four communities participating in a new year-long research project with the National Science Foundation and The Local Crowd designed to uncover the best ways to support social enterprises -- mission-driven organizations that use business principles to make the world a better place.

    Locally, this program is hosted by Monadnock Food Co-op and managed by a team of volunteer community economic development leaders and business advisors.  Program partners include New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.

  • July 30, 2019 5:28 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)
    Each year, we shine a light on local food, farms and our entire Monadnock Region food system during New Hampshire Eat Local Month, a month-long celebration of our state’s harvest happening each August.

    This year, the Monadnock Food Co-op teamed up with New Hampshire Food Alliance to coordinate this statewide promotion — and we’re thrilled to share we recruited over 100 partners to help us spread the word this year. Discover more at

    What do we mean by a food system?

    Our food system includes all the pieces needed to bring local food from the farm to our plates: the soil, farmworkers, 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 our bounty of updates!

    Regenerating Soil

    “Ultimately, the only wealth that can sustain any community, economy or nation is derived from the photosynthetic process — green plants growing on regenerating soil.”

    Allan Savory, Co-Founder of the Savory Institute

    Stonewall Farm in Keene embraced a new role in 2018 — they are now a Savory Institute Hub. One of 41 hubs globally and 15 in the U.S., Stonewall Farm uses regenerative farming practices to enrich their soil and improve the health of their dairy herd and vegetable crops. They also strive to spread these practices throughout New England by serving as a demonstration site, offering educational programs and supporting the adoption of bills like the New Hampshire Healthy Soil Legislation.

    “We are contributing to the growing body of knowledge and new movement in agriculture that promises more than sustainability,” shared Julie Davenson, Executive Director of Stonewall Farm. “It promises to regenerate our degraded land, produce healthier food, build healthy ecosystems, improve our economy and combat the impacts of climate change.”

    More than Books

    Thanks to a new program called Monadnock Grows Together, you can now check out gardening tools at the Keene Public Library. Available tools include shovels, garden rakes, garden forks, hoes, a broad fork, small hand tools, hand trimmers, a push seeder and more. Borrow a tool for a week at a time.

    You can also get FREE seeds from the library’s new seed library made up of nearly 50 vegetables and herbs varieties. Sign up for a membership and choose the seeds you want to grow. To support the continuation of the seed library, collect the seeds from the plants you grow and donate them back to “seed” the seed library for the next growing season! Not sure how to save seeds? Sign up for a free seed saving workshop at the library on September 28. Check out their full schedule of workshops.

    Monadnock Grows Together is a partnership of the Cheshire County Conservation District (CCCD), Antioch University’s Community Garden Connections, the Keene Public Library and the National Center for Appropriate Technology. If you have questions, please reach out to the Urban Ag and Gardens Coordinator, Rachel Brice at She will also answer questions at the library every Friday from 4:00-5:30 p.m.

    “This is an awesome resource for the community. It directly addresses food security and engages more people in food production,” shared Amanda Littleton, CCCD District Manager. “It comes with weekly ‘office’ hours for one-on-one gardening assistance and a coordinator who is willing to do garden visits and offer advice.”

    Gleaning Program


    The Community Kitchen builds the local food system through their six-year-old gleaning project that gathers leftover produce from farms after a harvest — fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. This year, the Community Kitchen will offer a four-part Food Preservation Workshop series to encourage more of us to make the most of our seasonal bounty.

    These free workshops take place at their commercial kitchen at 37 Mechanic Street on alternating Sundays from 2-4 p.m. Explore “Zoodles, Purees, and Freezing” on July 28; “The Basics of Canning” on August 11; “Using the Whole Plant” on August 25; and “Drying and Fermentation” on September 8. These workshops are co-sponsored by Jack’s Crackers, a local value-added food business. Space is limited, so reserve your seat with Andrea at 603-352-3200 or

    “From the perspective of a food charity agency, The Community Kitchen recognizes the importance of local food in providing community food security,” shared Gleaning Coordinator Sarah Harpster. “We understand that without a food system that features strong and interdependent ‘nested ecologies’ of food sources, our community will be burdened with more neighbors facing food insecurity.”

    Keeping Farmers Farming

    Farmers spend their lives providing food and fiber to us. Their ability to do this depends largely on farmers gaining secure access to farmland. However, accessing land that is affordable is a top challenge for beginning farmers in New Hampshire and nationwide. Land For Good, a regional and national leader in farmland access, based right here in Keene, helps address this challenge.

    “A strong regional food system and healthy rural communities require that we keep land in farming and continue to grow viable farm businesses,” said Jim Hafner, Executive Director of Land For Good. “If where your food comes from matters to you and your community, then you need to be concerned about keeping the farmers who produce that food on the land in a way that they can plan for the future of their businesses — and for how they will secure their farm’s legacy as a working farm for the next generation.”

    Land For Good’s Land Access Project will provide education, training and technical assistance to over 2,500 beginning and established farmers across New England. Land For Good is working locally with the Monadnock Conservancy and other partners across New England.

    Feast on This Expands

    Feast On This Film Festival Banner

    This year, two great events become one — the Feast On This Film Festival and the Monadnock Farm Tour. Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition (MFCC) and Monadnock Food Co-op invite you to the Monadnock Farm Tour & Film Festival, a 3-day celebration of local food and films on August 23 – 25. Visit 15 local farms and view a variety of films throughout our region including “The Need to Grow” that highlights innovative soil restoration efforts, shown at the Colonial Theatre in Keene on August 23 at 7 p.m.

    Stay tuned for more Monadnock region food system updates! Great things are happening at the Cornucopia Project, Farmers Helping Farmers, Food Connects, Imagine That Honey, Monadnock Food Co-op, Monadnock Sustainability Project, The Sustainability Project, Village at Stone Barn, Walpole Mountain View Winery — and perhaps your organization? Please let us know if we missed someone by contacting me at or 603-283-5401.

    Thank you to all the individuals, programs, policies and initiatives that continue to build stronger local and regional food systems in our corner of the state and throughout New England. Together, we’re cultivating healthier citizens, communities and economies.

  • July 15, 2019 5:52 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Interested in investing your retirement savings locally?  Nancy Moore and Janelle Orsi from the Sustainable Economies Law Center produced the  report “How to Invest Your Retirement Savings Locally: The Basics of Solo 401(k) Plans and Self-Directed IRAs.”

    What would it take for you to pull your retirement savings out of Wall Street and invest it in things that enrich your local community, like a local farm, solar project, worker cooperative, or housing cooperative? Below are some of your options for taking control of where you invest your retirement savings. We focus heavily on solo 401(k) plans, which are a particularly flexible, yet underutilized, tool for self-directing retirement savings. Then, we describe self-directed IRAs (individual retirement accounts) to draw comparisons. 

    View the entire report

    Image credit: The Next Egg

  • July 06, 2019 7:38 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Funds will support Pay-It-Forward Program

    The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock received a grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund to support its community-based crowdfunding platform and its Pay-It-Forward program that provides extra support to campaigns led by low-income individuals and/or projects focusing on affordable housing, farms & food, living wage jobs & equity.

    Currently, TLC Monadnock is supporting a cohort of seven campaign leaders who plan to launch their campaigns in late Summer to early Fall.
    Many studies highlight the positive community impacts of supporting locally owned businesses -- better jobs, more charitable giving, higher civic engagement, and increased prosperity for all.  TLC Monadnock provides an opportunity for social enterprises to raise the capital they need and, with their success, contribute to a stronger, more just and regenerative local economy.
    For more information, visit or contact Jen Risley at 603-283-5401.

    About TLC Monadnock

    TLC Monadnock is one of four communities participating in a year-long research project with the National Science Foundation and The Local Crowd designed to uncover the best ways to support social enterprises -- mission-driven organizations that use business principles to make the world a better place.

    The Local Crowd Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding program helping start-up ventures, early-growth stage companies, and community-focused projects find access to capital.  This program is hosted by the Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by community partners: Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation

    About New England Grassroots Environment Fund

    The Grassroots Fund is dedicated to co-creating healthy and sustainable communities throughout New England. Grassroots Fund empowers individuals, groups and organizations working across a broad range of environmental and social justice issues. By helping them identify, select and access the specific tools, resources and connections they need to challenge existing systems, they are able to develop lasting solutions to the complex problems affecting the places they live and the health of the people who live there. We're supporting change makers who not only experience marginalization but face systemic and structural barriers to traditional funding. To learn more visit

  • June 08, 2019 7:08 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    It’s time to start planning this year’s NH Eat Local Month, a month-long campaign in August that celebrates local food and farming in the Granite State.

    This year, the NH Food Alliance is collaborating with the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and FoodSeacoast Eat LocalMonadnock Food Co-op and hopefully you to amplify the “Eat Local” message and empower us to celebrate the harvest.

    We’re looking for partners to spread the word and energize their communities to eat local. With your help, NH Eat Local Month will connect more people with local food.

    Partners will:

    • Endorse NH Eat Local Month by sharing their business/organization’s name, logo, and website URL with us
    • Provide links to any events or promotions that they are organizing during NH Eat Local Month
    • Spread the word by sharing social media posts, adding a link to on their own website and finding other creative ways to engage their network with NH Eat Local Month

    Partners will receive:

    • A listing on NH Eat Local Month’s Website
    • Ideas on how to celebrate NH Farms & Local Food all month long
    • Event marketing templates — such as a press release, social media posts and support to create targeted messages
    • The chance to be featured on the NH Eat Local Month website by writing a blog post or article

    How do you sign on as a partner? Send an email to with an “I’m in!” message and we’ll add you to our list (be sure your business/organization is easy to identify). As always, there’s no cost to you to participate as a partner.

  • May 28, 2019 6:14 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News

    We asked and you voted! Over 100 community members helped The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock, a community-based crowdfunding program, decide which Local Living Economy building blocks to focus on in 2019. A Local Living Economy is an economy that improves our quality of life, meets everyone’s basic needs and creates an engaged citizenry.

    The top three Local Living Economy building blocks were affordable housing, farms & food, and living wage jobs & equity.  For this month’s article, we’ll dive into the topic of affordable housing and highlight current efforts in our region to address this need.

    First, what is affordable housing?

    Affordable housing means housing that is financially viable for households making a median income or below in their location.  In Cheshire County, affordable housing means housing that is financially in-reach for one person making $45,750 or less annually (  Affordable housing encompasses all types of housing -- from emergency shelters and transitional housing to subsidized housing, rentals, and home ownership -- for individuals and families.

    Are we providing enough affordable housing?

    There’s rising concern about the lack of access to affordable housing across the U.S. According to a Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, 11.4 million households spend more than half of their income on rent -- and rents are increasing twice as fast as incomes.  In rural areas, 25% of households spend over half of their income on rent. 

    A New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority survey conducted in 2018 found that median gross rent for two-bedroom units rose almost 19% over the past five years.  In order to afford one of these units, a renter would need to earn 117% of the statewide median renter income ($47,100 a year).  Our state’s vacancy rate is low -- just below 2% compared to a 7% vacancy rate in the U.S. and 5% in the Northeast.  A vacancy rate between 4% and 5% indicates a balance between rental supply and demand.

    As an indicator of need in our region, four out of five affordable housing applications received by Keene Housing come from the elderly or people with a disability.  Keene Housing’s wait list for appropriate housing for these two populations reaches eight years. As the median age of our region’s population rises, so too will the need for more affordable housing options.

    Who is working to meet affordable housing needs in our region?

    Keene Housing owns or manages over 550 affordable housing units, from homeless shelters to subsidized homes.  In addition to providing affordable housing, Keene Housing also offers programs to residents that support employment, financial resilience, and healthy lifestyles -- from developing food forests that will provide residents with free organic produce to installing solar panels on units to decrease monthly utility bills.  Their Resident Self-Reliance program helps participants reach their goals by providing incentives such as education grants and rent credits.

    Keene Housing Kids Collaborative is a separate nonprofit that partners with community organizations to provide free or low-cost programs and learning opportunities to Keene Housing families.  You can support the Kids Collaborative at a silent auction on June 4 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Marriot Courtyard Downtown Keene.  Find tickets and more information at
    Southwestern Community Services (SCS) is another organization helping individuals and families find affordable housing in Cheshire and Sullivan counties.  Their Housing Stabilization Service Program offers immediate help to individuals and families facing homelessness.  They also provide grants to eligible low to moderate income families so they can afford to make needed home maintenance updates and repairs.

    Community members, social service staff, and church representations came together in 1987 to form the Cheshire Housing Trust -- a community land trust to address the rising cost of housing in Keene.  They currently own 10 properties that offer single rooms and multi-bedroom apartments in Keene, Marlborough, and Hinsdale for low to moderate income households.

    Individual property owners can also boost affordable housing options in our region.  New Hampshire Housing offers a Housing Choice Voucher program that subsidizes rents for eligible tenants.  New Hampshire Housing also offers financing to affordable housing developers and affordable mortgage loans targeted to homebuyers with incomes up to $126,700:  

    This article barely scratches the surface of this topic, so we want to hear from you.  What affordable housing efforts in the Monadnock region do you know about? In a future article, we’ll share your answers and highlight innovative affordable housing efforts happening outside our region.  Please contact me at  Thank you!

    More about TLC Monadnock

    TLC Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations, and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in our region.  Crowdfunding, or the practice of raising funds to support a project from a large number of people, is a viable alternative to recruiting businesses from outside the region to boost economic activity.  Over the past two years, TLC Monadnock raised over $90,000 for fourteen crowdfunding campaigns.  TLC Monadnock gives preference to campaigns that align with their respective city or town's master plan and contribute to a local, green and fair economy.

    TLC Monadnock is currently hosted by Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.

    Discover more!

The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431

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