For the ninth 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 this year’s bounty of updates!
Land access remains the top challenge for beginning farmers in New Hampshire. Land For Good, a leader in farmland access based right here in Keene, helps address this challenge. Their New England Farmland Finder helps connect transitioning farmers with farm seekers. Over 4,000 farm seekers have subscribed to this service, hoping to secure land.
“Farming is a profession of hope. Farmers of all types and scales anticipate every new growing season and production cycle with hope, now more than ever,” shared Lisa Luciani, Land For Good’s communications manager. “They move forward with hope about weather, market conditions, and sustaining their farms. We all remain hopeful for a more robust, equitable, and resilient post-COVID food system that strengthens our communities, economies, and ecosystems.”
Thirty gardeners are growing produce on more than forty plots at Monadnock View Community Garden (MVCG) on Park Avenue 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.
Area businesses donated 250 plants and “garden angels” planted them in available plots to grow vegetables for The Community Kitchen and Hundred Nights Shelter. Garden angels share in the watering, weeding, and harvesting in these plots.
If you are interested in securing a plot at the garden, contact Kristy Morrison with the City of Keene at email@example.com. Contact Rowland Russell to learn more about becoming a garden angel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food Connects, a food hub based in Brattleboro, VT, has leveraged its longstanding ties with community producers and wholesale customers to meet increased demand for local food. This year, they hired six new employees—doubling their staffing levels. They also built a second walk-in cooler and added a fourth refrigerated delivery vehicle.
"As we responded to the community’s need for fresh, regional foods, we saw our sales double in 2020, growing to over $1.1 million," said McKenna Hayes, Food Hub Co-Director, "The year 2020 shined a bright spotlight on regional foods. Our challenge going forward will be to keep that light focused and carry the momentum of 2020 forward."
During its 15th anniversary, Cornucopia Project in Peterborough expanded school garden programming to thirteen classrooms. Garden Educators delivered in-person lessons and developed classroom-ready lesson kits to support outdoor learning during the pandemic. Culinary programs continued with meal kits designed for kids, bringing locally produced ingredients and fun lessons into families’ home kitchens.
Cornucopia Project also worked with twenty-five restaurants and the Town of Peterborough to sponsor Peterborough Community Meals To Go. This innovative project raised over $85,000 to pay local restaurants to prepare free, healthy meals for community distribution through May of this year.
Another new project, the Monadnock Farm to School Network (MF2S), is a partnership with the New Hampshire Farm To School Network and Stonewall Farm. The Network builds capacity for our region’s farm to school programs by collaborating on key issues like funding, finding resources and tools, sharing contacts, and brainstorming strategies.
“By introducing food systems programs to students from preschool onward, we prioritize education that is rooted in sustainability and nutrition,” said Executive Director Lauren Judd. “These experiences enhance personal connections to food and the environment. We are committed to strengthening our community with healthy food education from farm to fork.”
Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition (MFCC), Monadnock Food Co-op, and Food Connects plan to launch a new “Local Food STAR” campaign, highlighting restaurants that source from local farms. Stay tuned for more program details.
MFCC also invites you to this year’s Monadnock Farm Tour on Saturday, August 21, from 12 pm – 5 pm. Seven Monadnock farms are opening their barns, pastures, hoop houses, flower gardens, and pudding plant. Purchase tour wristbands at each farm for $5 per person ($10 per car).
"Our community looked to local farms and farm products for secure, accessible, and affordable food over the last year, and our local food system answered the call,” shared Roe-Ann Tasoulas of MFCC. “Farmers worked together to offer each other’s products at farm stands, CSA sales were at an all-time high, and new programs were developed to get local and charitable food onto the plates of all members of our community. We are grateful to be an integral part of our Monadnock Local Food System.”
The Community Kitchen and MFCC collaborated with food systems consultant Russ Moore to complete the Monadnock Mobile Food Pantry feasibility study. The study found strong community support for enhancing food security services, emphasizing healthy, locally grown foods, by bringing a mobile pantry into communities across the Monadnock Region. Stay tuned for updates.
“As The Community Kitchen celebrates NH Eats Local Month with more than a year of the pandemic behind us, we find our strength lies more than ever in community partnerships,” said Sarah Harpster of The Community Kitchen. “There’s an incredible commitment within the community to close the loop between a strong local food system and people struggling to meet their nutritional needs.”
Community Garden Connections celebrated its tenth year of educating gardeners and supporting garden programs throughout Keene. They assist social service agencies and community-based non-profits by providing funds for infrastructure, plants and seeds, and quality education and technical support.
During the pandemic, they distributed 150 free container gardens and hundreds of seed packets to individuals throughout Cheshire County, donated over 1,000 pounds of fresh produce to The Community Kitchen, and provided take-home soup kits to Antioch University students.
Join them at a volunteer garden work party at the Westmoreland Garden Project at 702 River Road on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:00 pm. Contact CGC at email@example.com.
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.
Photo by Aysegul Yahsi on Unsplash
Affordable housing solutions come in all shapes and sizes. Let’s focus on some small solutions: Home Sharing, Accessory Dwelling Units, and Tiny Houses.
Home Sharing provides one quick way to boost affordable housing options. Instead of living alone, you can share your home with housemates. But how do you find the right housemate for you? Enter Sharing Housing, Inc., a nonprofit based in East Dummerston, VT, on a mission to elevate this affordable housing solution.
“Even before the pandemic, many people struggled with housing costs and social isolation,” said Annamarie Pluhar of Sharing Housing. “Shared housing is a viable solution many of us overlook when considering where and how to live, despite multiple advantages -- social, emotional, and financial.”
Last July, ninety community members supported Sharing Housing’s crowdfunding campaign on The Local Crowd Monadnock. Sharing Housing raised over $10K to create a self-paced online course called Discovering Shared Housing, to help individuals find and keep good housemates. Start with their free online course, 5 Key Benefits of Shared Housing.
An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) includes an apartment over a garage, a tiny house in your backyard, or any small dwelling on the same land as your single-family house.
“As the ‘missing middle housing’ concept is popularized among planners and designers, ADUs are poised to present the most viable stepping-stone solution for cities that are experiencing a housing crisis,” said Kol Peterson, author of Backdoor Revolution - The Definitive Guide to ADU Development.
In 2017, New Hampshire laws changed to make it easier for homeowners to build ADUs, to boost the state’s affordable housing supply without developing more land. The City of Keene allows property owners to build attached ADUs in all residential districts and detached ADUs are allowed in the rural and agricultural districts without a conditional use permit. There are rules around size restrictions, parking needs, and other requirements.
“Not every state has made widespread access to ADUs official,” said Jess Kelley of Solid Roots Construction in Manchester. “It is an incredible step forward for New Hampshire, but, as we realized in the course of working with our customers who wanted to build one, many people still aren’t aware that they even have the option.”
Chris Lee of the company Backyard ADUs based in Brunswick, ME, guides people through the process of building an ADU, from design to permitting to move-in day. You can purchase a feasibility study of your land and local zoning rules from them for $450.
“When we started working on ADUs, we thought the mission was to help homeowners build rental units in their backyards,” shared Chris. “But, we quickly realized there was simply a huge gap in available housing -- there are not enough quality small [not tiny] homes to go around and most builders don’t want to build them.”
Like the name states, Tiny Houses are small homes usually under 600 square feet built on wheels or foundations. A Tiny House is considered a ADU if it’s on the same land as a single-family house but can also be located in a standalone property or clustered to form a neighborhood. In Keene, a tiny house is not permitted in most zoning districts since an ADU must be attached to the primary residence.
State and local regulations can present challenges to those who want to go tiny. Earlier this year, state representatives introduced House Bill 588, requiring that municipalities allow Tiny Houses anywhere any single-family homes are permitted. The bill, however, did not pass.
“We’ve had many people who really want to buy them but couldn’t find a place they were allowed,” said Anne Mellin, co-owner of Tiny Living Spaces. “Unless you own property that you already have a house on and put the tiny home in as a second dwelling, you can’t do it.”
Learn more about Affordable Housing legislation.
How do we bring more of these small solutions to our region? While TLC Monadnock offers rewards-based crowdfunding, a platform called Small Change provides real estate investment crowdfunding.
Small Change allows everyday people to invest in real estate projects that “change cities and neighborhoods for the better.” They select projects that boost walkability and bike-ability, offer better access to healthy food and green spaces, and elevate other attributes that increase the quality of life for all.
I’d love to see a developer launch a Small Change campaign in our region. Please learn more and spread the word about Small Change.
Let’s elevate these small solutions together! We’re in the very early stages of organizing an event to amplify these small solutions in our region. Stay tuned here or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First I watched the trailer. Then I read the book. Then I saw the movie. The super star: Michael Shuman. The hot plot: local investing.
The trailer was a talk on local and grassroots investing by Shuman last fall, hosted by The Local Crowd Monadnock. Inspired, I read Shuman's recent book Put Your Money Where Your Life Is.
This spring, I attended Shuman's first “movie,” a four-week workshop. My experience only got better and better, especially since I started out with a level of interest in investing comparable to, say, gathering information for my taxes. Necessary, but painful.
Then, as my level of knowledge about investing was even more pitiful than my level of interest, I braced myself for some good old patronizing disbelief from the experts: You don't understand how stocks and bonds work? You don't automatically compute rates of return? You've never heard of a solo 401K or a self-directed IRA? You don't even get the big deal about retirement funds? What planet do you live on?
I live on a farm planet. A small farm planet.
My fellow and I farm here in southwestern NH, growing three acres of vegetables biodynamically, working with draft horses, for our 60-member CSA garden. We also sell produce at a local farmers' market. We have been making our living as farmers for over twenty years, not an easy task, but one made possible in part by a thrifty budget and by friends, neighbors, and local vegetable- lovers.
Maybe someone loans us a truck, or barters plumbing or farrier work, or helps us set up our website. Someone helps us get the hay in before the rain, or helps us get our naughty horses back in the pasture after a jaunt around the neighborhood. Someone picks up our daughter after school, or makes us a surprise meal. Lots of someones sign up for shares of produce, or buy vegetables at our market stand. Both our farm economics and our quality of life depend on the community.
But now that we two farmers and our four workhorses are nearing our mid-fifties, we notice that a hard day in the field is a little more daunting than it used to be. How can we continue to live and work on a tight budget, on our farm, before and during retirement, and do it with care for our local community, which also cares for us?
Enter Michael Shuman. His dry wit and kind, down-to-earth manner, combined with his expertise in local investing, made for a pleasant surprise. (Turns out investing talk isn't nearly as painful as the taxes. It can actually be kind of interesting!)
Shuman gave an entirely digestible overview of investing in general, followed by a picture of the giant corporate investing world. Next was the welcome news of the range of possible local, grassroots investments: from paying off your credit cards to installing energy-saving devices in your home, from crowdfunding to municipal bonds, from helping friends or family expand a small business to investing in a company such as Equal Exchange, with its fair trade coffee and chocolate, which assists the small farmers who are our global neighbors.
My favorite part of the workshop was learning about people all over the country who are investing in their communities in all kinds of ways, from small farms and solar panels and affordable housing to co-ops and local restaurants and community loan funds.
In Port Townsend, Washington, there's the community-owned Quimper Mercantile, a department store started by community members because there was no place in town to shop.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, there's Zingerman's Deli, whose owners wanted to expand, but not become a chain. Instead of going wide, they went deep, by looking closely at what came into and out of the deli. Now there are around a dozen small businesses in Ann Arbor connected with the deli, including a bakehouse, a coffee roasting company, a creamery, a restaurant, and a fancy cake business.
In my own state of New Hampshire, there's the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund (homes, farms, food, small businesses!). People all over are investing in local economies, ecologies, and racial and social equity, all of which builds stronger, healthier, and more secure and vibrant communities.
Gee, it's enough to make a farmer want to save a little money and make a local, grassroots investment (even if it's at the hundred dollar level!). After all, we love community. We love small. We love local. We love sustainable. We love grass, and we love roots.
Our four work horses agree completely. In fact, they may be wondering right now why a farmer is writing about local investing this time of year. Shouldn't you be fixing the fence? So we can go out to pasture? And eat the local grass? Come on now, farmer.
Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News, June 2 - June 8, 2021
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431