Originally published in Monadnock Shopper News
Spring is an ideal time to begin to shift your family’s eating habits to more locally grown food. How do you make this shift without driving up your food expenses? Even before the bounty of the growing season begins to trickle in, you can take action now to save later. Here are seven tips to help you eat local on a budget. The benefits ripple out from you and your family to our whole local economy!
This first tip may seem obvious, but establishing goals helps you empower yourself to make a change. Create an entire food budget for a week or a month. Then, set a goal for how much you plan to spend on locally grown and locally produced food. Start small. As you gain experience and success (and the season progresses), shift more of your spending to local food.
Community Supported Agriculture, better known as a CSA, works like this: an individual or family pre-orders a share of the harvest from a farmer before the growing season begins. This model provides farmers with cash upfront to help pay for seeds, compost, and other needed supplies for the coming growing season. As a CSA member, individuals receive more value for their dollar and cultivate a closer connection to a farm. Members also broaden their palette for local food, trying different types of produce in new ways thanks to recipe suggestions from the farmer and fellow CSA members. Find a CSA Farm near you.
Explore multiple CSAs at the upcoming Monadnock Region CSA Fair on Sunday, March 8, from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Monadnock Food Co-op’s café in Keene.
Farmers Frank Hunter, Kim Peavey and their daughter Gwen at a past Monadnock Region CSA Fair. They own Hillside Springs Farm in Westmoreland. Meet Frank, Kim and more CSA farmers at the next Monadnock Region CSA Fair on March 8 from 2 – 5 p.m. at the Monadnock Food Co-op’s café in Keene.
Find out how your favorite grocery store or market labels locally grown and made food and then check to see which of these items are on sale. The Monadnock Food Co-op makes it easy to eat local on a budget by labeling local items on their “MFC Deals” Sales Flyer with a bright orange icon. See their latest sales flyer.
Starting in April, visit your local farmers’ market and farm stands see what’s abundant. As specific fruits and vegetables become more plentiful, prices tend to go down for that type of produce. Talk to the farmers and local food vendors and ask them what’s the best value of the day. On days when there isn’t a market open, keep what’s in season in mind as you make your purchases at local grocery stores. Find a farmers’ market near you. Put the first Farmers’ Market Opening Day in our region on your calendar: The Peterborough Farmers Market at the Peterborough Community Center starts on April 1 from 3 – 6 p.m.
Have something that your family just can’t eat enough of? Your own yard may be a great place to grow something your family loves. Like with your budget, start small with a modest plot or container. Herbs and sprouts are great first options. Check out UNH Cooperative Extension for gardening resources at extension.unh.edu/gardening-resources Sign up a free Seed Starting workshop on Saturday, March 7 from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Keene Public Library.
Cooking in batches and freezing meals for later is a critical strategy to eat local on a budget. Find a cookbook or online recipe site that features seasonal fruits and vegetables. My favorite resource is Farmer John’s Cookbook by John Peterson and Angelica Organics. Recipes are grouped by season with storage tips and culinary uses for each type of produce. One of my favorites recipes, hands-down, is Spiced Parsnip Cake.
You’ve spent well-earned money on fruits and vegetables that are grown and processed with lots of love and care, now make sure this food lasts. Find out the best way to store and preserve your food.
Here’s a bonus tip: If you or someone you know receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, please be sure to check out the Granite State Market Match Program and the Monadnock Food Co-op’s Double Up Food Bucks Program. These programs double the purchasing power of participants’ SNAP benefits – providing fresh fruits and vegetables at a 50% discount! Learn more at granitestatemarketmatch.org and monadnockfood.coop/doubleup.
Here’s to your success – and the success of our local farmers, food producers, and local economy as we all shift to eating more locally grown and made food.
Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News
It’s been seven years since I first wrote about Community Supported Enterprises (CSE), where individuals contribute money to a business and receive products or services — for themselves or their community — sometime in the future. It’s time to dust off that article and highlight some new CSE examples both near and far. I’d love to see more entrepreneurs in our region explore the CSE model as a tool for financing their business while strengthening community.
You may be familiar with one type of CSE, Community Supported Agriculture, but there are also CSBs, CSFs, CSRs and more — a whole alphabet soup of community support.
First, a refresher on the CSA model. Community Supported Agriculture works like this: an individual or family purchases a share from a farmer — before the growing season begins — in exchange for a portion of the harvest usually picked up weekly. This model provides farmers with cash upfront to help pay for seeds, compost and other needed supplies for the coming growing season.
As a CSA member, individuals cultivate a closer connection to a farmer and experience some of the realities of farming — how weather, disease and other variables affect crop quantities and quality, and how much work goes into bringing food from the farm to the plate. Members also broaden their palette for local food, trying different types of produce in new ways thanks to recipe suggestions from the farmer and fellow CSA members.
Another brand of CSA is Community Supported Art. Locally, the now-closed Sharon Arts Center offered CSA shares back in 2013. Beyond our state lines, ArtCrop in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, MN provides a unique CSA example. ArtCrop combines two types of CSAs (art and agriculture) into one by partnering with Hmong American Farmers Association farmers and local Hmong artists to offer shares of both art and food to its members.
From ArtCrop’s website (artcrop.co): “Traditionally, Hmong farmers turned to their artistry in the winter months. Farmers were artists. Artists were farmers. From handmade textile and crafts to hand-grown foods that create our own distinct flavors and recipes, Hmong people have always captured our journeys through art and farming. When you sign up to join the CSA, you’re not only lifting up over 130 Hmong farmers and artists; you’re also building up wealth, community and culture for future generations.”
Interested in exploring Community Support Art more? Download this toolkit.
Moving on now to a CSB or Community Supported Brewery, Mobcraft Beer in Milwaukee, WI asks individuals to submit their favorite beer ideas. The brewers figure out the recipes, post each idea on their website and then put it out for a vote. Individuals cast their votes by making a pre-order of their favorites. The recipe with the most pre-orders gets made and those that pre-ordered get a pack of that batch. Learn more.
Here’s the next CSE model: Community Supported Fisheries. Instead of a share of produce, CSF members receive — you guessed it — fish! (And other seafood too.) In New Hampshire, 98% of fish caught along our 13 miles of seacoast leaves the state. A CSF in Portsmouth, called New Hampshire Community Seafood, is working to change this statistic by connecting fisheries directly to NH eaters. NH Community Seafood also tries to drive consumer demand towards more sustainable types of fish. They encourage CSF members to try dogfish — a fish popular in Britain as “Fish and Chips” — by adding it to members’ weekly share along with information and recipes about this fish species. Read more.
A CSO is a Community Supported Organizer. Back in 2015, Carlo Voli worked as a CSO to push back on fossil fuels and climate change. Twenty-six supporters contributed $10-$150 a month to back Carlo’s efforts. The funding empowered him to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. The Backbone Campaign, an organization that promotes CSOs, explains, “Being a CSO provides a way for a self-directed change agent to be innovative and responsive to emergent opportunities. They are not constrained by an organizational bureaucracy directed from afar. They are not locked into an inflexible plan or narrow mission. A CSO is accountable only to a diverse community of sustaining donors from whom they crowdsource recurring donations.” Discover more.
Next up, Community Supported Restaurants. (It sure is hard to steer far from food when talking about Community Supported Enterprises!) The Gleanery in Putney, VT is one nearby example. Before opening, The Gleanery asked individuals to purchase CSR shares to provide start-up capital for this business. Members, in turn, received monthly food credits. View more.
Finally, we turn to Community Supported Retail. In the Adirondacks of New York State there’s a department store called The Village Mercantile supported by 700+ individuals who bought shares in the company for $100 each. When the Ames Store in their town closed, community members came together to fill a void (the nearest department store was 50 miles away). “[We wanted to] take control of our future and help our community,” said Melinda Little, Founding Board Member of The Village Mercantile. “The idea was, this is an investment in the community as well as the store.” The community opened its 4,000 square foot store in 2011. Learn more.
Now we ask you: What needs could a Community Supported Enterprises meet in our community? Which existing CSEs could you support more? CSEs are really about community supporting community — and in the words of Wendell Berry, “A good community insures itself by trust, by good faith and good will, by mutual help. A good community, in other words, is a good local economy.” Let’s build that good local economy together.
Originally Published in the Monadnock Shopper News
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 $20.7 billion on Valentine’s Day. Imagine if we shifted some of that spending to locally owned businesses!
“Talk about a sweetheart gift! If every family in the country shifted $100 of their Valentine’s Day shopping budget to locally owned, independent businesses over $7.8 billion would be directly returned to local communities,” shared our friends at Independent We Stand.
Locally owned businesses offer us much to love. They strengthen our local economy, culture and wellbeing. Independent businesses re-circulate four times more money in our community than chain stores. Moreover, studies show that most new jobs are created by small businesses — meaning today’s local Valentines are tomorrow’s jobs.
Here are some extra special ways to show your local love this Valentine’s Day:
So, show lots of local love this Valentine’s Day, and the love will circle back to you, your loved ones and — best of all — your entire community.
We’re not sure. We'd love to see our region develop a set of Community Economic Development indicators that measure how well our regional economy is working for all people and business types.
From Economist Michael H. Shuman:
We then launched four surveys for different stakeholders (from entrepreneurs to service providers) to help us evaluate the impact of our CED initiatives.
While we need more participation to draw any statistically significant results, the answers we received pointed to some needed next steps:
Only 52% of survey respondents agreed that our region had a compelling vision for Community Economic Development. This leads us to want to better promote the current Southwest Region Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and Monadnock Region Future Plan from Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC).
A successful CED program must begin with a vision statement about its goals, one that is rooted in a serious community process. We want to support the work of SWRPC and the next strategy update to ensure that clearer indicators are identified and added to our plans.
Just 20% of survey respondents agree that our region has set clear indicators to measure whether we are reaching our CED goals.
A successful CED program will have empirical indicators, updated regularly, that provide understandable information about whether the vision is being realized.
Interested in moving this work forward? Please contact us today!
This month, TLC Monadnock will award one campaign team a free video, produced by 710 Main Films, to support their crowdfunding project.
Studies show that crowdfunding campaigns with videos raise four times more funds than campaigns without videos.
710 Main Films partnered with TLC Monadnock to produce crowdfunding videos for a number of successful campaigns over the past years. Check them out here and learn more about our latest Request for Proposals!
We’re wrapping up another inspiring year of supporting locally owned businesses and community groups through The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock. TLC Monadnock, a community-based crowdfunding program, helped four crowdfunding campaign teams raise $32,960 from 285 supporters in 2019, bringing our totals to eighteen teams raising over $126,000 since launching in 2017.
Always looking to reflect on our progress while planning for the future, we reached out to past crowdfunding campaign leaders to check in and catch up.
Cheshire Garden, a small family farm in Winchester, grows heirloom fruits and herbs that they turn into amazing jams, mustards and other products. One of my favorites, Frosty Fruit Pops! Farmer Patti Powers brings her popsicles to events like the Farmers’ Market of Keene and Winchester Pickle Festival.
Before her crowdfunding campaign, Patti used a portable freezer that ran off her car battery to keep her pops cool. Or she had to hunt down an open electrical socket, something in short supply at many outdoor festivals. She wanted a more reliable and environmentally sustainable way to keep things chill. Enter TLC Monadnock! Patti raised over $2,000 from 41 supporters to buy a portable generator and the solar panels to charge it.
Patti found that the solar-powered generator could be used in other useful ways on her farm. “We don’t actually have a lawn, but we do mow between all the garden beds and bought a battery-powered lawnmower this summer,” Patti shared. “Now we can charge that battery with the solar generator and do all that mowing with no gasoline. And even in winter, the solar-powered generator helps us heat Tiny Pie House, our little farm store, by powering a small electric heater.”
Marty Castriotta of Village Roots Permaculture Farm raised over $11,000 from 104 supporters to raise a barn in June 2018. This month, he will finish preparing the barn’s siding with high school students from the LEAF Charter School in Alstead. They use a method of waterproofing the local pine siding by burning and oiling it, a practice inspired by Shou Sugi Ban from Japan. Keene State College interns will help install the siding. This spring, they will add a shed roof over the cow loafing area and construct a walk-in cooler.
“In permaculture design, the ethics of the design are considered, including that of Careful Process,” shared Marty. “We started our barn in 2013 and each step has been weighed and considered in relation to the overall benefit for the community, the environment, animal welfare and the local food network we serve.”
In 2018, The New Hampshire Bee Initiative was launched by Melissa Stephenson and Kin Schilling to raise awareness about the plight of all pollinators. Their first action was joining The Good of the Hive, a global initiative inspired by artist Matthew Willey’s commitment to hand paint 50,000 individual honey bees on murals and installations around the world. The Town of Peterborough offered up the Community Center’s wall for Matt to use.
Since establishing and celebrating the mural (see highlights!), Melissa and Kin continue their outreach. They made Mason bee houses with the kids at Camp Best two years in a row, gave a talk at Fitchburg State and took observation hives to farmers’ markets and schools.
Archway Farm in Keene, one of the first campaigns to launch on TLC Monadnock, used crowdfunding to purchase a food truck. Farmer Mark Florenz travels to various community events with this truck, introducing his pasture-raised pork to new people throughout our region.
“We did three smaller events this year partnering with the Monadnock Food Co-op, Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition, and Picadilly Farm,” shared Mark. “We really enjoy the smaller events as they give us a good chance to get out and talk with a lot of our customers. We also were at the Dublin Gas Engine Meet for our one larger event. I anticipate a similar mix of events for 2020.”
Fresh off the rush of running their crowdfunding campaigns this fall, the progress for these projects is still unfolding! But here are some quick updates -- more to come in 2020.
Noah Elbers and Cara Campbell raised over $14,500 from 120 supporters to purchase a New American Stone Mill for Orchard Hill Breadworks in East Alstead. They expect their mill to arrive sometime this month.
“It will likely take us a few months of experimenting to figure out what changes we need to make to our process and formulas in order to accommodate milling and incorporate the new flours, as well as settle on consistent and good sources of grain,” said Cara. “So, it will likely be April or so before we are able to have it in our breads on a regular basis.”
Kat Wood and Aaron Shields raised over $2,500 to support individuals in recovery by providing scholarships to attend regular yoga classes at Mudita Massage & Wellness based in Keene. If you know someone who might be interested in one of these scholarships, find details at mudita.live/yoga-for-recovery-scholarships.
“The whole experience from planning, to rolling out, to finishing successfully in meeting our goal was valuable for us and allowed for people in our community to contribute in a positive way that they believe in,” shared Kat. “Crowdfunding is the perfect example of the ‘do what you can, where you are, with what you have’ mentality to create change.”
Mary Ewell and John Kondos from Monadnock Sustainability Network raised over $10,800 to help bring an electric vehicle fast charger to the Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene. These funds will meet the Volkswagon Restitution grant match requirement when they apply in late January.
“By adding fast charging, we establish Keene as an oasis in the NH EV charging desert,” said John. “A fast charger can provide 80-100% charging for electric vehicles, while parked at the co-op, in under 30 minutes… These fast chargers will change the EV landscape in the Monadnock Region, and let visitors and residents alike know in Keene the future has arrived.”
In the new year, watch for crowdfunding campaigns from The Cornucopia Project, Food Connects, Keene Housing Kids Collaborative and maybe one from your favorite business? Our next Request for Proposals is open and we invite emerging and established businesses based in the Monadnock Region, state of New Hampshire or Vermont to submit project proposals. Learn more! All proposals are due before 5:00 p.m. on January 17, 2020.
Thanks to all our campaign teams and the community that supports them -- together, we’re The Local Crowd!
The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock, a community-based crowdfunding program serving the entire Monadnock Region and state of New Hampshire, invites emerging and established social enterprises to submit project proposals.
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.
In addition, TLC Monadnock will award one proposal a free video, produced by 710 Main Films, to support their crowdfunding campaign. Studies show that crowdfunding campaigns with videos raise four times more funds than campaigns without videos.
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 winter or early spring.
This request for proposals is available online at tlcmonadnock.com/rfp. All proposals are due before 5:00 p.m. on January 17, 2020.
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 tlcmonadnock.com or contact Jen Risley at 603-283-5401.
TLC Monadnock is one of five communities participating in a 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.
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. Since TLC Monadnock launched in March 2017, eighteen crowdfunding campaigns have collectively raised over $120,000 from 900 supporters.
This year’s Plaid Friday, Cider Monday and Shop Indie Local events are truly community-funded, thanks to a crowdfunding campaign on The Local Crowd Monadnock! Forty-five supporters contributed $5,039 to help us spread the word and inspire more people to join our movement. Together, we're generating ripple effects that create new jobs, charitable contributions and community prosperity.
Wear plaid on Plaid Friday to show your support for our local economy and commitment to buying local this holiday season. The day to wear plaid this year is Friday, November 29th.
Twenty-one locally owned businesses will serve as Plaid Friday Hubs this year. They pledge to photograph you decked out in plaid and answer questions about Plaid Friday. From Harrisville to Winchester, find a hub near you.
Manning Hill Farm in Winchester will offer a special photo-op: a photo of you in plaid with one of their cows also decked out in Plaid. Stop by the farm from Noon to 4 p.m. Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate made with their own chocolate milk and get 15% off purchases at their farm shop. View more Plaid Friday specials.
Wearing plaid in Keene on Plaid Friday? The Luxury Box Photo Booth will take photos at Ted's Shoe & Sport in Keene from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Elm City Brewing Company in Keene from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Plan on wearing plaid in Peterborough? Be sure to get your photo taken with local photographer Kim Peck in front of The Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
We will add these photos to our annual collage, celebrating all who wore plaid and showed their support for locally owned businesses and our local economy. Stay tuned for these photos on Facebook.
Instead of Cyber Monday, a day when online merchants offer special deals, we invite you to Cider Monday. On December 2nd, stop in for a free cup of cider from participating Cider Monday businesses including The Toadstool Bookshops in Keene and Peterborough, Monadnock Food Co-op, Mon Amie Fine Jewelry, Savings Bank of Walpole and The Yoga Space. Learn more!
From your Thanksgiving meal to your New Year's Eve celebration, Shop Indie Local! On November 1, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) launched its Shop Indie Local holiday campaign, encouraging all of us to shift more of our holiday shopping, entertaining and dining to locally owned and independent businesses.
This national movement empowers us all to support local job creation and economic growth through our holiday purchases at locally owned and independent businesses. Over 70 business organizations and networks throughout the United States support this campaign that continues through December.
Savings Bank of Walpole will host a long weekend of Shop Indie Local celebrations from Friday, November 29 to Tuesday, December 3. The bank will set up information tables at each of their branches with Plaid Friday swag to inspire more people to participate in this year's event.
Community members are encouraged to wear plaid and stop by the bank's Marlboro Street branch to take a selfie in front of the bank's Plaid Friday backdrop. Savings Bank of Walpole will then share these photos on social media to further promote this event.
A big THANK YOU to this year's Plaid Friday, Cider Monday and Shop Indie Local sponsors: Beeze Tees Screen Printing, CC&D's Kitchen, Cheshire Horse, Creative Encounters, Cultural Cocoon, The Dragonfly Shop, Elm City Brewing Company, The Farm Café, Food Connects, Frogg Brewing, Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Joseph's Coat, Korvin Appliance, LuvINK&Paper, The Luxury Box Photo Booth, Mayfair Farm, Monadnock Food Co-op, One Stop Country Pet Supply, Peterborough Art Academy, Prime Roast Coffee, Savings Bank of Walpole, Ted's Shoe & Sport, Toadstool Bookshops in Keene and Peterborough, Tribals, Rugs by Hand and The Works Café.
Thanks to all who contribute to the success of Plaid Friday, Cider Monday and Shop Indie Local. See you this weekend!
Farmers’ Market of Keene: Monadnock Waldorf School, 98 S. Lincoln St. Every Saturday, November through December; 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. SNAP/EBT accepted. email@example.com, http://www.keenefarmersmarket.com/.
Peterborough Farmers’ Market: Peterborough Community Center, 25 Elm St., Weds. Oct.-Dec 20, 3– 6 p.m. Vegetables, flowers/plants, dairy, maple, baked goods, meat, crafts. 396-9136, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://www.facebook.com/PeterboroughNHFarmersMarket.
Winchester Farmers’ Market on Main: Town Hall, 1 Richmond Rd., Sat., Nov. – May, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Vegetables, maple, baked goods, meat, jams/jellies, eggs, Vegan foods, fudge, hand made soap, crafts. Live music, holiday card and cookie decorating, visits with Santa and more. SNAP/EBT accepted. 239-6361, email@example.com, www.winchesterfarmersmarketnh.com.
View New Hampshire Winter Farmers’ Markets (2019/2020 Season)
From the NH Dept. of Agriculture, Markets & Food
**Please contact market to verify products available**
Here is a new must-do event for your holiday list! Monadnock Music has orchestrated a Holiday House Tour like no other. Visit beautifully decorated homes on Pine Street in Peterborough and enjoy Live Classical Music & Carolers, along with festive refreshments on Friday, December 6th From 5:30pm To 7:30pm. This event is a perfect way to kick off the Holiday Spirit and bring the whole family to partake the New England traditions.
Each home will be welcoming guests to view their traditional family holiday decorations, listen to live holiday classics played by the talented musicians of Monadnock Music and nibble on the festive hot drinks and cookies provided by each Host. Visitors can stroll to each house at their own pace, at their desired sequence, no need to follow a group!
Cost for the House Tour, Musical Entertainment and Refreshments is $15 per person or $40 for a family (children 10 and under $5), Free to all Vets. Take a peak at the locations of the homes and the lovely refreshments listed below. There is plenty of street parking. Please contact Laina Barakat, Executive Director of Monadnock Music if you require assistance for physical challenges at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make your new Holiday tradition and purchase your tickets online.
Greenwood Home — 34 Pine Street - Hot Mulled Wine, Punch & Shortbread
Koch Home — 29 Pine Street - Hot Cider & Oatmeal Cookies
Drogy Home — 27 Pine Street - Hot Coco & Chocolate Orange Cookies
Ruland Home — 38 Pine Street - Hot Cranberry Cider & Snickerdoodles
Monadnock Music is a Nonprofit Organization · Peterborough, New Hampshire. We are one of New England's most diverse and exciting summer classical music festivals, encompassing all sub-genres, styles, and periods. We provide quality, adventure, intimacy, and a welcoming atmosphere in beautiful settings.
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431