Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News
Prime Roast Coffee Co. in Keene launched a new program called BySpoke: Beans By Bike. They now deliver their coffee beans by electric bike to customers who order online and live locally. (Left to right): Devany Pitsas, Valery Cavadini, Emily Lavigne, Judy Rogers and Nicole Melanson. Photo Credit: Beth Pelton.
May is National Bike Month, promoted by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Since 1956, National Bike Month boasts the benefits of bicycling to encourage more of us to go by bicycle.
In our region, we’ll gather virtually to mark Bike Month and watch the crowdsourced documentary film MOTHERLOAD on Thursday, May 28 starting at 6:30 p.m. MOTHERLOAD highlights the story of an overwhelmed mother and how a cargo bicycle brings her freedom and joy (see more about this film below). This event is free and co-hosted by Monadnock Food Co-op, Monadnock International Film Festival (MONIFF), and Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST).
A live post-film discussion will follow the film with MOTHERLOAD Director Liz Canning, VBike Director Dave Cohen, Prime Roast Coffee Company Founder Judy Rogers and Keene State College Film Professor Ted White. Event attendees will also have a chance to win one of our event prizes including a pair of VIP tickets to MONIFF, a $25 gift card to Monadnock Food Co-op, a bag of Prime Roast coffee beans delivered to your home by ebike (must live within 3 miles of Prime Roast and delivery date is subject to weather) and an e-bike/cargo-bike consultation from Dave Cohen at VBike. This event is free, but registration is required.
Why celebrate bicycling during the COVID-19 crises? “Because bicycling is more essential to our lives than ever,” shared Bike Month organizers from The League of American Bicyclists. “And because we could all use some bike joy to look forward to. Whether you’re riding for fun, fitness or with family, or taking essential trips to work or shop, you are part of a movement for safer streets, connected communities, a healthier planet and happier people.”
Prime Roast Coffee Company in Keene truly seized Bike Month this year. They launched their new BySpoke: Beans By Bike program. They deliver their coffee beans by an electric bike, named Iris, to customers who order online and live locally. “Are you wondering why we chose to name our new e-bike Iris?” asked Judy. “Iris was the goddess of rainbows and the messenger of the gods. It just seemed right.”
Last year, the Monadnock Food Co-op formed a team called the “Co-op Commuters” to participate in the National Bike Challenge. We kept this team going and have logged 928 miles so far! Anyone can join our team through at and log their own miles. New to bicycling? Watch the League of American Bicyclists’ videos and gain confidence in your riding skills.
You can also support bicycling beyond Bike Month. For example, Pathways for Keene opened up registration for their 19th annual Four on the 4th Road Race planned for July 4. This race will raise funds for the Cheshire Rail Trail, Phase 3 & the Park Avenue Loop project – projects that make our city more walkable and bikeable.
MOTHERLOAD follows director and new mother, Liz Canning, on her quest to understand the increasing tension between modern life and our hunter-gatherer DNA, and how cargo bikes offer a solution. As Liz meets the people behind this push to replace cars with purpose-built bikes, she learns about the history and potential future of the bicycle as the “ultimate social revolutionizer.”
Conflict arises when characters encounter cultural resistance, in particular bikelash, focused on women and mothers. MOTHERLOAD draws connections to the struggle of cyclist Suffragettes and women’s seemingly endless fight for bodily autonomy. Ultimately, Liz’s experiences as a cyclist, as a mother, and in discovering the cargo bike world, teach her that sustainability is not necessarily about compromise and sacrifice. Instead, there are few things more empowering in an age of consumption than the ability to create everything from what seems to be nothing.
“For seven years, MONIFF has been fortunate to share some of the best independent films with members of our community—during the festival and throughout the year,” said MONIFF Board Chair, Deirdre Fitzgerald. “COVID-19 has made a trip to the movies off-limits for now, so it’s wonderful to be able to bring people together with this free, virtual screening of MOTHERLOAD and help raise awareness about the benefits of bicycling.”
Now, let’s get rolling!
From Orchard Hill Breadworks
Our new mill has been delivered and installed and is running beautifully! Our team voted on a color for the metal framework, and we couldn’t be happier with this bright purple.
We have switched over to milling all of our rye and spelt flour in house, but we are still searching for a source of organic wheat berries that is able to supply us in quantity in the current climate. Small local mills and growers, as well as larger operations, are experiencing an increased demand for flour and grain due to the pandemic, and are operating either at or over capacity and are largely unable to take on new accounts at this time. We have been able to source small quantities of wheat berries, however, which has allowed us to provide fresh flour for sale in our farm stand and at farmer’s markets as well as at select local retail locations.
In other news, we have made the very tough decision to cancel pizza night for the 2020 season. We feel unable to play host to such an event in a way that would be socially responsible and are unwilling to potentially put our community at risk. We are, however, planning to offer delicious take-away pies, made by our hard-working team and baked in our wood-fired oven, available every Tuesday evening from 5:30pm to 8:00pm, June 3 - August 25, 2020. We will offer 3 pizzas each night: a plain cheese, a vegetarian special and a meat special, which will feature as much local, seasonal produce, along with locally produced meats and cheeses, as we are able to procure.These pizzas will be priced at $16, $20 and $20 respectively. For those of you who have joined us for pizza nights in the past, you’ll notice an increase in price.
Allow us to explain: The main function of pizza night has always been to serve as both a community gathering space, as well as provide a source of fundraising for local non-profit organizations. In order to make sure these organizations received as large of a percentage of the proceeds as possible, the bakery has always kept its overhead costs very low — sauce, cheese, crusts, and an all-volunteer staff, provided by the benefiting organization of the evening, along with 1 bakery employee. This year’s pizza nights will require significantly more of the bakery terms of financial outlay, in both ingredient cost, as well as staffing.
For those of you who contributed to the fundraising campaign by purchasing a VIPizza Pass, we are able to offer you the full value of your pass ($125) in credit toward take-away pizza this summer. Stay tuned for details regarding ordering, pick-up and redeeming your credit for this summer’s pizza night. We are endlessly grateful for your support.
For those of you who contributed to the fundraising campaign by signing up for our Whole Grain of the Month Club, your first pick-up will be May 28 with our 100% freshly milled Whole Spelt bread. It’s become one of our new favorites, and we hope you’ll love it too!
Whew! That was a long one. If you made it this far, thank you for sticking with it! It has been a wild few months at the bakery, and in the world at large, and we are all feeling incredibly grateful to still be baking bread and pastry. We hope this update finds you safe and well, and we send you our warmest thoughts and wishes.
The Orchard Hill Breadworks Team
The documentary film MOTHERLOAD is coming soon virtually to Keene, NH, on Thursday, May 28, 2020, thanks to co-hosts Monadnock Food Co-op, Monadnock International Film Festival (MONIFF), and Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST). MOTHERLOAD, a crowdsourced documentary, explores how the cargo bicycle becomes a vehicle for exploring motherhood in this digital age of climate change.
The film starts at 6:30 p.m. with a post-film discussion to follow with MOTHERLOAD Director Liz Canning, VBike Director Dave Cohen, and Keene State College Film Professor Ted White. This event is free, but registration is required.
This community screening celebrates National Bike Month, a promotion each May that highlights the many benefits of bicycling and inspires individuals to bike more often. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Bike Month will continue as planned.
“The League is still celebrating National Bike Month,” shared Bike Month organizers from The League of American Bicyclists. “Because bicycling is more essential to our lives than ever—and because we could all use some bike joy to look forward to. We hope that the hundreds of thousands of you who participate in Bike Month events in typical years continue to do so through virtual, solo, or safely distanced events in May 2020, and beyond.”
“I’m excited for this opportunity to view MOTHERLOAD online as a community in these trying times,” said Will Schoefmann, MAST Steering Committee Chair. “Hopefully, this will help to inspire our region now and for the better
times ahead. I would encourage everyone to watch this excellent film and help transform our attitudes towards modern bicycling.”
The Local Crowd Monadnock (TLC Monadnock), a community-based crowdfunding program, is getting closer to launching an initiative that will empower you to support the local businesses and organizations that you don’t want to live without.
While we work to lay the groundwork for this initiative, here are some ways you can help local businesses weather the COVID-19 storm now. Thank you to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance for providing the tips below. We also share updates from local businesses related to each tip. Their quotes show that many of you have already embraced the idea of weathering this storm together.
Lots of small businesses have online storefronts. Many offer home delivery too. You’ll not only get your products faster than if you order them from an online megastore, but you’ll also be helping the small businesses you love stay in business.
Some local business owners reported an uptick in business due to the coronavirus. “Our farm has seen an increase in the number of people joining our spring and main season CSAs for this time of year,” shared Gene Jonas of Hungry Bear Farm in Mason. “We sold out spring shares weeks ago and had to turn some people away even. Our main season CSA is about two-thirds full right now.”
In terms of our community taking advantage of online storefronts, here’s one report from a local business owner in Keene. “I have been overwhelmed by the love from our community and beyond,” said Brandie Wells from Soul Emporium. “My goal during this pandemic was to creatively keep inventory moving. I am selling Mystery Boxes (with crystals, herbs, teas, and other items) and the community is purchasing! Some are even buying them as pick-me-ups to ship to friends and family. This creative solution is helping my store thrive and bringing love and light to my community as well.”
Looking for businesses with an online storefront? View our searchable directory at tlcmonadnock.com/online.
Order online from your favorite local restaurants, then pick up curbside. Take your fitness classes by Zoom. No matter how your favorite businesses are offering goods and services now, keep supporting them with your purchases.
Restaurants and other businesses pivoted to curbside pick-up. Many yoga and wellness centers moved their services online. While you shift the ways you support your health, find ways to support the health of local businesses that provide so much to our community. What they provide ripples out way beyond the products and services they offer.
“When we opened Aloha Healthy Living just a year ago, we had a different vision than most new businesses. We wanted to give all our incoming money to our practitioners and the rest to nonprofits,” said Josephine Russell. “We are at the stage of life where we still have a lot of energy and we wanted to have somewhere to pour this energy into that gives us meaning and happiness.”
Josephine continued, “Our teachers have switched to online offerings. Some offer classes for free, some by donation, and some at a fee. Most importantly, we have many tools in our yoga toolbox for getting us through this time stress-free and happy.”
“The social capital and the community’s support of our shops and restaurants has been stupendous,” shared Ted McGreer of Ted’s Shoe & Sport in Keene. “I wanted to personally find a way to support our regions’ businesses, and with so many people trying to get outside and increase their level of activity, I decided to hold a Keene Community Virtual 5K.”
Instead of race participants receiving a t-shirt, they received a gift certificate from a local business of their choice. The result, just shy of $20,000 in gift certificates going to support area businesses.
Tip well. Spread the news (safely) about the great service you’re getting from your small businesses. Leave positive reviews online (small business owners could really use some love right now). Donate to your favorite businesses through crowdfunding.
There’s much generosity happening in our region. We’re thrilled to share that our community stepped up to support Food Connects crowdfunding campaign with TLC Monadnock. On April 18, they reached their campaign goal to raise $10,000 to increase market access for local farmers and food producers in our region.
Food Connects continues its local food delivery service to wholesale customers. “The last three weeks we’ve seen a 50-80% increase in our local food sales,” says Alex McCullough, Food Hub Manager. “We are delivering food to local co-ops and markets, hospitals, school meal programs, and buying clubs in record numbers. This diverse group of customers is allowing us to continue supporting farmers and finding outlets for their food.”
Please share more examples of how you and your community are weathering the storm together. Contact me at email@example.com. Be well!
Right now, it isn't clear that Congressional leadership understands how dire the situation is for hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the country. We're hoping you will record videos, tweet, and post on Facebook at 9am EST this coming Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, using the hashtag #SmallBizNeedsNow.
At this key moment, Congress needs to hear your stories to understand the critical need for more federal funds and a more streamlined way to get them to small businesses.
Our friends at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance have created a social media toolkit with instructions, sample tweets, and more. The toolkit also includes instructions on recording and posting videos, should you need them. Those videos and posts will get maximum re-broadcast throughout the week.
View the Social Media Toolkit
Originally Posted at Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Most small businesses don’t have the credit and capital to weather the coronavirus pandemic. And the average small business has only enough cash in reserve to remain open for 27 days. For restaurants, it’s only 16 days; for retail shops, only 19. Being closed for weeks — or months — because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be devastating for hundreds of thousands of small businesses. Governments, foundations, and nonprofits everywhere are scrambling to help small businesses stay afloat during this crisis, but everyone can help. Here are some things you can do.
How You Can Support Our Locally Owned Businesses
By Food Connects
Food Connects is now over 75% of the way to its crowdfunding goal of $10,000 for our “Growing Local Food Markets in the Monadnock Region” campaign. This campaign, run through The Local Crowd Monadnock, aims to increase market access for local farmers and food producers.
Thanks to the generosity of over 50 donors, Food Connects raised $7,741 as of March 31. These funds will go towards implementing the first steps in Food Connects newly optimized food safety plan—covering the cost of the food safety certification and audit, the monthly fees for the Integrated Pest Management Program, staff training, and necessary cleaning and transportation supplies.
A large portion of these funds was raised through the Monadnock Food Co-op’s Round It Up program for March. Co-op customers had the opportunity to round up their change at the register for this campaign, resulting in $4,341.19. “We are so grateful for the incredible generosity of the community at the Monadnock Food Co-op,” says Richard Berkfield, Food Connects’ Executive Director. “These funds will help Food Connects develop the necessary infrastructure needed to sell to larger wholesale customers.”
The outbreak of COVID-19 has heightened the need for and awareness of supporting the local food economy. “Now, more than ever, it is important to strengthen our local food businesses,” says Berkfield. “Many food producers are seeing a loss of sales due to college and restaurant closures. Our campaign focuses on developing current and new markets to ensure that there is a broad and diverse set of customers always available to purchase local food. Resilient local food economies can weather the storm.”
Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Food Connects is continuing on with its local food delivery. “The last three weeks we’ve seen a 50-80% increase in our local food sales,” says Alex McCullough, Food Hub Manager. “We are delivering food to local co-ops and markets, hospitals, school meal programs, and buying clubs in record numbers. This diverse group of customers is allowing us to continue supporting farmers and finding outlets for their food.”
A matching challenge is now in place. The Monadnock Food Co-op will match each donation to the Food Connects crowdfunding campaign dollar for dollar up to $500. Food Connects needs to raise $2,259 more by April 18.
Double Your Impact!
Despite these uncertain times, The Local Crowd Monadnock (TLC Monadnock), a community-based crowdfunding program, will continue its work to empower you to support the businesses, organizations, and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in our region. We’re also exploring innovative ways to best leverage our program to keep our community healthy and resilient.
“Crowdfunding is a great chance to keep forward momentum, to keep up the spirits of your community, and to make immediate positive economic impact locally,” said Emily Best of Seed & Spark Crowdfunding.
TLC Monadnock launched two campaigns this month. One campaign is for Food Connects, which distributes local food to wholesalers like the Monadnock Food Co-op. The other supports Keene Housing Kids Collaborative and helps mark their fifth year in our community. 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!
Food Connects is an entrepreneurial non-profit on a mission to create healthy families, thriving farms and connected communities. They partner with local farmers and food producers like Frisky Cow Gelato, Echo Farm Puddings, and Picadilly Farm. In all, they source meat, dairy, produce and baked goods from over seventy producers throughout southern Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
With the help of Food Connects, these businesses share their bounty with schools, grocery stores, hospitals, restaurants and other businesses across our region. Overall, Food Connects wants to create a vibrant food economy and make local food accessible to all community members. To achieve this goal, local farmers and food producers need access to larger markets to scale up production and increase their revenue.
Expanding wholesale markets is challenging, especially when it comes to meeting the unique requirements of each wholesale customer. “Many large-scale, wholesale customers in the community can only purchase from a limited number of approved vendors,” says McKenna Hayes, Food Connects Food Hub Operations Manager. “It is difficult, if not impossible, for a small-scale, family-owned operation to become an approved vendor.”
Food Connects is working to solve this problem by becoming an approved vendor for larger customers, allowing schools, grocery stores, hospitals and restaurants to easily purchase from local farmers and producers who sell through Food Connects.
That’s where you come in! Campaign supporters will empower Food Connects to develop formal food safety procedures and purchase the supplies they need to obtain a third-party food safety certification. Join us and make it easier to buy and sell local food in our community. Food Connects “Growing Local Food Markets in the Monadnock Region” crowdfunding campaign is well on the way to meeting its fundraising goal of $10,000. As of today, their fundraising total surpassed $7,500!
Visit Food Connects’ crowdfunding page. Give at certain levels and claim a great reward (or two) while they last. Rewards include Brewbakers Café gift certificates, Frisky Cow gelato and more. This crowdfunding campaign ends on April 18. Or you can round up your change for this campaign at the Monadnock Food Co-op until March 31.
The Local Crowd Monadnock’s second crowdfunding campaign supports Keene Housing Kids Collaborative. Keene Housing Kids Collaborative gives kids living in Keene Housing households the chance to participate in activities in our community that will help them succeed.
“The children in our community are the next generation of workers, parents and community leaders. But not all kids have an equal start in life because their families struggle financially to get by,” said Liz Chipman, executive director of Keene Housing Kids Collaborative. “Investing in children is investing in the future of our community.”
Our community benefits when all children have an equal chance to be an active part of that community. Help Keene Housing Kids Collaborative celebrate their fifth birthday by supporting them with a contribution of $5 or more. By giving a little, you can help out a lot.
“We believe kids, wherever they live, should be part of the community, not apart from the community. That’s why we don’t have centralized programming on-site at Keene Housing properties,” shared Liz. “Instead, we partner with community organizations that are already providing excellent programming for kids.”
Visit the “Helping Kids Access Success” campaign page. This campaign also offers fantastic rewards for giving at certain levels like lessons from Kickboxing Keene and True Hope Therapeutic Horsemanship. This crowdfunding campaign ends on April 2.
Watch for more crowdfunding campaigns at tlcmonadnock.com. Be well, everyone!
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 from a large number of people to support a local project, 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 TLC Monadnock at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-283-5401.
We know that these are trying times for our community. Local businesses and food producers are struggling with the loss of sales. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we support and grow local food infrastructure. Resilient local food economies can weather the storm.
In light of the outbreak of COVID-19, we wanted to share with you what Food Connects continues to do to keep our communities safe, support local food producers, and feed our neighbors. Our Food Hub is working diligently to modify and reduce our direct contact with customers and producers, limiting the amount of exposure we have with individuals to ensure the safety of our staff, customers, producers, and the food we provide—while still getting food to grocery stores and school meal programs providing breakfast and lunch to hungry students. Our larger Food Connects team is telecommuting and working with local and statewide partners to respond to the needs of our community and provide vital resources and assistance.
We want to thank those who have supported our campaign to get us to over 40% of our goal. We ask that you continue to share and support this campaign to help us achieve our goals of healthy families, thriving farms, and connects communities.
In the meantime, we ask that you continue to be a champion for local food. Ordering takeout or delivery from local restaurants helps them stay in business. Purchasing locally-grown produce at your neighboring co-op ensures that farms in our region can still thrive. Donating to food banks, school meal programs, and other meal delivery service non-profits guarantees our neighbors are not hungry.
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431