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  • November 10, 2019 8:57 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    You're invited!  Independent businesses and community members in the Monadnock Region will celebrate Plaid Friday on the day after Thanksgiving. This year's event falls on Friday, November 29, 2019. 

    Individuals will wear plaid on Plaid Friday to show support for the local economy and their commitment to spending more of their dollars at locally owned businesses during the holiday season. Last year, nearly 400 community members pledged to participate in Plaid Friday.

    RSVP today!

    To amplify this year's event, Savings Bank of Walpole will host a Plaid Friday Week 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 throughout this week 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.

    "With Savings Bank of Walpole (SBW) being the community's local bank, we want to show our support for our local businesses," said Danielle Ruffo, Savings Bank of Walpole's new Community Engagement Coordinator.  "SBW serves many customers in our community -- and keeping your money local is what we are all about.  Supporting Plaid Friday and the 'Shop Indie Local' movement is all part of helping our local community thrive and grow."

    Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of local and independent businesses. It's a fun and festive alternative to the "Black Friday" consumer frenzy perpetuated by big box stores.  This event originated in Oakland, CA with the intent to bring back the times when shopping for friends and family was a pleasurable and leisurely activity.
    A growing list of locally owned businesses will serve as Plaid Friday Hubs, photographing customers decked out in plaid and answering questions about this event.  View a list of Plaid Friday Hubs.

    Local photographer Kim Peck will host a Plaid Friday Photo Booth outside of The Toadstool Bookshop at 12 Depot Square in Peterborough (times TBD). In Keene, Ted's Shoe & Sport at 115 Main Street will host a Plaid Friday Photo Booth inside his store with Luxury Box Photo Booth, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The photo booth will then move to Elm City Brewery at 222 West Street (times TBD). Photos will be added to a Plaid Friday collage, celebrating all who wore plaid: bit.ly/MBLplaidfriday
    A number of participating businesses will offer specials to honor the day and thank community members for their support. View these specials

    Plaid Friday is part of the "Shop Indie Local" movement growing throughout North America.  From November 1 to December 31, Shop Indie Local encourages residents to choose local and independent businesses for more of their holiday purchases.

    The Monadnock Region's Plaid Friday event is sponsored by Beeze Tees Screen Printing, CC&D's Kitchen, Cheshire Horse, Creative Encounters, Cultural Cocoon, The Dragonfly Shop,  Elm City Brewery, The Farm Cafe, Food Connects, Frogg Brewing, Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Joseph's Coat, Korvin Appliance, LuvINK&Paper, The Luxury Box Photo Booth, Marcia Kayser, 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 Cafe.

    About Shop Indie Local

    Shop Indie Local provides a gateway to resources from many community campaigns and includes easy-to-use graphics and activities that allow participating partners to spread the critical message easily where they live. Visit the site for information on the campaign, partnering organizations, special events, and stories from Granite State communities making the shift in 2019.  Plaid Friday and Shift Your Shopping for the Holidays campaigns, in collaboration with national local economy leaders at The American Independent Business Alliance.

  • October 30, 2019 6:03 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

    From your Thanksgiving meal to your New Year’s Eve celebration, are you ready to Shop Indie Local?  On November 1, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) will launch 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 50 business organizations and networks throughout the United States will kick off this collaborative campaign next week. The campaign continues through December.

    When you spend your dollars at locally owned retail businesses in the Monadnock Region four times more money returns to our local economy compared to chain retailers.  Spend a dollar at an independent business and 62 cents returns to our local economy, spend it at a chain store and only 13 cents returns.

    The money that returns recirculates through our economy, generating ripple effects that create new jobs, charitable contributions and community prosperity.  If everyone shifted just 10% of their purchases from national chains to locally owned retailers, we would return $27 million to our regional economy annually.

    Here are five tips to boost your Shop Indie Local efforts:

    • Make your own gifts (whether art, food or other creation) and buy your raw materials at locally owned businesses.
    • To amplify your impact, buy New Hampshire made and grown gifts at locally owned businesses.
    • Participate in the events we have planned during the Shop Indie Local season: Plaid Friday and Cider Monday — friendly, community-centered alternatives to the consumer frenzy that descends upon the nation each November.

    Plaid Friday

    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.

    Some independent businesses will serve as Plaid Friday Hubs.  Hubs photograph customers decked out in plaid and answer questions about Plaid Friday and Monadnock Buy Local.  In addition to hubs, some members will offer special events to thank you for stopping in.  LuvInk&Paper in Keene will offer a Plaid Friday Holiday Card Buffet at their studio (103 Roxbury Street – Suite 306).  Stay tuned for more!

    Wearing plaid in Keene on Plaid Friday? Hop on into the Luxury Box Photo Booth at Ted’s Shoe & Sport at 115 Main Street in Keene on November 29th.  Kim Peck will also set up a booth in Peterborough – stay tuned for the location.  We will add all the photos taken to our annual collage, celebrating everyone who wore plaid to honor the day.  Check out our gallery of over 400 photos from past Plaid Fridays at bit.ly/MBLplaidfriday.

    Also, to amplify this year’s event, Savings Bank of Walpole will host a Plaid Friday Launch Party.  We’ll post more details in early November.

    Cider Monday

    That’s not a typo!  Instead of Cyber Monday, a day when online merchants offer special deals, the Toadstool Bookshops invite you to a new tradition, CIDER Monday. On December 2nd, stop in for a free cup of cider and browse their amazing selection of books. In response to Cyber Monday, a day when online merchants offer deep discounts to divert your attention away from buying locally, Willard Williams of the Toadstool Bookshops dreamed up this new tradition.

    “Customers are promised cider and smiling servers that will not crash,” said Willard.  “As always, we’ll offer personal service, advice and the opportunity to touch and try items — with no logins or passwords necessary!  Join us in taking a bite out of Cyber Monday.”

    Discover more.

    Shop Indie Local Sponsors

    A big THANK YOU to this year’s Plaid Friday and Cider Monday sponsors:  Cheshire Garden, The Cheshire Horse, The Dragonfly Shop, Frogg Brewing, Hannah Grimes Marketplace, LuvINK&Paper, Monadnock Food Co-op, Prime Roast Coffee, Savings Bank of Walpole, Ted’s Shoe & Sport, and The Yoga Space. Own an independent business?  It’s not too late to jump in and participate.  Contact us today at monadnockbuylocal@gmail.com.

    Please join us and Shop Indie Local this holiday season.  Together we’ll create a true holiday gift to our community — one that will keep on giving throughout the New Year.

  • October 08, 2019 5:36 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    We have a lot to be proud of... Over the years, we’ve built a movement of local economy builders and made these individuals visible the Friday after Thanksgiving – by asking them to wear plaid on Plaid Friday.  Plus, Cider Monday was created right here in the Monadnock Region by Willard Williams of Toadstool Bookshops.

    We’ve built so much together, but there’s so much more to do to fan the positive ripple effect that happens when each of us shift our spending from big box stores and online giants to our friends and neighbors: independent business owners.
    Please help us continue the traditions that you helped build:  Support our Plaid Friday, Cider Monday and More crowdfunding campaign on The Local Crowd Monadnock today!

    Support our campaign 

    Every donation helps us spread the word about Plaid Friday and Cider Monday in our region.
    PLUS, we have some fabulous rewards to thank you for supporting our campaign:

    • A $25 gift card to the Monadnock Food Co-op
    • 4 jars of Cheshire Garden Organic Farmstead Preserves
    • A Full Moon Moose T-Shirt and Hat Combo from Of Moose & Mountain
    • Two 1-Day Passes to the Cheshire Children’s Museum
    • Yoga from Aloha Keene
    • Plaid Friday Rock Star status
    • And more!

    View more rewards on the right side of our campaign page.
    Thanks so much for all you do to support our local economy – and please help spread the word about our campaign to your friends, family and neighbors.

    Support our campaign

  • 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 http://c-fund.us/mqq. 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 http://c-fund.us/mne.  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: tlcmonadnock.com.

    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 monadnockbuylocal@gmail.com 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 tlcmonadnock.com/rfp.  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 tlcmonadnock.com 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 nheatlocal.org.

    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 rachel@cheshireconservation.org. 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 tckgleaner@gmail.com.

    “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 marketing@monadnockfood.coop 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

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