By Liz Kelly, Southwest Region Planning Commission
In an effort to encourage more bicycling in the region, the Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST) and the Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC) are seeking businesses and organizations in Jaffrey, Walpole, Winchester, and Harrisville to participate in Rack it Up!, a community-based bike rack initiative that aims to increase both the number and visibility of bike racks in the Monadnock Region. The goal is to encourage bicycling as a healthy, fun and convenient transportation option for residents throughout the region.
Over the past three years, the Rack it Up! Program has provided 438 secure bicycle parking spaces at various locations in Keene, Swanzey, Hinsdale and Troy, including Yolo Frozen Yogurt, the Monadnock Humane Society, Brewbakers’ Café, the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, Ashuelot River Park, and the Samuel E. Paul Community Center.
Supported by the CDC’s Partnerships to Improve Community Health initiative, and administered by Cheshire Medical Center – Dartmouth Hitchcock to Healthy Monadnock partners, MAST and SWRPC are working to increase access to physical activity opportunities such as walking and bicycling.
Bicycling is an affordable and increasingly popular mode of transportation that has significant community health and environmental benefits. Bike racks benefit businesses and organizations by increasing parking capacity, promoting physical activity and healthy habits, and providing more transportation options for customers and employees.
According to Mary Ann Kristiansen, Executive Director of the Keene-based Hannah Grimes Center and a 2015 Rack it Up! program participant, the bike racks “help promote an active culture, which is important in attracting entrepreneurs and younger people. It helps promote a positive image of our community- that it’s a place to live, work, and play.” To apply, go to www.mastnh.org/rackitup, or contact Liz Kelly at (603) 357-0557 or email@example.com for more information.
About Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST):
MAST is a volunteer coalition of organizations and individuals working to implement sustainable transportation solutions in the Monadnock Region. MAST recognizes the broad impacts that our transportation system has on us as individuals and as communities- everything from access to employment and services to cost of living to our health and beyond. MAST’s mission is to “promote all modes of transportation that enhance the environmental, economic and physical health and well-being of citizens in the Monadnock Region.” To learn more about MAST, visit www.mastnh.org.
About Healthy Monadnock
Healthy Monadnock 2020 is a community engagement initiative designed to foster and sustain a positive culture of health throughout Cheshire County and the Monadnock Region. Founded and developed by the Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene in 2007, Healthy Monadnock’s action plans are being guided in the community by the Council for a Healthier Community, a group of 30+ individuals representing organizations, institutions, and businesses. Community partners and Champions are working together to improve the quality of life and prevent the leading causes of death for everyone by implementing strategies to: increase healthy eating and active living, increase income and jobs, improve mental wellbeing, increase emergency preparedness, reduce substance misuse including tobacco, increase educational attainment, and increase access to and quality of healthcare. To learn more about Healthy Monadnock, visit www.healthymonadnock.org.
Complete Economy Event: Creating an Economy That Works for All in the Monadnock Region is scheduled for May 4, 2017 in Keene.
Stacy Mitchell is a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its initiatives on banking and independent business. She helps design and implement policies and strategies to curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted businesses. Her book Big-Box Swindle appeared on several top-ten lists and was described by Bill McKibben as “the ultimate account of the single most important economic trend in our country.”
The Complete Economy Project supports the adoption of policies that level the playing field for locally owned businesses in our region and spark innovative business models that contribute to our local living economy. It cultivates a regional economy that works for all people and balances the needs of diverse types of business.
Thank you so much for considering this opportunity. Sponsor commitments are due April 1, 2017. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-499-7950 with any questions.
By Simon Huntley, Small Farm Central
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a personal relationship between a farmer and eater. You join the farm as a member and you get a box of food from the farm throughout the growing season. The CSA charter describes this relationship well.
As our culture and economy becomes more homogenized and centralized, CSA is the opposite. It is about a personal relationship between a farmer and the CSA members. It is an intimate connection between local farmland and your dinner table.
You get the freshest possible ingredients from a farmer that you know and the farm gets advance knowledge of demand so he or she can focus on growing healthy food and getting the food to you.
In world of intractable problems - take your pick: political and economic instability, nuclear weapons, global warming, and on and on - joining a CSA is a positive act that you can take today that has profound impacts on your health, your local economy, and the environment.
CSA farmers spend money with other local businesses which circulates money in our local economies. CSA farmers take care of their land. CSA farmers treat their employees well. You know all this because you can go visit your CSA farmer and see for yourself. CSA keeps small scale, local farms in business so they can continue producing food for you.
To be frank, joining a CSA is not the easiest path to eating healthy. You can continue to shop at the grocery store and maybe visit the farmers market a few times throughout the season. However, joining a CSA puts you in partnership with a local farmer. A CSA membership enriches your life with high quality food as you spend your food dollars in a way that you will feel good about.
The investment you make in your CSA farm is modest. The average CSA share costs $25/week during the season, so that is $100/month. That’s probably less than your cable bill and less than your cell phone bill -- for food grown with care in local soil and delivered directly to your neighborhood! There usually is some up-front investment, though most farms will offer payment plans (if not, ask your farmer for a payment plan if you need it!).
Thank you for supporting local farms and making the commitment to a CSA share. Your support makes all the difference and keeps our farms running.
If there is something that is preventing you from joining your CSA farm, you should let your farmer know so they can improve their program in the future!
Find a CSA farm in our CSA Day Directory at http://csaday.info.
First, of course, is the moral imperative: We all should take responsibility to ensure everyone can walk the streets, do business and live their lives free of discrimination or concern about receiving verbal or physical abuse.
But small business’ own well-being also is at stake. For one, a negative experience at one independent business can degrade a person’s perception of others -- especially within that community. And if a person doesn’t feel safe from bigotry in your neighborhood, they’re far more likely to travel to one where they feel more welcome to shop or dine -- or simply shop online.
Sending a clear message to anyone entering your establishment can help, but educating employees also is essential. While we hope overt bigotry from an employee or business owner is a rarity, businesses should cultivate an environment in which all customers receive welcoming treatment, not merely an absence of hostility.
A friendly verbal welcome and a smile always is good business, but especially so for people who stand out from others in your community. Small businesses also should consider educating their staff on how to protect customers in the event of harassment in or around their business, without endangering their own safety.
Finally, we suggest business owners strive to hire and develop a diverse staff, including leadership positions, not only to model inclusivity, but for their business’ success. Non-ideological studies have found businesses ranked in the top quartile for diversity in gender and race generate greater profit than more homogeneous ones! We welcome you to recommend additional materials to link on this page.
Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News
This Valentine’s Day, show your “local love” -- your love for your sweetie and your whole community -- by purchasing gifts (or gift-making supplies) and meals (or ingredients) at locally owned businesses.
Locally owned businesses offer us much to love. They strengthen our local economy, culture and well-being. 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 purchases are tomorrow’s jobs.
“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.
Find all that you need to show your local love using Monadnock Buy Local’s searchable online directory of locally owned businesses: Find Independents.
Here are six 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.
NH Made will host a mixer at The Hannah Grimes Center in Keene from 6pm to 8pm on February 16th.
Denise Meadows will provide an overview of the programs, resources and services The Hannah Grimes Center has created to support entrepreneurs and will give us a tour of The Hannah Grimes Marketplace, a retail store centered around locally made goods.
We will also be joined by Pam Lorimer, owner of the Jack Daniels Motor Inn (NH Made member) and Secretary of the Monadnock Travel Council. Pam will share with us the travel council's mission and their efforts to attract visitors to the Monadnock Region.
This is a great opportunity to learn more about NH Made, meet its members and network with businesses in the Monadnock area.
Location: The Hannah Grimes Center, 25 Roxbury Street, Keene, NH 03431
Phone: (603) 352-5063
Parking: Street and garage parking are available. Click this link for additional details on parking: https://www.hannahgrimes.com/contact/
Please RSVP by February 14th by emailing email@example.com.
Originally Published in the Monadnock Shopper News
This month, Monadnock Buy Local gathered a list of businesses, organizations and initiatives strengthening Sustainable Transportation efforts in our region. One initiative that came up again and again was the Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation, a.k.a. MAST.
MAST is a volunteer-driven alliance working to bring a better transportation future to our region. MAST’s vision includes each of us spending more time interacting with others and less time alone in a vehicle. MAST works to buoy transportation options that enhance the environmental and economic health of our region and the physical health and wellbeing of community members. Simply put, MAST wants to offer you healthier options for getting around.
“The group recognizes the broad impact that our transportation system has on us as individuals and as communities -- everything from employment, to our cost of living and our health,” said Henry Underwood of Southwest Region Planning Commission and MAST Steering Committee Coordinator.
MAST is looking for volunteers passionate about transforming transportation in the Monadnock Region. Here’s a review of three initiatives MAST plans to tackle in 2017 and an invitation for you to get involved.
The City of Keene is one of four “Bicycle Friendly Communities” in New Hampshire. A Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) welcomes and encourages bicycling with infrastructure (paths and bike lanes), educational programs (Safe Routes to School) and policies (Complete Streets). While MAST is proud that our city achieved a Bronze BFC status in 2015, we’ve set our sites on reaching a higher status in 2017 -- let’s go for the Silver… or better yet, the GOLD!
“The League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) program is a tool for communities to make bicycling a real transportation and recreation option for all people,” shared Henry.
MAST volunteers plan to assist city staff with Keene’s BFC application by gathering data and garnering support for programs or practices that help boost our city to a higher status. Discover more at bikeleague.org/community.
MAST recently published a report that collected background information, case studies and next steps for developing a carsharing program in Keene. Carsharing allows an individual to rent a car for short periods of time -- by the minute or hour, instead of by the day.
Imagine you plan to bike to work, but suddenly remember you have a midday meeting across town. Normally, you’d skip the bike ride and take the car -- but with a carsharing program in Keene, you can ride your bike to work and reserve a car through the carshare program to get to your meeting. Ride your bike to that central location, where the carshare is parked, and off you go.
Since the cost of carsharing is much lower than private car ownership, carsharing can bring more mobility to those who need a vehicle for only occasional trips. If we built up our carsharing fleet with hybrid or electric cars, we’d also lower our community’s vehicle emissions -- a goal in the City of Keene’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
“Carsharing is a transportation option that offers the benefits of having a car without the cost or hassle of private ownership,” added Henry. “In 2017, MAST will work with community partners to determine the feasibility of carsharing in Keene and the Monadnock Region.”
Learn more at carsharing.org.
MAST and the City of Keene plan to host a Bike to Work Day event in May. Last year, bicyclists, walkers and transit riders stopped by Railroad Square in Downtown Keene to listen to a proclamation by Keene Mayor Kendall Lane, participate in a Complete Streets Workshop and enjoy a free commuter breakfast, as well as a variety of giveaways. This year, we’re looking for volunteer energy to expand and energize this event.
Bike to Work Day is part of a national month-long celebration sponsored by The League of American Bicyclists to promote bicycle commuting.
“From fashion shows to group rides, local groups find unique ways to celebrate their diverse bike cultures and community pride,” states The League of American Bicyclists website. “Whether you bike to work or school; ride to save money or time; pump those pedals to preserve your health or the environment; or simply enjoy exploring your community, National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.”
Get rolling at bikeleague.org/bikemonth.
Monadnock Buy Local supports the work of MAST and believes its work is integral to building a stronger Local Living Economy -- one that is more local, green and fair. We serve on MAST’s Steering Committee and invite more individuals, businesses and organizations to climb aboard. Contact Henry Underwood at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the MAST website at www.MASTNH.org.
Before we close, here’s a shout-out for an excellent upcoming event offered by Village Roots Farm, a Permaculture Design Certificate Course at the Orchard Hill Community in Alstead that starts this March and runs one weekend a month through July. With permaculture, you learn how to design anything from a small backyard garden to a whole community into a stronger, more resilient and regenerative system.
The Early Bird Rate ends on February 1st. Learn more at villageroots.org/permaculture-design-certification-course.php.
We're thrilled to share that we received eight proposals from community members, business owners and nonprofit leaders interested in becoming the kick-off campaign for our new locally based crowdfunding platform, called The Local Crowd Monadnock.
The proposals were diverse -- a number of campaigns focused on the arts and agriculture; some supported for-profit businesses and others boosted non-profits; a number wanted to launch brand new start-up businesses, while others focused on growing established businesses.
After reviewing all the proposals we received, we plan to follow-up with our top candidates this week to confirm their ability to launch their crowdfunding campaign on March 15, 2017.
While we plan to launch with one or two campaigns in March, there's still an opportunity for everyone who submitted a proposal to run their campaign on TLC Monadnock at a future date.
To kick off 2017, we'll focus on a different building block of our Local Living Economy each week — highlighting the businesses, organizations and individuals making these components stronger and more resilient in our region.
We invite you to help us identify what's missing from our inventory of Local Living Economy Building Blocks in the Monadnock Region. Stay tuned and engaged!
What is a Local Living Economy? In November 2009, a group of 70 local entrepreneurs, community leaders, students and engaged citizens gathered at Keene State College’s Seventh Biennial Symposium “From Local to Global” to answer this question. The consensus: A Local Living Economy is a resilient system that improves our quality of life, meets everyone’s basic needs and creates an engaged citizenry.
With that definition agreed upon, we now move on to the next question: How do we cultivate a stronger Local Living Economy? Judy Wicks, co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and key participant in the November 2009 discussion, shared, “In order to build a local living economy, we must first determine what one looks like—what are the components, or building blocks, a vision of a local living economy that we can work toward achieving?”
Monadnock Buy Local continues to identify the building blocks of our Monadnock Local Living Economy—and we invite you to participate.
One way to join the conversation is virtually. Monadnock Buy Local is engaging its 3,500 online fans to help identify our region’s building blocks. Each week, we will focus on a different Local Living Economy component, from agriculture to transportation, gleaning from you—the individuals, businesses and organizations currently engaged in this work. Connect with the conversation on our website and Facebook Page.
Together, we are looking at the system that drives our Local Living Economy. This type of holistic thinking takes work, but it can result in better problem solving leading to more positive and lasting changes in our community.
As scientist and systems thinker Peter Senge states, “Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static snapshots. Fragmentation, competition, and reactiveness are not problems to be solved -- they are frozen patterns of thought to be dissolved.”Save
By Martin Castriotta, Village Roots Permaculture
Is a Permaculture Design Certificate Course right for you? Here are some commonly asked questions.
What is permaculture?
Permaculture is an ecologically-based design system. Permaculture designs produce human habitats (food, shelter, community) that are highly resilient (responsive to change), restorative and regenerative. Permaculture grows positive solutions to feed the future.
What is a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course?
A PDC is a set of coursework aimed to provide an overview of permaculture; its origins, its current context, its principles and its practices. PDCs provide at least 72 hours of course work. Lead instructors hold design certificates themselves and are proven experienced educators and practitioners of permaculture. PDCs provide a foundational education in ecology, soil science, water management solutions, site analysis and assessment, mapping and perennial food production systems.
Who is permaculture for?
Permaculture is for Earth and for Humanity. In that sense, it is for all of us.
Who takes a PDC?
Permaculture is not just for farmers and gardeners. Many people take PDCs to learn better management practices for a parcel of land that they steward. This could be a 1/4 acre lot, a parkway (strip between road and sidewalk) or a small farm. Maybe it’s your land, or maybe it’s not. Builders take PDCs to learn how to integrate permaculture into home design. Landscapers are often drawn to the possibilities of creating ecosystems. New business owners draw from principles to increase efficiency and resilience. Educators and artists share with the world positive solutions. High schoolers prepare for their future and elders build upon accumulated knowledge and share wisdom.
How will I benefit from a PDC?
By participating in this course you will access a foundational understanding of ecological design. You will look at natural systems in a whole new way and you will be able to apply this new understanding to your own systems of production. Credit for this course is now accepted by a growing number of universities around the world. A PDC gets many new farmers off on the right (bare) foot. For many professionals, a PDC is a further credential in their field. For many lifelong learners, a PDC is the next logical step in developing a deeper understanding about how to inhabit our living planet.
Check out the upcoming Permaculture Design Course offered by Village Roots Permaculture at Orchard Hill Farm in Alstead, NH.
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431