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Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

Eat-Local-NH-logoRGB_20101-300x198August is New Hampshire Eat Local Month — a time to celebrate local food and farms, and recognize how a stronger local food system builds healthier citizens, communities and local economies. Who is cultivating a stronger “Eat Local” movement in the Monadnock Region?  Feast on these featured initiatives:

Start With the Land

Land is the foundation of our food system and Land For Good, based right here in Keene, specializes in connecting farmers with farmland.  Seventy percent of our nation’s farmland is expected to change hands in the next two decades. Without a focused effort, much of that land will go out of farming, and with it, the hopes of a new generation of passionate and savvy farmers.  Land For Good leads such an effort, involving everyone — farmers, families, landowners, community leaders, agencies, service providers, advocacy groups and local citizens — to ensure that farmland stays farmland.

“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 business — and their farm’s legacy,” shares Jim Hafner, Executive Director of Land For Good.

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Local Food as a Path to Improved Community Health

Many of Healthy Monadnock’s programs support a robust local food system, contributing to the ultimate goal of becoming the healthiest community in the nation. One of these programs, Monadnock Menus, managed by Cheshire County Conservation District, aggregates and delivers locally produced food to businesses and local institutions — creating a simpler way to buy local food.

New restaurant buyers include the Hancock Inn, Luca’s Mediterranean Café and Charcoal Charlie’s. The Fall Mountain School District, RiverMead Lifestyle Community, and Cheshire Medical Center purchase local produce for their dining halls, and caterers, such as Free Range Chick, are using Monadnock Menus to source local foods for events.

“Adding locally grown food to the menus in schools, workplace cafeterias and area restaurants makes it easy for people to make healthy choices,” states Linda Rubin, Director of Healthy Monadnock.  “When access is easy, eating healthier is easier. Local farmers also benefit as demand for their products grows.”

Monadnock Menus recently created a Farm to Family Buying Club for Keene Housing Authority residents.  Farm to Family members receiving SNAP benefits are eligible to get up to $10 in Granite State Market Match funds towards their order each week — making local, healthy food more accessible.  “We are only in our fifth week of the buying club and 45 people have registered,” said Amanda Costello, District Manager at the Cheshire County Conservation District.  “Keene Housing is an amazing organization with so much heart!”

Co-op Named Local Food Champion

Monadnock Menus recently named the Monadnock Food Co-op a “Local Food Champion.”  The Co-op, a community-owned full-service grocery store and café in downtown Keene, purchases products from nine local food producers through Monadnock Menus, representing over one third of all program sales. Echo Farm Puddings, from Hinsdale, is among the hottest brands available at the Co-op.

By purchasing these and other local products, Co-op shoppers are supporting Monadnock Menus’ efforts to scale up and deliver fresh, local, affordable food to all the schools in the Monadnock Region.  With the Co-op as an anchor, Monadnock Menus is able to reach twenty-four other buyers and offer products from twenty-eight local food producers.

In addition to its support for Monadnock Menus, the Co-op strengthens our local food system by bringing products from 186 farmers and food producers based within 110 miles of the Co-op all under one roof — open 7 days a week.  The Co-op also offers events, such as farm tours and tastings that help shoppers get to know the farmers behind each product.

“Not only has the Co-op been an excellent outlet for us to sell our products, they have also provided many forms of marketing and advertising for our farm which has helped with our brand recognition,” commented dairy farmer Sarah Costa of Manning Hill Farm in Winchester.  “I have customers telling me all the time, at both our farm store and the farmers’ market, that they purchase our milk at the Co-op.”

To find a local choice at the Co-op, look for the orange tags the next time you shop.

A Coalition of Food System Builders

The Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition (MFCC) gathers its 48 member organizations quarterly to support programs, identify and build new collaborations and share resources in support of its mission to build a sustainable food system in the region.

MFCC will host two community forums this fall.  At the Conversations Around Local, State and Federal Policy forum on September 30th at Stonewall Farm, MFCC will give updates on policy work supportive of agriculture. During the Feast on This! Film Festival on November 9-15 venues throughout the region will feature movies that highlight a diversity of issues and viewpoints related to food and agriculture. These films will spark conversations around what we value about the farms in our region, and actions we can take to support them.

While New Hampshire Eat Local Month comes to close, learn more about all the initiatives strengthening our local food system at yardenofeatin.wordpress.com and mfccoalition.org.  And put next year’s celebration in your calendar now and bookmark nheatlocalmonth.org on your web browser.

The sixth annual Monadnock Buy Local Guide is out and features the Toadstool Bookshops.  This publication lists 163 locally owned enterprises by business type and promotes the positive benefits of supporting locally owned businesses in the Monadnock Region.  Guides can be found at Monadnock Buy Local members’ place of business and online.

“I’m excited for more businesses to join Monadnock Buy Local and feel the thrill of this movement,” shared Willard Williams, Co-Owner of The Toadstool Bookshops.  “Together we can do so much more.”

Studies find that when money is spent locally, up to four times more of that money recirculates through the local economy — generating more jobs, charitable contributions and other community benefits.

Volunteers Needed

The Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST) is looking for volunteers to help with its Rethink Marlboro Street event in Keene on September 19th.  Learn more about Complete Street Demo Days in our region.

Volunteer jobs include:

  • PAINT CREW: Friday 9/18 at 6:00 p.m. – Creating bicycle lanes and crosswalks with removable traffic tape and chalk paint.
  • SETUP CREW: Saturday 9/19 7-11am – Set up education table, pop-up bus stop, bicycle station, planters, benches, etc. (May require lifting.)
  • EVENT CREW: Saturday 9/19 11am-4pm – Gather public input, take pictures, check out green bikes, oversee/supervise design elements.
  • BREAKDOWN CREW: Saturday 9/19 4:00-7pm – Return loaned materials, breakdown of all previously created elements, pick up road tape, cleanup.

If you’d like to sign up for a volunteer shift, please email Mari at mbrunner@swrpc.org.

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From the Keene Music Fest

Hello Keene Downtown Business Owners!

As many of you know, the 2015 Keene Music Festival is coming soon. Scheduled for Saturday, September 5th, this family friendly event, with Art in the Park, is part of of the Labor Day tradition in our town. Our event license as usual, includes sidewalk sale permits for all downtown businesses. Historically, most of the downtown businesses don’t take advantage of this option. If you choose not to, I’d like to suggest an alternative that can end up doing a little good for the community as a whole.

With the movement of the event formerly known as Keene Pumpkin Festival to the north, and the new Monadnock Pumpkin Festival not yet fully established as a regular event in the area, there are a lot of non-profit organizations that are in need of the opportunity to raise awareness about, and support for, what they do and how it benefits the community. To try to be of some assistance in this regard, Keene Music Festival would like to suggest that any downtown businesses who are not intending to use their sidewalk sale option give serious consideration to donating their space to a local non profit during the day of our event.

While we traditionally avoid vendors at our event, we feel there is a great need to support other deserving non profits and organizations to spread the word about what they do, and how the community can support them. It’s everyone’s responsibility to look out for each other, and this is how we feel we can do this in a small way.

If this sounds like a good idea to you, please be in contact with me so we can let other organizations know you’d like to help. If you have an organization in mind that you’d like to support, just let us know. That way we can create a list or map of who’s where to complement our program. Should you have any questions, please feel free to email or call me at kevin@keenemusicfestival.org or 603-481-0515.
Yours in the Music,

Kevin Dremel, Director
Keene Music Festival

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Be sure to enjoy a Local Food & Farm event in the Monadnock Region during NH Eat Local Month!

Originally posted on "Yarden of Eatin" Blog:

Check out NH Eat Local‘s website for some ways to celebrate!

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You know your town best – that’s why Monadnock Buy Local is asking you to help us place this year’s Buy Local Guides in all the right spots.

We need your help identifying and placing Monadnock Buy Local Guides in prime locations – places in your town where community gathers.  Contact us today to volunteer and become a Buy Local Champ!

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Jen Risley:

It’s Farmers’ Market Week! Be sure to visit at least one market this week:

Originally posted on "Yarden of Eatin" Blog:

Harrisville Farmers’ Market:Behind the Harrisville General Store, downtown Harrisville, Fri., June 26– Aug. 28,  5:30-7 p.m. Vegetables, fruits, maple, cut flowers, root beer, honey, plants, eggs, chicken, lamb, pork, beef, sausage, bread, pickles, jams, soaps, lotions, beeswax candles, knit goods, prepared foods. Live music each week. Rain or shine. 827-3245, Facebook Page.

The Farmers’ Market of Keene: Gilbo Ave., downtown, Tues. & Sat., May-Oct., 9 a.m.– 1 p.m. Vegetables, fruits, flowers/plants, dairy, baked goods, meat. Music and children’s activities. SNAP/EBT accepted. Rain or shine. .keenefarmersmarket@gmail.com, www.facebook.com/keenefarmers.

Fresh Chicks Outdoor Marketplace: Monadnock Community Hospital grounds, Peterborough, Mon., May – Oct., 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Vegetables, fruits, flowers/plants, dairy, maple, baked goods, meat, lobster, honey, goat cheese, alpine cheese, ice cream, Thai food, crafts. Weekly music. Rain or shine. 924-1913,roseofsharon@localnet.com; Facebook Page.

Peterborough Farmers Market: Depot Square. Wed., May – Oct., 3-6pm. Vegetables…

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