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Archive for the ‘Buying Local Adventures’ Category

You know how it goes — attend a conference, feel super-charged and ready to move forward on a bunch of inspiring ideas…only to return home and be swept up in the day-to-day realities of life.

Well, I’m stepping up my commitment and making the list of my Post-AMIBA Conference to-dos public!  Next time you see me, ask me how I’m doing on my list {gulp!}.

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Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News

Each year, over 100 independent businesses — retailers, farmers, artists, chefs, service providers, nonprofit leaders and more — join Monadnock Buy Local. Why do they join? Most join to encourage their customers and clients to “think local first” (and make locally owned businesses their first choice to help our local economy grow) – but many also join to find ways to source more of their own business needs locally.  Monadnock Buy Local members want to buy local too!

We asked our members to share what they currently source from other locally owned businesses and the barriers to buying local. To give you a taste of their responses, here are answers from the owners of Ted’s Shoe and Sports, MB Massage Studio and Facilitated Change:

“We purchase all of our shopping bags, gift boxes, and wrapping supplies from W.G Ellerkamp,” said Ted McGreer of Ted’s Shoe and Sports in Keene. “We purchase our office supplies from Curry Copy Center, cleaning supplies from KIPCO (Keene Industrial Paper Company), labels from Electronic Imaging, store fixtures from Counter-Tech, computers from Computer Solutions, light bulbs at CED and Green Energy Options and we purchase our lunch at locally owned businesses.”

Ted continues, “I make the choice to purchase our products locally because it instills a culture among our employees that hopefully trickles down into their future purchasing decisions.  I also do it because it’s simply the right thing to do.  Live here, work here, shop here, play here! Barriers may certainly include paying more, but every local business I know understands that they need to be competitive, and often…. shopping locally saves money!”

“As I look through the list of expenses this past year it looks like at good 80% plus were expenses shopped locally,” shared Missy Blanchard of MB Massage Studio in Keene.  “Examples include: massage oil from Badger Balm and The Monadnock Food Co-op, printing from Silver Direct and The Keene Sentinel, client treats from Life is Sweet, Ye Goodie Shoppe and local individuals, professional photography from Kimberly Peck, events and advertising that supported local initiatives like Pathways for Keene, Monadnock Buy Local, Comfort Keepers, The Westmoreland Lions Club and then countless business meetings at local restaurants and coffee shops. Now that I look at these stats, I feel pretty happy about where my money has landed — but there is room for improvement.”

“I purchase my advertising locally,” states Lisa Sieverts of Facilitated Change in Harrisville. “First, by sponsoring the Pathways for Keene Four on the Fourth race, and second by advertising in the Monadnock Small Business Journal. I try to purchase office supplies at Steele’s in Peterborough whenever I can. When I hold a local event, I work with a local caterer, especially Luca’s.”

How can Monadnock Buy Local’s help more businesses think local first when it comes to buying services, supplies and the products they carry? We plan to create a comprehensive list of all the locally owned businesses our members currently purchasing from. We will then add those businesses to our online directory and promote a new category called “Biz 2 Biz” available to everyone at http://monadnockbuylocal.wildapricot.org/Directory. Once the gaps in products and services are identified, our hope is that current businesses decide to expand their offerings to meet those needs or entrepreneurs step in and create new businesses to fill the gaps.

In addition to helping individual businesses source more from locally owned businesses, we could also develop a group-purchasing program for our members. By pooling our purchases, we can create more buying power and gain discounts from vendors. Local First Arizona, a statewide group like Monadnock Buy Local, has a partnership with an office-supply company that provides a 10 percent discount to its members.

Another example of a group-purchasing program is from the Boulder Independent Business Alliance. They coordinated a recycled paper coffee cup purchasing program for their member cafes. A graphic designer, also a member of the alliance, made a design for the cup that incorporated all the names and locations of the member cafes opting into the program along with a strong educational message. Another member stored the cups and delivered only the quantities each cafe needed.  The cups saved cafes money — and spread the think local first message!

Since cost can be an issue, why not promote a way for business owners to source supplies and services in exchange for their time and talents? The Monadnock Time Exchange (MTX) is an emerging network that helps individuals match unmet needs with untapped resources. For every hour one member does something needed by another member of the time exchange, they “earn” a time credit that they can “spend” to receive a wide variety of free services offered by other talented neighbors, community members, and participating organizations active in the time exchange. MTX hopes to develop a network that also works for businesses, as well as individuals. Learn more at http://monadnocktimeexchange.com.

In a future article we’ll look beyond how we can help our members think local first and instead focus on ways to inspire municipalities and institutions to do the same.

Don’t forget! Locally owned businesses & nonprofits are invited to join Monadnock Buy Local by May 15th to be listed in the regional paper-based 2014-2015 Monadnock Buy Local Guide.  Learn more at http://monadnocklocal.org/join-us.

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View our 2013 Annual Report1 - Annual Report 2013 Final_Page_1

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By Farmer Kim, Oxbow Farm

I know, I know, the title of this post sounds a little strange coming from me and everything that I stand for here at Oxbow Farm, but alas, everything has it’s pitfalls and nothing and no one is perfect — not even this farmer.

Now I am not saying that the problem is big, it is rather small actually and can be fixed, I believe, over time.

strawberries blown upThe problem is supply.

When it comes to finding fresh local fruit and vegetables it can be really difficult. For example you can’t find juicy strawberries in November or crisp apples in February.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are farmers out there who have mastered the art of food storage and growing fresh salad greens in greenhouses so there are *some* to be found, but there is just not enough to meet the demand.

chickens in snowI am guilty of not having enough product at times too. Some weeks my eggs that are sold at two retail locations sell out so quickly I have to deliver again that same week. It is my responsibility to provide my product. Sometimes, however I don’t have the supply to meet the demand. In the winter, the chickens are using up all of their energy to keep warm and so they have less energy to produce eggs.

When it comes to fresh local meat, family farmers can only raise, and process a certain number of animals each season or each year. Sometimes the meat in the store freezer is gone before another animal can go to be processed. On a side note, I can only imagine that the availability of processing times will decrease during the upcoming summer months due to the fact that one of our local slaughtering houses tragically burned down right around the New Year.

Personally, if I could somehow organically create a new breed of pig that consisted of only bacon and ham, I would be a millionaire. There is only so much of these that can be taken from a pig but they are the most sought after items when selling my pigs by the cut. Unfortunately, when the product is gone, someone gets left out, having to wait until we have more to sell.

So, it really pays to do your homework and find out just which farmers carry which products. Monadnock Buy Local has a great directory to help find local farms and products and it is a great place to get contact info and phone numbers. Don’t be shy to call a farm and see if they have the products that you are looking for. We had people call us this fall asking if we were raising turkeys for Thanksgiving. We were not, but we gladly directed them to other local farms who were. I would rather see that a customer receive the product they were looking for, then be extremely competitive with surrounding farms. More importantly, that customer is shopping locally and that is the whole point to begin with.

This past summer we were at the local Farmer's Market selling our eggs, pork and famous cinnamon baked donuts. Existing farmers need to take notice of what is in demand and adjust their farm’s products to meet that demand (without sacrificing their own goals for the farm). Farmers have to step up to the plate and honor the agreements that they make with retailers for their products as well. There are lots of new farmers starting their own agribusinesses and they will fill voids where necessary and that can only improve the quantity of local food.

Oxbow Farm is a small, family-operated farm, located in the shadow of Mt. Monadnock in Dublin, NH.

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STAY TUNED FOR 2014 CIDER MONTH DETAILS

The Toadstool Bookshops hope you will join them in celebrating a new tradition:
CIDER MONDAY on DECEMBER 2, 2013

mulled-cider_194

Heard enough about Cyber Monday? – that Monday after Thanksgiving when everyone is said to start their online Christmas shopping and the news is filled with reports of how many billions were spent at websites, and no doubt, resulting in another giant jump in sales. Well enough of that!

Shift Your Shopping and join the Toadstool Bookshops for Cider Monday! Cider… made from squished micro soft apple products. Delicious! Stop in for a free cup, maybe a snack, see some real people and have a good time checking out what’s in our stores. It’s sure to be a heartwarming experience.  We can promise no crashing websites, our “servers” won’t be overloaded and we bet they will even smile at you!

Cider Monday – soon to overshadow Cyber Monday as THE shopping event of the year. You read it here. If you have a store we hope you too will celebrate Cider Monday (here’s a Cider Monday poster you can print and hang up). If not, do stop in, and thanks for shopping locally.

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Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News (MBL Media Sponsor)

Mayor Kendall Lane proclaims July 1 – 7 Independents Week for the City of Keene.  What does that mean to you? As you celebrate America’s independence, take time to recognize and celebrate the independent and locally owned businesses throughout our region.  Recognize their spirit of entrepreneurism, individuality, uniqueness, and character, the ways they give back to community with their time, talent, goods and services and how their offerings fulfill our community’s needs.

Let’s also celebrate the independence of all of us: our ability to think and act independently and embrace our part in shaping the future of the Monadnock Region.  “Changing the way our economy operates starts with a single person,” states Michelle Long from the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.  “It starts with you.”

Here’s one way to celebrate and flex your independence: Take the Indie Challenge! From July 1-7, try fulfilling all of your needs at locally owned and independent businesses.  Sign on to the Indie Challenge at monadnocklocal.org/indie-challenge.  Be sure to keep us posted on how it’s going – email us at monadnockbuylocal@gmail.com.  If you get stumped, use our 1,919 Facebook Fans (and your friends and neighbors) to help you brainstorm possibilities at Facebook.com/MonadnockBuyLocal.

While you’re waiting for this year’s Monadnock Buy Local Guide, use our online Buy Local Directory to succeed in the Indie Challenge. Search by business type, town or keywords to sort through close to 200 independent enterprises at monadnockbuylocal.wildapricot.org/Directory.

Some great events and offerings are also happening during Independents Week.  Kids, ages 6-12, can create their own handmade storybooks or learn cartooning at Summer Art Camp at the Peterborough Art Academy, July 1 – 5.  See the entire Summer Art Camp schedule at peterboroughartacademy.com.

An event for all ages is the twelfth annual 4 on the 4th Road Race in Keene on July 4th. Walk or run your way to the finish line while supporting a great non-profit, Pathways for Keene.  Register at http://www.tlaorg.org/pathways.

On July 7, Walpole Valley Farms will host a farm tour. Meet farmers Chris & Caitlin Caserta and their animals, and discover how this amazing pasture-based farm works. Enjoy a free bowl of Walpole Creamery ice cream at the end of tour.  Learn more at http://www.walpolevalleyfarms.com/events.

Another way to be an “Indie” and support your favorite independent businesses year-round is to become a citizen member of Monadnock Buy Local.  For $25, you’ll help us meet our mission and receive an “I Support Monadnock Buy Local” sticker to display proudly.  Become a Citizen Member at http://monadnocklocal.org/join-us or mail your check to MBL, 25 Roxbury Street – Suite B, Keene NH 03431.

“Independents Week is a time to reflect on the importance of economic democracy and community self-determination by celebrating the nation’s locally owned independent businesses and the stake each citizen has in shaping their hometown’s future,” said Jennifer Rockne, from the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA).

Let’s celebrate our independence and independents together!

Monadnock Buy Local is a proud member of AMIBA, the organization behind Independents Week.  AMIBA is part of a growing national movement of communities rallying to support their independent businesses, take control of their local economies, and reverse the trend of chains and big boxes displacing locally-owned businesses: http://www.amiba.net.

Monadnock Buy Local is a network of locally-owned and independent businesses and organizations working together to encourage more people to “think local first” to help our communities & local economy grow: www.monadnocklocal.org.

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cashmob_jaffreyNH-1Monadnock Cash Mobs
Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 , 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
At MindFull Books & Ephemera and Coll’s Farmstand, Jaffrey, NH

 What Are Cash Mobs? (From Cash Mob Website)
The concept is simple: with $10 – 20 in hand, members of a community come together to shop at a locally owned establishment to support a specific local business and the area’s economy. Learn more at http://www.cashmob.com/

From PRI: ‘Cash Mobs’ Profit Locally Owned Stores
A new phenomenon, called “Cash Mobs,” is spreading across the country, changing the way people view local businesses. Similar to flash mobs, Cash Mobs organize customers to spend money at struggling locally owned businesses to support their community.

We chose one of our cash mob locations for bittersweet reason.  We’re saying goodbye to MindFull Books & Ephemera, a much loved business in downtown Jaffrey. We want to send owners John Sepe and Martha Dawson off with a wave of community support, helping them transition to whatever is next for this amazing community-minded duo!

From John & Martha of MindFull Books & Ephemera:
With great regret and sorrow Martha and I must inform all of our dear friends in the community of the closing of MindFull Books & Ephemera and The Listening Room in Jaffrey at the end of this year with our New Year’s Day Psychic Faire. This also means that we will be moving out of our apartment above the shop as well.

As we all know, these are very challenging economic times, and despite all that we have done to continue to grow (We’ve been having our best year since we opened!) the difficult times over the past four years have caught up with us. We now need help to move on. It is our desire to stay in Jaffrey or Monadnock Region and continue to hold our over 200 music, metaphysical, and other events in a new location(s).

Second Cash Mob location announced Friday Morning!

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