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Monadnock Buy Local, an alliance of 135 locally owned and independent businesses in Southwestern New Hampshire, announced the formation of its first-ever Board of Directors.

“Entering our fifth year, we decided it was time to formalize our organization — to become a stronger advocate for independent businesses, our community and our local economy,” said Jen Risley, Board Member of Monadnock Buy Local.  “This movement, both nationally and regionally, is strengthening and it was time for Monadnock Buy Local to do the same.”

Monadnock Buy Local’s Board of Directors includes:

Rebecca Bullock
Rebeckah Bullock is the Community Development Specialist at Southwest Regional Planning.  She works on a range of assignments from local planning assistance to resource protection, emergency management planning, and community and economic development. Rebeckah also provides grant administration for Community Development Block Grants.

Rich Grogan
Rich Grogan is the Regional Manager of the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center. Prior to joining the SBDC, Rich was a professor in the MBA in Sustainability program at Antioch University New England. Rich holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Wake Forest University, an MPA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a PhD in Organizational Sustainability from Michigan State University.

Katy Locke
Katy Locke is co-founder and Board President of the Transition Keene Advocates (TKA), a 501(c)3 organization focused on improving the resilience of our community. Katy also serves as the Chair of a TKA subcommittee to launch a local Time Exchange. When not volunteering her time, she works as office manager for Deep Roots Massage in downtown Keene.

Zack Luse
Zach Luse is the founder of Paragon Digital Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency serving businesses and nonprofits nationwide. Zach is a firm believer that doing good is good for business. He also serves on the Board of Advisors for Stay Work Play New Hampshire working to keep young professionals in New Hampshire. When he isn’t attached to a computer he might be found at the helm of a sailboat, scuba diving, mountain biking or trying to keep up with his two little boys.

Jen Risley
Jen Risley is one of the founders of Monadnock Buy Local, serving on the Steering Committee since 2009.  She is Membership & Marketing Manager of the Monadnock Food Co-op and also serves on the City of Keene Cities for Climate Protection Committee and the Southwest Region Planning Commission’s Economic Development Advisory Committee.  She is a graduate of Antioch University New England.

Mitchell Shakour
Mitchell Shakour was born and raised in Keene, and returned to the region in the late 1970s after earning degrees in communications at Syracuse University. He owns and manages The Monadnock Shopper News, a business founded by his father. He has also owned and operated the Northfield Drive-In in Winchester, NH since 1979. He is married and has two children.

Willard Williams
Willard Williams grew up in Peterborough and now lives in Greenfield. He and other family members started The Toadstool Bookshop on Main Street in Peterborough in 1972. He has continued to sell books in the store ever since.  Willard has served on the Monadnock Buy Local Steering Committee since 2010.

Each Tuesday in February, the Waterhouse Restaurant is giving The Glass Museum (creators and curators of The Thing in the Spring) 10% of what comes in.  So come on down for dinner and drinks  — and know that your support will help keep Peterborough interesting!

The first Tuesday (2/4), we’ll be kicking things off with a Trivia Night, with a chances to win great prizes with 3 different sets of trivia questions.  The easy ones are at 7pm, medium at 8, and the tough questions will be at 9.  You can win Waterhouse gift certificates, weekend passes, t-shirts, posters, and wine.

The Waterhouse is located at 18 Depot St in Peterborough NH.  Call 603-924-4001 for reservations.

The Thing is June 5th through June 8th, but this is a great way to start thinking about the warmer weather, and the wild happenings that will be hitting Peterborough come June.

Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News

An Ecology Center hosting biodynamic gardening and farming seminars; a donation of 100 American Liberty elm trees to the City of Keene; a drop-off site for local CSA Farms; a 105-acre organically managed pasture-based farm – these are all offerings from past Monadnock Green Business of the Year Award Winners: W.S. Badger, Filtrine Manufacturing, The Works Bakery Café and the Inn at Valley Farms.  We’re excited to add another Monadnock Region for-profit business to the list of awardees in 2014.

Now in it’s fifth year, the Monadnock Green Business of the Year Award recognizes businesses with strong social and environmental practices.  Nominations are accepted through March 3, 2014.  View an application and more details.

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Read how we score nominees with the criteria below, along with examples of programs, practices and policies from past winners:

Energy & Water Use: How has the business reduced its energy and water use, and switched to more renewable sources of energy?

Filtrine cut its energy use by 25% by switching to more energy efficient lighting, adding roof insulation and installing a solar hot water system.

Waste Reduction: How does the business decrease the amount of waste going to the landfill or incinerator?

The Works Bakery Café composts what it can, sending food scraps to Tracie’s Community Farm in Fitzwilliam during the growing season.  They use extensive signage to encourage customers to drop their bottles and paper in the correct recycling receptacle.

Workplace Culture: Is the business a great place to work?

W.S. Badger earned the “Best Small Company to Work for in New Hampshire” award from Business NH Magazine and Badger’s employees.  Employees enjoy profit sharing, paid volunteer time, onsite yoga and free daily organic lunches made right at Badger.  Another new employee benefit is a childcare center for Badger’s kids.

Education & Outreach: How does the business raise awareness of its efforts, and encourage others to do the same?

The Inn at Valley Farms educates its guests and the community about sustainable farming methods through agritourism events, tours, and an interpretive center developed with Antioch New England Graduate School students. Summers include “Food and Thought” Potlucks with a local food discussion hosted on the grounds of Walpole Valley Farms.

Community Support: How does the business support the larger community?

Filtrine donates regularly to the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock and the Elm Research Institute in Keene.  The company donated 100 American Liberty Elm trees to the City of Keene, plus funds to another 100 towns nationwide, allowing them to plant their own elm trees.

Transportation: How does the business reduce staff and customer travel?

The Works Bakery Café has seven locations, all intentionally sited downtown — making it easier for people to walk, bike or use public transportation from work to The Works to enjoy a coffee break or terrific lunch.

Product/Service Provided: Does what the business offer provide an environmental benefit?

W.S. Badger’s products are certified organic personal care products.  The production of these products supports sustainable agriculture, which in turn protects the integrity of the farm’s soil and entire ecosystem.

Purchasing: Does the business purchase environmentally and socially responsible products?

The Inn at Valley Farm serves locally grown food whenever possible (what they don’t grow themselves, they buy from neighbors), and uses green cleaning products and recycled content paper products.  They’ve purchased energy efficient appliances and lighting — and even their towels are made from organic cotton.

The examples above are just a tiny sampling of why each business deserved to receive the Monadnock Green Business of the Year Award.  A big thank you to these businesses for going above and beyond, and modeling the change we like to see in our region.

This year’s winner will be announced at the Monadnock Earth Day Festival on April 26, 2014. Stay tuned for more details about this daylong festival organized by Antioch University New England.

The Monadnock Green Business of the Year Program is a partnership with the Keene Cities for Climate Protection, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Hannah Grimes Center, Monadnock Buy Local and Monadnock Sustainability Network.

Learn more about this award at Keene Green Drinks on Tuesday, February 4, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott in Keene, hosted by the Monadnock Sustainability Network.

Honoring businesses that place a value on their environmental and social impacts is just one way to encourage more businesses to adopt these practices.  Another way is for you to support these businesses through your purchases — and we’re proud to say that all past winners are locally owned and independent, so by choosing these businesses, you’ll give even extra support to our environment, community and local economy too.

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.

View Monadnock Buy Local’s
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It’s challenging to know how a business really does business: How do they treat their employees?  Do they try to reduce their impacts on the environment? Are they striving to contribute more to their community?  A certification process called B Corp makes answers to these questions more transparent. “[It’s] like the Fair Trade label but for a whole company, not just a bag of coffee,” says Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab Co-Founder, the nonprofit that certifies B Corps businesses.

There are currently 910 Certified B Corps (the B is short for Benefit) from 24 countries — and we’re lucky to have one in our own neck of the woods: W.S. Badger Company, Inc. in Gilsum, a locally owned company that makes healing balms, lip balms, sunscreens and other personal care products.  Since 2011, Badger is “measuring what matters” as a Certified B Corp.  Sure, Badger is measuring profits — but to them, money is the fuel, not the end goal.

According to Rebecca Hamilton, Badger’s Director of Product Development, they had many motivations for pursuing B Corp certification.  Badger’s products are already certified organic and fair trade, but they wanted a more holistic way to measure how well they do business.  B Corp certification helps Badger benchmark their progress towards sustainability, showing them clear and real opportunities for positive growth and better ways to do business.

Another part of Badger’s motivation to become certified was to ensure the company continued to “do good” while experiencing growth — even if leadership suddenly changed.  “As a small company, we knew at our core what was right; but little structure was in place to document these as policies,” shares Rebecca.  “We wanted to build these practices into the DNA of the company.”

Mary Cabot, CEO of another B Corps, Dansko Footwear, sums it up nicely with this quote: “Just like you want your child to grow up healthy and outlive you as a parent, we want our company to as well. B Corps help us have faith that this can happen.”

View how Badger ranks as a B Corp at www.bcorporation.net/badger.

So, what about you?  Let’s say you’re not a business owner – how can you support B Corps and encourage others to explore this different way of doing business?  Tell your boss about B Corp Certification.  Any business can fill out the B Impact Assessment online for free and see how they rank. More than 15,000 businesses use the B Impact Assessment to benchmark their performance and help them set goals for continuous improvement.

To become a Certified B Corp a business must earn at least 80 out of 200 points in the B Impact Assessment and pay a certification fee.  It took Badger about one hour to fill out the assessment and then the fact checking process took a couple of days.  The certified company receives a full report with recommendations from B Lab.  Certification must be renewed annually, and standards are stringent and continually revised to make sure companies are really “doing good.”

Another way to support B Corps is to ask your favorite locally owned businesses to carry B Corps Certified products.  Browse companies on the B Corp website (www.bcorporation.net) and share your favorites – perhaps King Arthur Flour or Seventh Generation?  You can also help by taking a look at what office products your workplace uses and encouraging your company to switch to products from Certified B Corps.

And finally, one of the ultimate ways to help is to advocate for the state of New Hampshire to recognize a new type of business – the Benefit Corporation.  While B Corps is a certification offered by the nonprofit B Lab, a Benefit Corporation is a legal status run by the state.  Benefit corporation laws are already enacted in 15 states, while others are pursuing legislation. Badger is working with Senator Molly Kelly on NH Legislation, Senate Bill 215.  As of this writing, the bill was introduced on December 11, 2013 and referred to the Commerce Committee on January 8, 2014.  We will keep you posted on their progress and how you can support this bill.

king arthurYour support of Certified B Corps and B Corporation legislation helps companies grow and become more successful by doing good, encouraging other companies to follow their lead.

Thanks for another great year!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,200 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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