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Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

A few weeks ago, after making a purchase at an independent business in Keene, I noticed something different about the change I received. A one-dollar bill was marked “Build Our Community – Spend Me Locally!” Excellent advice, President Washington!

Imagine more and more of us seeing this message over and over again as we make our daily purchases.  A simple reminder that who you hand this bill off to next determines how long it recirculates in our community — building jobs, increasing charitable giving and bettering our quality of life.

I first learned about this money-stamping project at the American Independent Business Alliance’s (AMIBA) Conference this past May in Minneapolis, a national gathering of organizations like Monadnock Buy Local.  AMIBA shares on their website, “Almost every day, most of us exchange pieces of paper with other people to buy or sell products or services. So what better place to insert messages about the importance of doing business locally at a cost of nearly zero per impression?”

After the conference, our own Board of Directors discussed starting this project in the Monadnock Region — but the project is already here! Now it’s our job to amplify this project’s reach.  We’re planning events during this year’s Shift Your Shopping season and Plaid Friday event to build awareness and increase the number of stamped bills circulating through our region.  Have an idea? Share it with monadnockbuylocal@gmail.com.

Now you may be thinking, is this legal? Money stamping is legal.  What is illegal is to intentionally destroy a bill, but that’s definitely not the intention of this project.  We want our stamped bills to stay in circulation, so we’ll keep the stamp from covering the serial numbers and seals on the front of these bills.

You don’t have to wait for Monadnock Buy Local to start stamping your bills — you can order your stamp directly from AMIBA.  MBL Members can request a free stamp from AMIBA.

This money-stamping project can also be a tool to remind more of us to choose cash over credit cards when making purchases at locally owned businesses.  When you use your credit card, local merchants pay fees to banks usually in far away places.   Using cash means independent businesses make more from each transaction, at no extra cost to you.

“For independent businesses, credit card fees can rival or even exceed their profits,” said Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Kathy Miller, fifth-generation owner of a general store in Elmore, Vermont, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that, on a $10 gasoline sale, she makes 49 cents in profit and pays 47 cents in credit card fees.”

Stamped or not, how long does a bill recirculate in our local economy?  That’s a question Monadnock Buy Local is working on answering right now through our Indie Impact Study with Civic Economics, an organization that conducts studies measuring the “local multiplier effect” in communities.  These studies found that independents return between 44 to 71 cents of every dollar in revenues back to their local economy.  Our study will provide baseline data on how money recirculates through our local economy when spent at independent businesses compared to national chains.  Also, this data will help guide future policy work in our region and measure the success of our efforts.  Learn more about Indie Impact Studies.

“Other studies across the country, from Austin to San Francisco to Chicago have been very helpful to all of us in our efforts to further the local movement,” said Betsy Burton, co-chair of Local First Utah. “But having the actual figures from our home city is compelling to the public and to local government officials in a whole different way.”

So look down when you receive your change.  Look to see if a reminder to buy local is there.  Even if you’re handed bills without a stamp, just by looking you’ll be thinking local first and reminding yourself to spend more of your dollars at independent businesses.

This Saturday, August 23 at 11am at the Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough Rosaly Bass will sign and discuss her book ORGANIC! A GARDENER’S HANDBOOK filled with practical advice gathered from over 40 years of raising vegetables and flowers at Rosaly’s Garden in Peterborough. Rosaly’s Garden sprouted from a few seeds planted in 1973. It’s grown to be New Hampshire’s oldest and largest organic farm. In Organic! Rosaly Bass shares practical advice for gardeners and farmers who want to grow organic. Learn best practices, from planting and watering to pest control. Learn how to grow vegetables, berries, herbs and flowers exactly the way Rosaly grows them. Plus, harvesting and storage tips and even a few recipes.

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

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

Farmers’ Market of Keene adds a New Market Day
There are now three opportunities each week to shop at the Farmers’ Market of Keene.  A new Thursday Market time was recently added, from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Colony Mill Marketplace parking lot along Island Street.  The Tuesday & Saturday Market days are still at their usual time and place, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Gilbo Avenue.  In addition to August being NH Eat Local Month, the first week of August is also National Farmers Market Week. To celebrate both events, why not visit a farmers’ market each day of the week from August 3 – 9? Check out Monadnock Table Magazine’s farmers’ markets list to help you meet this challenge.

Cornucopia Project Plans a Community Garden
The Cornucopia Project plans to grow more local food for the community — with the community — by creating a community garden at the Peterborough Community Center.  The garden will feature a spiraling path inviting visitors to stroll past the edible berry plants, herb garden, flowerbeds, greenhouse and mini-amphitheater.  All the produce raised by Cornucopia staff and volunteers will go right to the Peterborough Food Pantry and Senior Lunch Program, also housed at the Peterborough Community Center — making the distance between garden to plate incredibly short.  Once complete, the Peterborough Recreation Department will offer gardening classes. A fundraising campaign is also underway to renovate the center’s existing kitchen into a full commercial kitchen — which means cooking classes are also in order. Learn more about the Cornucopia Project.

Gleaning Coordinators Help Bring More Local Food to All
Last year, the New Hampshire Farm to School Program launched NH Gleans to support six gleaning coordinators throughout our state.  Gleaning means harvesting the surplus produce from farms and gardens and directing it to local pantries, shelters and soup kitchens.  We’re incredibly fortunate to have two gleaning programs in the Monadnock Region, one hosted by the Community Kitchen of Keene and another with the Hillsborough County Conservation District. Last year, the Community Kitchen gleaned over 16,000 pounds of produce last year.   Learn more about gleaning on August 20, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm at the Monadnock Food Co-op.  Sarah Harpster from the Community Kitchen of Keene’s Gleaning Program will share information about gleaning and how it fights hunger, supports local farmers and reduces waste.  She’ll also share how you can get more involved in this effort.  Discover more about NH Gleans.

Monadnock Food Co-op Brings More Local Food Choices to Shoppers
Now over a year old, the Monadnock Food Co-op offers the region’s largest selection of local and sustainably grown products together under one roof — making it easier for you to make a choice that supports our local food system. Currently, the Co-op carries products from 177 farmers and local food producers who grow and make their products within 100 miles of the Co-op.  This August, the Co-op will serve up a full plate of events, focusing on local food and farms, to celebrate NH Eat Local Month.  Learn more about the Monadnock Food Co-op.

Monadnock Region Permaculture Group Launched
The Monadnock Region Permaculture Group, sponsored by The Sustainability Project, offers events and an online forum for permaculture enthusiasts to connect and learn together. Permaculture uses ecological principles to design and regenerate healthy, productive landscapes and communities. The group’s offerings include films and educational speakers, permaculture farm & garden tours, discussion and book study groups, hands on experiences, community garden building, energy conscious living, seed and plant swaps and social events.  Learn more at this Meet Up Group.

Finding a Local Farm to Visit Gets Easier
The Cheshire County Conservation District compiled a list of farms in Cheshire County and identified which farms are open to visitors.  See their map and guide to local farms.

Now to celebrate NH Eat Local Month — pull out your calendar and go to Yarden of Eatin.  This online calendar highlights many Monadnock Region events for August including a farm tour, farm dinners, local food BBQs, canning workshops and more. Looking for local food and farm events throughout New Hampshire?  Check out the calendar at NH Farms Network and NH Eat Local Month.

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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On June 19, 2014 Keene Mayor Kendall Lane proclaimed July 1 – July 7 Independents Week:

“I salute our community members and locally owned independent businesses who are integral to the unique flavor of Keene and honor their efforts to make Keene the place we want to live and work.”

Independents Week

Independents Week PROCLAMATION

Whereas, Independents Week provides a time to celebrate the independence of the members of the community of Keene and the entrepreneurial spirit represented by our core of local independent businesses; and

Whereas, the individual decisions every community member makes today affect the future of Keene; and

Whereas, Keene’s local independent businesses help preserve the uniqueness of the community and give us a sense of place; and

Whereas, Keene’s core of independently owned businesses give back to this community in goods, services, time and talent; and

Whereas, the health of Keene economy depends on our support of businesses owned by our friends and neighbors; and

Whereas, Keene’s independent business owners and employees enrich community members’ shopping experiences with their knowledge & passion;

Therefore, as we celebrate Independents Week 2014, we acknowledge that the ability to choose the direction of Keene lies within each of us.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kendall Lane, Mayor of the city of Keene, do hereby proclaim the week of July 1-7 2014, as: “Independents Week” and salute our community members and locally owned independent businesses who are integral to the unique flavor of Keene and honor their efforts to make Keene the place we want to live and work.

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

Thirty-eight dedicated Monadnock Region citizens have accepted the 2014 Indie Challenge.  Their mission: To fulfill all of their needs at locally owned and independent businesses during Independents Week, July 1 – 7, 2014.  Are you up for the Indie Challenge?  Read on to learn more.

While Independence Day is a time to celebrate our freedom, Independents Week is a time to reflect on our inter-connectedness.  Monadnock Buy Local and other local business alliances throughout the nation are celebrating the positive impacts independent and locally owned businesses have on our communities.

We ask you to take some time next week to acknowledge each independent business owner’s spirit of entrepreneurism, individuality and character; the way they give back to our community with their time, talent, goods and services; and how their offerings fulfill your needs.  Show your appreciation and thank a locally owned business owner during Independents Week.

Indie Challenge ButtonTaking the Indie Challenge, by making all your purchases at independents, is a great way to celebrate Independents Week. Sign on to the Indie Challenge today at monadnocklocal.org/indie-challenge or on Facebook.  We hope you’ll keep us posted on how it’s going.

If you get stumped, use our 2,414 Facebook Fans (and your friends and neighbors) to help you brainstorm possibilities at facebook.com/monadnockbuylocal.  Another great resource for finding independent businesses is our online directory, listing 258 locally owned businesses in the Monadnock Region.  You can search by business type, town or keywords to find what you’re looking for at monadnockbuylocal.wildapricot.org/Directory.

The Keene Downtown Group plans to celebrate Independents Week with us.  Stay tuned for how businesses on Main Street in Keene are marking the week!

Traveling during Independents Week?  Enjoy what locally owned businesses have to offer wherever you’re at.  Ask locals who their favorites are and look for networks like Monadnock Buy Local in the areas you’re visiting at amiba.net/about_ibas/find-iba and bealocalist.org/node/16/mid/36733.

Another fun way to celebrate Independents Week is to participate in local events sponsored by our locally owned businesses and the community.  Here are some ideas for each day of Independents Week:

Start off Independents Week at Orchard Hill Breadworks Pizza Night in Alstead on Tuesday July 1, 5 – 7 p.m.  You bring your own pizza toppings, drinks, picnic blanket, dinnerware and $7 per crust. Orchard Hill Breadworks provides the pizza crusts, cheese, and sauce and will cook your pizza in their new outdoor oven.  All profits for this night’s Pizza Night go to the South Acworth Village Store.  Call 603-835-7845 for more information.

On Wednesday, July 2 the Rindge Chamber of Commerce hosts their annual Family Festival and Fireworks at the common starting at 5 p.m. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. Visit rindgechamber.org for more details.

The fireworks continue on Thursday, July 3.  The Keene Swamp Bats offer fireworks at their game against North Adams at the Alumni Field in Keene. The game starts at 6:30 pm and the fireworks show follows: swampbats.com.

****IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM KEENE SWAMP BATS****

Due to the rain storm predicted to hit on Thursday night we are postponing the baseball game (will announce make up date later). The fireworks will be MOVED to Saturday night following our game against the Valley Blue Sox. All activities originally planned for Thursday night will now be held Saturday night.

A popular annual event for all ages is the 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 tlaorg.org/pathways.  After a strenuous morning, relax under the stars at the Northfield Drive-In for a double feature movie.  See more at northfielddrivein.com.

On Saturday, July 5 at 10 a.m., Walpole Valley Farms invite you to a tour of their farm.  Discover how this amazing pasture-based farm works (Cost: $5; kids under 12 are free).  Learn more at walpolevalleyfarms.com/events.

The evening of July 5 comes alive with music.  Keene Music Festival’s Sumner Knight Series brings Ljova and The Kontraband to the chapel at the Woodland Cemetery from 7 to 9 p.m.  The suggested donation is $10 with all profits going towards the renovation of the Chapel. You can get a discount by bringing a canned good to donate to the local food pantry ($1 per can for up to three cans).   More at facebook.com/KeeneMusicFestival.  The Fitzwilliam Inn hosts Northern Stone from 8:30 to 11 p.m. ($5 cover) and starting at 9:30 p.m. at Harlow’s Pub in Peterborough the Ghost Dinner Band performs ($8 cover).  Check out monadnotes.com for more music events.

On Sunday, July 6 from 2 to 4 p.m., there’s an Ice Cream Social at the Sheridan House Museum in Ashuelot – a kick-off event for their 150th Anniversary of Covered Bridge #1.  Learn more at winchesternhhistoricalsociety.org.

Round out Independents Week with a round of dancing at the Monday Night Contra Dance on Monday, July 6, 8 p.m. to midnight at Heberton Hall in Keene (Cost is $3).  Visit monadnockfolk.org for more details.

“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!

Independents-Week-2014-Poster

Ice Cream Social Fundraiser

June 21, Noon3:00 pm at Monadnock Food Co-op

Come enjoy Walpole Creamery ice cream, toppings and music from The LaClaires while supporting a great community local food initiative: Monadnock Localvores.

$5 for adults and $3 for kids.

We’ll provide a non-dairy option too.  Please help us spread the word on Facebook! (And thank you!!)

Toppings Bar:

- Maple Syrup from Bascom Family Farms

- Raspberry Sauce from Cheshire Garden

- Trail Mix from GrandyOats

- Fudge from Holland Homestead Farm

- Strawberry Sauce from Mayfair Farm

- Toffee from Nicole’s Cookies (gluten-free)

- Peanut Butter Sauce from The Saxy Chef

- Cookie Dough from Tomina’s (gluten-free)

- Granola from True North Granola

Ice-Cream-Social-Monadnnock-Localvores-2014-FINAL-BANNER

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