Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News
This month, The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock launched a brand new crowdfunding initiative called TLC 4WARD. The goal: Empowering you to support the local businesses that you don't want to live without. TLC 4WARD provides participating locally owned businesses with the needed funds to weather the COVID-19 crisis, meet changes in community needs and seize new opportunities to forward a more local, green and fair economy in our region.
"This is an unprecedented time -- one we could not have imagined even six months ago," shared Diane Sontum, TLC co-founder. "Yet, what we imagine today gives us the power to change the world of tomorrow into one we want for ourselves, our children, our neighbors and the planet that sustains us."
We recently launched TLC 4WARD with four locally owned businesses. Each has a different story to tell.
As demand for local products increased in response to COVID-19, Mark Florenz of Archway Farm in Keene added more offerings to his self-serve farm store, like Edgefield Farm lamb, Crooked Creek Farm eggs and Frisky Cow gelato. He’s also close to adding his pasture-raised chickens to the store’s inventory. These additional local products require more storage space, so he installed new display freezers and a refrigerator. Now, this new infrastructure requires an upgrade to the farm store’s electric service.
Help Archway Farm move 4WARD!
Due to COVID-19, demand for curbside pick-up soared at Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene. To quickly meet this need, the co-op launched a pilot curbside pick-up program for seniors and people at risk. And the orders came in! Now, their biggest obstacle is finding enough refrigerated space to store these orders until pick up. They’d like to invest in a refrigerated trailer to allow them to continue offering this vital service. This trailer will also help them out immensely during the Thanksgiving season and Truckload events. They turn to our community to help them cover a portion of the cost of this trailer. Your support will help them keep curbside pick-up available now and into the future.
Help Monadnock Food Co-op move 4WARD!
Every Tuesday night in the summer, Noah Elbers and his team at Orchard Hill Breadworks in Alstead welcome a few hundred individuals to their place. They come for one thing: delicious, wood-fired pizza. You build your own pie and they bake it for you in their outdoor oven. Each week, 100% of the profits go to different local non-profit organizations. This year, however, Orchard Hill Breadworks must do things differently.
While they can't invite hundreds of people into their space to make their own pizzas, they can offer take-away pizzas, made by their hard-working team and baked in their wood-fired oven, available every Tuesday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., until August 25, 2020. Each night will still support a local non-profit, but they want their take-away pizzas to lend a hand in additional ways.
Small dairy farms and artisan cheesemakers have been hit hard by the pandemic. Orchard Hill would love to support these businesses by featuring their products on their pizzas this year -- without transferring this increased cost onto all customers or cutting into what they donate.
Help Orchard Hill Breadworks move 4WARD!
When Prime Roast closed their Main Street coffee shop in Keene due to COVID-19, owner Judy Rogers shifted their business to delivering their freshly roasted beans exclusively by mail order. They experienced an overwhelming demand for local bean delivery. Instead of mailing these beans, they wanted to find a way to keep our community caffeinated through in-person roaster-to-home deliveries.
Thinking outside the box, they launched “BySpoke - Beans by Bike,” a doorstep delivery service. They now deliver their coffee beans with a new electric bike, named Iris, to customers who order online and live locally. Iris helps them connect with our amazing coffee community and allows for reduced packaging and a smaller environmental footprint.
As demand for BySpoke - Beans By Bike continued to grow, they needed a back-up battery for Iris. With your support, they can keep Iris rolling and our community caffeinated.
Help Prime Roast Coffee Roasters move 4WARD!
There are several ways to support these businesses through TLC 4WARD. One is to give a contribution -- click on the green button on our page to get started. Then, click on the businesses you'd like to support.
If you prefer to give "offline," please make your check out to Monadnock Food Co-op (with the business you're supporting in the memo line) and mail it to Jen Risley, Monadnock Food Co-op, TLC 4WARD, 34 Cypress St., Keene, NH 03431.
Another way to support our campaign is to claim a reward in exchange for your contribution. Rewards for our campaign include a $10 gift card from the Monadnock Food Co-op or CC&D's Kitchen Market, a $25 gift card from Cheshire Garden, and a 30-minute massage at Mudita Massage. For more information, visit this page and scroll down to Rewards. These rewards are limited, so be sure to check them out today.
While we launched TLC 4WARD with four locally owned businesses, we invite others to join. Please share this opportunity with others -- businesses that you don't want to live without.
Let’s move 4WARD together!
Now, more than ever, small businesses need to work together.
With so much uncertainty around the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on each of our businesses and what this year's holiday shopping season will look like, we will start planning now for this year's Shop Indie Local efforts (Plaid Friday, Cider Monday, Small Business Saturday and more).
Please reach out to us with new ideas for how we can better come together to support each other this holiday season.
The Local Crowd Monadnock
Instead of asking you for Shop Indie Local sponsorships in the form of just cash this year, we're pitching a different option -- one that we hope will be a win-win-win.
Here's how it will work:
We will highlight your rewards like this:
We will feature all rewards on an online marketplace like this:
YOU can help inspire more of our friends and neighbors to support locally owned businesses by shifting more of their holiday spending to independent businesses. Show off your dedication to the local economy movement and support our Shop Indie Local efforts today!
Shop Indie Local includes supporting Plaid Friday, Cider Monday, Small Business Saturday and other promotions happening November 1 - December 31, 2020.
With your support, we will continue to build traction -- inspiring more and more AND MORE community participation and media attention. We will really need to come together in unique ways this year.
With your support and participation, we will:
Please consider supporting this year’s Plaid Friday, Cider Monday and Shop Indie Local campaign at one (or more!) of the levels below.
Have a different idea? We're wide open to additional ideas!
Your logo will appear in our Plaid Friday ad in the Monadnock Shopper News (~60,000 weekly readers).
Your logo will appear in our Cider Monday ad in the Monadnock Shopper News (~60,000 weekly readers).
Your logo will appear in our Plaid Friday AND Cider Monday ad in the Monadnock Shopper News (~60,000 weekly readers) AND the Keene Sentinel (delivered to ~10,000 households) AND Monadnock Ledger Transcript (delivered to ~8,000 households).
Sponsor a Plaid Friday Photo Booth in your town or business.
Your business will be mentioned during one week of our Plaid Friday radio ads (2 sponsors highlighted in each ad).
Sponsor a Plaid Friday launch in your town or at your business. Your name and logo will appear on our Launch Event marketing materials and press release. We'll plan this launch together.
All sponsorship pledges are due before October 31, 2020.
Please let me know if you have any questions and thank you for all you do to support our local economy each and every day.
We're proud to announce the launch of our TLC 4WARD campaign.
This crowdfunding campaign empowers you to support the local businesses you don't want to live without. TLC 4WARD provides participating locally owned businesses with funds to weather the COVID-19 crises, meet changes in community needs and/or seize new opportunities to forward a more local, green and fair economy in the Monadnock Region.
Let's Move 4WARD!
"This is an unprecedented time—one we could not have imagined even six months ago," shared Diane Sontum, co-founder of The Local Crowd. "Yet, what we imagine today gives us the power to change the world of tomorrow into one we want for ourselves, our children, our neighbors and the planet that sustains us."
Businesses interested in participating can submit their story online.
In response to the economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, TLC developed 4WARD—a crowdfunding-based initiative that can be rapidly deployed in communities to support recovery. 4WARD enables residents to contribute to local businesses and organizations through online transactions.
The purpose of TLC 4WARD is to help rural communities recover more quickly and more completely from this crisis. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, this initiative is based on TLC’s recent SBIR research project. The research concluded that the TLC crowdfunding platform is an effective tool for stimulating financial and social capital in the communities that use it.
Submit Your Business Story
Questions? Please contact Jen Risley, TLC Monadnock Program Manager, at email@example.com or (603) 283-5401.
Prime Roast Coffee Co. in Keene launched a new program called BySpoke: Beans By Bike. They now deliver their coffee beans by electric bike to customers who order online and live locally. (Left to right): Devany Pitsas, Valery Cavadini, Emily Lavigne, Judy Rogers and Nicole Melanson. Photo Credit: Beth Pelton.
May is National Bike Month, promoted by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Since 1956, National Bike Month boasts the benefits of bicycling to encourage more of us to go by bicycle.
In our region, we’ll gather virtually to mark Bike Month and watch the crowdsourced documentary film MOTHERLOAD on Thursday, May 28 starting at 6:30 p.m. MOTHERLOAD highlights the story of an overwhelmed mother and how a cargo bicycle brings her freedom and joy (see more about this film below). This event is free and co-hosted by Monadnock Food Co-op, Monadnock International Film Festival (MONIFF), and Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST).
A live post-film discussion will follow the film with MOTHERLOAD Director Liz Canning, VBike Director Dave Cohen, Prime Roast Coffee Company Founder Judy Rogers and Keene State College Film Professor Ted White. Event attendees will also have a chance to win one of our event prizes including a pair of VIP tickets to MONIFF, a $25 gift card to Monadnock Food Co-op, a bag of Prime Roast coffee beans delivered to your home by ebike (must live within 3 miles of Prime Roast and delivery date is subject to weather) and an e-bike/cargo-bike consultation from Dave Cohen at VBike. This event is free, but registration is required.
Why celebrate bicycling during the COVID-19 crises? “Because bicycling is more essential to our lives than ever,” shared Bike Month organizers from The League of American Bicyclists. “And because we could all use some bike joy to look forward to. Whether you’re riding for fun, fitness or with family, or taking essential trips to work or shop, you are part of a movement for safer streets, connected communities, a healthier planet and happier people.”
Prime Roast Coffee Company in Keene truly seized Bike Month this year. They launched their new BySpoke: Beans By Bike program. They deliver their coffee beans by an electric bike, named Iris, to customers who order online and live locally. “Are you wondering why we chose to name our new e-bike Iris?” asked Judy. “Iris was the goddess of rainbows and the messenger of the gods. It just seemed right.”
Last year, the Monadnock Food Co-op formed a team called the “Co-op Commuters” to participate in the National Bike Challenge. We kept this team going and have logged 928 miles so far! Anyone can join our team through at and log their own miles. New to bicycling? Watch the League of American Bicyclists’ videos and gain confidence in your riding skills.
You can also support bicycling beyond Bike Month. For example, Pathways for Keene opened up registration for their 19th annual Four on the 4th Road Race planned for July 4. This race will raise funds for the Cheshire Rail Trail, Phase 3 & the Park Avenue Loop project – projects that make our city more walkable and bikeable.
MOTHERLOAD follows director and new mother, Liz Canning, on her quest to understand the increasing tension between modern life and our hunter-gatherer DNA, and how cargo bikes offer a solution. As Liz meets the people behind this push to replace cars with purpose-built bikes, she learns about the history and potential future of the bicycle as the “ultimate social revolutionizer.”
Conflict arises when characters encounter cultural resistance, in particular bikelash, focused on women and mothers. MOTHERLOAD draws connections to the struggle of cyclist Suffragettes and women’s seemingly endless fight for bodily autonomy. Ultimately, Liz’s experiences as a cyclist, as a mother, and in discovering the cargo bike world, teach her that sustainability is not necessarily about compromise and sacrifice. Instead, there are few things more empowering in an age of consumption than the ability to create everything from what seems to be nothing.
“For seven years, MONIFF has been fortunate to share some of the best independent films with members of our community—during the festival and throughout the year,” said MONIFF Board Chair, Deirdre Fitzgerald. “COVID-19 has made a trip to the movies off-limits for now, so it’s wonderful to be able to bring people together with this free, virtual screening of MOTHERLOAD and help raise awareness about the benefits of bicycling.”
Now, let’s get rolling!
From Orchard Hill Breadworks
Our new mill has been delivered and installed and is running beautifully! Our team voted on a color for the metal framework, and we couldn’t be happier with this bright purple.
We have switched over to milling all of our rye and spelt flour in house, but we are still searching for a source of organic wheat berries that is able to supply us in quantity in the current climate. Small local mills and growers, as well as larger operations, are experiencing an increased demand for flour and grain due to the pandemic, and are operating either at or over capacity and are largely unable to take on new accounts at this time. We have been able to source small quantities of wheat berries, however, which has allowed us to provide fresh flour for sale in our farm stand and at farmer’s markets as well as at select local retail locations.
In other news, we have made the very tough decision to cancel pizza night for the 2020 season. We feel unable to play host to such an event in a way that would be socially responsible and are unwilling to potentially put our community at risk. We are, however, planning to offer delicious take-away pies, made by our hard-working team and baked in our wood-fired oven, available every Tuesday evening from 5:30pm to 8:00pm, June 3 - August 25, 2020. We will offer 3 pizzas each night: a plain cheese, a vegetarian special and a meat special, which will feature as much local, seasonal produce, along with locally produced meats and cheeses, as we are able to procure.These pizzas will be priced at $16, $20 and $20 respectively. For those of you who have joined us for pizza nights in the past, you’ll notice an increase in price.
Allow us to explain: The main function of pizza night has always been to serve as both a community gathering space, as well as provide a source of fundraising for local non-profit organizations. In order to make sure these organizations received as large of a percentage of the proceeds as possible, the bakery has always kept its overhead costs very low — sauce, cheese, crusts, and an all-volunteer staff, provided by the benefiting organization of the evening, along with 1 bakery employee. This year’s pizza nights will require significantly more of the bakery terms of financial outlay, in both ingredient cost, as well as staffing.
For those of you who contributed to the fundraising campaign by purchasing a VIPizza Pass, we are able to offer you the full value of your pass ($125) in credit toward take-away pizza this summer. Stay tuned for details regarding ordering, pick-up and redeeming your credit for this summer’s pizza night. We are endlessly grateful for your support.
For those of you who contributed to the fundraising campaign by signing up for our Whole Grain of the Month Club, your first pick-up will be May 28 with our 100% freshly milled Whole Spelt bread. It’s become one of our new favorites, and we hope you’ll love it too!
Whew! That was a long one. If you made it this far, thank you for sticking with it! It has been a wild few months at the bakery, and in the world at large, and we are all feeling incredibly grateful to still be baking bread and pastry. We hope this update finds you safe and well, and we send you our warmest thoughts and wishes.
The Orchard Hill Breadworks Team
The documentary film MOTHERLOAD is coming soon virtually to Keene, NH, on Thursday, May 28, 2020, thanks to co-hosts Monadnock Food Co-op, Monadnock International Film Festival (MONIFF), and Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST). MOTHERLOAD, a crowdsourced documentary, explores how the cargo bicycle becomes a vehicle for exploring motherhood in this digital age of climate change.
The film starts at 6:30 p.m. with a post-film discussion to follow with MOTHERLOAD Director Liz Canning, VBike Director Dave Cohen, and Keene State College Film Professor Ted White. This event is free, but registration is required.
This community screening celebrates National Bike Month, a promotion each May that highlights the many benefits of bicycling and inspires individuals to bike more often. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Bike Month will continue as planned.
“The League is still celebrating National Bike Month,” shared Bike Month organizers from The League of American Bicyclists. “Because bicycling is more essential to our lives than ever—and because we could all use some bike joy to look forward to. We hope that the hundreds of thousands of you who participate in Bike Month events in typical years continue to do so through virtual, solo, or safely distanced events in May 2020, and beyond.”
“I’m excited for this opportunity to view MOTHERLOAD online as a community in these trying times,” said Will Schoefmann, MAST Steering Committee Chair. “Hopefully, this will help to inspire our region now and for the better
times ahead. I would encourage everyone to watch this excellent film and help transform our attitudes towards modern bicycling.”
The Local Crowd Monadnock (TLC Monadnock), a community-based crowdfunding program, is getting closer to launching an initiative that will empower you to support the local businesses and organizations that you don’t want to live without.
While we work to lay the groundwork for this initiative, here are some ways you can help local businesses weather the COVID-19 storm now. Thank you to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance for providing the tips below. We also share updates from local businesses related to each tip. Their quotes show that many of you have already embraced the idea of weathering this storm together.
Lots of small businesses have online storefronts. Many offer home delivery too. You’ll not only get your products faster than if you order them from an online megastore, but you’ll also be helping the small businesses you love stay in business.
Some local business owners reported an uptick in business due to the coronavirus. “Our farm has seen an increase in the number of people joining our spring and main season CSAs for this time of year,” shared Gene Jonas of Hungry Bear Farm in Mason. “We sold out spring shares weeks ago and had to turn some people away even. Our main season CSA is about two-thirds full right now.”
In terms of our community taking advantage of online storefronts, here’s one report from a local business owner in Keene. “I have been overwhelmed by the love from our community and beyond,” said Brandie Wells from Soul Emporium. “My goal during this pandemic was to creatively keep inventory moving. I am selling Mystery Boxes (with crystals, herbs, teas, and other items) and the community is purchasing! Some are even buying them as pick-me-ups to ship to friends and family. This creative solution is helping my store thrive and bringing love and light to my community as well.”
Looking for businesses with an online storefront? View our searchable directory at tlcmonadnock.com/online.
Order online from your favorite local restaurants, then pick up curbside. Take your fitness classes by Zoom. No matter how your favorite businesses are offering goods and services now, keep supporting them with your purchases.
Restaurants and other businesses pivoted to curbside pick-up. Many yoga and wellness centers moved their services online. While you shift the ways you support your health, find ways to support the health of local businesses that provide so much to our community. What they provide ripples out way beyond the products and services they offer.
“When we opened Aloha Healthy Living just a year ago, we had a different vision than most new businesses. We wanted to give all our incoming money to our practitioners and the rest to nonprofits,” said Josephine Russell. “We are at the stage of life where we still have a lot of energy and we wanted to have somewhere to pour this energy into that gives us meaning and happiness.”
Josephine continued, “Our teachers have switched to online offerings. Some offer classes for free, some by donation, and some at a fee. Most importantly, we have many tools in our yoga toolbox for getting us through this time stress-free and happy.”
“The social capital and the community’s support of our shops and restaurants has been stupendous,” shared Ted McGreer of Ted’s Shoe & Sport in Keene. “I wanted to personally find a way to support our regions’ businesses, and with so many people trying to get outside and increase their level of activity, I decided to hold a Keene Community Virtual 5K.”
Instead of race participants receiving a t-shirt, they received a gift certificate from a local business of their choice. The result, just shy of $20,000 in gift certificates going to support area businesses.
Tip well. Spread the news (safely) about the great service you’re getting from your small businesses. Leave positive reviews online (small business owners could really use some love right now). Donate to your favorite businesses through crowdfunding.
There’s much generosity happening in our region. We’re thrilled to share that our community stepped up to support Food Connects crowdfunding campaign with TLC Monadnock. On April 18, they reached their campaign goal to raise $10,000 to increase market access for local farmers and food producers in our region.
Food Connects continues its local food delivery service to wholesale customers. “The last three weeks we’ve seen a 50-80% increase in our local food sales,” says Alex McCullough, Food Hub Manager. “We are delivering food to local co-ops and markets, hospitals, school meal programs, and buying clubs in record numbers. This diverse group of customers is allowing us to continue supporting farmers and finding outlets for their food.”
Please share more examples of how you and your community are weathering the storm together. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be well!
Right now, it isn't clear that Congressional leadership understands how dire the situation is for hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the country. We're hoping you will record videos, tweet, and post on Facebook at 9am EST this coming Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, using the hashtag #SmallBizNeedsNow.
At this key moment, Congress needs to hear your stories to understand the critical need for more federal funds and a more streamlined way to get them to small businesses.
Our friends at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance have created a social media toolkit with instructions, sample tweets, and more. The toolkit also includes instructions on recording and posting videos, should you need them. Those videos and posts will get maximum re-broadcast throughout the week.
View the Social Media Toolkit
Originally Posted at Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Most small businesses don’t have the credit and capital to weather the coronavirus pandemic. And the average small business has only enough cash in reserve to remain open for 27 days. For restaurants, it’s only 16 days; for retail shops, only 19. Being closed for weeks — or months — because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be devastating for hundreds of thousands of small businesses. Governments, foundations, and nonprofits everywhere are scrambling to help small businesses stay afloat during this crisis, but everyone can help. Here are some things you can do.
How You Can Support Our Locally Owned Businesses
By Food Connects
Food Connects is now over 75% of the way to its crowdfunding goal of $10,000 for our “Growing Local Food Markets in the Monadnock Region” campaign. This campaign, run through The Local Crowd Monadnock, aims to increase market access for local farmers and food producers.
Thanks to the generosity of over 50 donors, Food Connects raised $7,741 as of March 31. These funds will go towards implementing the first steps in Food Connects newly optimized food safety plan—covering the cost of the food safety certification and audit, the monthly fees for the Integrated Pest Management Program, staff training, and necessary cleaning and transportation supplies.
A large portion of these funds was raised through the Monadnock Food Co-op’s Round It Up program for March. Co-op customers had the opportunity to round up their change at the register for this campaign, resulting in $4,341.19. “We are so grateful for the incredible generosity of the community at the Monadnock Food Co-op,” says Richard Berkfield, Food Connects’ Executive Director. “These funds will help Food Connects develop the necessary infrastructure needed to sell to larger wholesale customers.”
The outbreak of COVID-19 has heightened the need for and awareness of supporting the local food economy. “Now, more than ever, it is important to strengthen our local food businesses,” says Berkfield. “Many food producers are seeing a loss of sales due to college and restaurant closures. Our campaign focuses on developing current and new markets to ensure that there is a broad and diverse set of customers always available to purchase local food. Resilient local food economies can weather the storm.”
Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Food Connects is continuing on with its local food delivery. “The last three weeks we’ve seen a 50-80% increase in our local food sales,” says Alex McCullough, Food Hub Manager. “We are delivering food to local co-ops and markets, hospitals, school meal programs, and buying clubs in record numbers. This diverse group of customers is allowing us to continue supporting farmers and finding outlets for their food.”
A matching challenge is now in place. The Monadnock Food Co-op will match each donation to the Food Connects crowdfunding campaign dollar for dollar up to $500. Food Connects needs to raise $2,259 more by April 18.
Double Your Impact!
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431