For the tenth year, let’s shine a light on local food, farms, and our Monadnock Region food system during New Hampshire Eats Local Month, a month-long celebration of our state’s harvest in August.
Our food system includes all the pieces needed to bring local food from the farm to our plates: the soil, farm workers, transportation networks, markets, and more -- everything needed to grow, harvest, and distribute these goods to us. These pieces come together to form our local food system.
Please dig in and enjoy part one of this year’s bounty of updates!
Marty Castriotta of Village Roots Permaculture in Alstead recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to help him write a book called Emerging Patterns of Resilience. The book will explore some of the best examples of permaculture design in the Northeast, including farms and backyard gardens.
Permaculture uses ecological principles -- inspiration from nature -- to design and regenerate healthy, productive landscapes and communities. Marty aims to inspire the next generation, the climate generation, to co-create a future of abundance.
Support Village Roots Today!
Exciting news for local food producers in our region! Monadnock Food Co-op purchased a food production facility on the other side of their parking lot. Ten years ago, the building housed a shared-use space called Neighbor Made to support local producers.
While Neighbor Made closed, a plant-based meal producer, MamaSezz, currently utilizes the space. MamaSezz plans to outgrow the space within the next three years.
What’s next for the space? The Co-op hopes to establish a place that supports its own growth while providing production space for local food producers. Have ideas or questions? Please contact General Manager Michael Faber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This August, round up your purchases at Monadnock Food Co-op and donate your change to Food Connects, a food hub based in Brattleboro, VT. Food Connects proudly serves New England farmers and food producers and recognizes that local shopping strengthens our local economy.
In 2021, Food Connects broke all previous records and returned over $1,240,000 in sales to its farmers and food producers, demonstrating its commitment to New England food systems. New Hampshire food producers generated about 38% of these sales. Food Connects also joined the New Hampshire Food Hub Network, made up of six food hubs working collaboratively to strengthen our state’s local food economy.
“We’re thrilled to formally partner with the NH Food Hub Network to strengthen our hub’s connection to others across the state,” said Alex McCullough, Food Hub Co-Director, “Regional partnerships like this provide Food Connects with the ability to connect New Hampshire producers to new markets to the west and south.”
Cornucopia Project works to plant the seeds for a lifetime of healthy eating. This year’s fresh new offering includes a traveling hydroponic tower for growing food in our region’s schools, libraries, and institutions. They piloted the hydroponic tower in an eighth-grade science classroom and it quickly engaged the students.
Students helped establish the “baby” plants grown on Cornucopia Project’s educational farm in Peterborough and learned how to keep the plants nourished throughout the spring. Lettuce, spinach, pea, tomato, sage, basil, and Swiss chard (a favorite!) provided snacks every week, along with water chemistry and biology lessons.
“We are seeing the impact of firsthand experience on our participants’ learning, joy, curiosity, and engagement with the local food system,” shared Jess Gerrior, Cornucopia Project Program Specialist. “We celebrate our local farmers, restaurants, gardeners, seed savers, and others who are making those lifelong connections.”
One thing for sure, food can only be grown locally if there is local land on which to grow it. That’s why the Monadnock Conservancy is working to protect some of the most beloved farms in our region. Using a tool called a conservation easement – a permanent agreement that prohibits development but permits forestry and farming – the Conservancy ensures local farms stay farms in perpetuity while remaining more affordable for future farmers. What’s more, when established, many farm conservation easements provide cash to farmers to expand their business, pay down debt, or plan to transfer the farm to the next generation.
This summer, the Conservancy partnered with Kroka Expeditions to protect 15.5 acres of farmland in Alstead, where the wilderness school grows much of the food consumed by their students and livestock. The soil on the property is considered “prime” by the US Department of Agriculture, meaning it is among the country’s most fertile and productive farmland.
Monadnock Conservancy will work this summer to conserve seven acres of prime land owned and farmed by Pete’s Stand, a third generation farmstand, along the Connecticut River in Walpole. Looking ahead, Picadilly Farm in Winchester will conserve the last 25 unprotected acres of their 71-acre property, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm that feeds 1,000 households in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts.
“We are honored to partner with local farmers to ensure that their land remains available to farm forever and that their businesses thrive,” said Monadnock Conservancy Executive Director Ryan Owens. “The Monadnock Region’s farms are the cornerstones of our communities.”
Now, get out there and enjoy our farms! Attend the fourth annual Monadnock Farm Tour on Saturday, August 20, from 12 – 5 pm. Twelve vibrant Monadnock farms will open their barns, fields, hen houses, kitchens, and a pudding plant. The event highlights the impact farms have on our local economy, their role in preserving open space, and how they contribute to our quality of life. The tour costs $10 per car or $5 per person. This Monadnock Farm Tour is produced by the Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition and Monadnock Food Co-op.
Stay tuned for part two of this article in August, including local food and farm updates from Cheshire County Conservation District, The Community Kitchen’s Mobile Food Pantry, and more!
Thank you to all the individuals, programs, policies, and initiatives that continue to build a more robust local and regional food system in our corner of the state and throughout New England. Together, we’re cultivating healthier citizens, communities, and economies.
It's time to start planning for this year's Plaid Friday, Cider Monday, and Shop Indie Local efforts!
We're kicking off our Shop Indie Local planning efforts with a crowdfunding campaign. The more funds we raise, the more we'll amplify our message.
Together, we will:
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, 2022.
With your support, we will continue to build traction -- inspiring more and more AND MORE community participation and media attention.
Please consider supporting this year’s Plaid Friday, Cider Monday, and Shop Indie Local campaign at one (or more!) of the levels below.
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 ad in the Monadnock Shopper News (~60,000 weekly readers).
Your logo or product will appear prominently on our TLC Monadnock Mercantile for one week (you choose the week - first come, first served).
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).
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 by October 31, 2022. Send us an email to pledge your sponsorship or click on the button below to purchase your sponsorship through our crowdfunding campaign.
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.
Keene Mayor George Hansel proclaimed July as Independents Month at the July 7, 2022, City Council Meeting.
"Keene's local independent businesses help preserve the uniqueness of the community and give us a sense of place," said Mayor Hansel. "As we celebrate Independents Month 2022, we acknowledge that the ability to choose the direction of Keene lies within each of us."
Independents Month, led locally by The Local Crowd Monadnock and nationally by American Independent Business Alliance, is a time to recognize locally owned businesses and how they make their community healthier and wealthier.
This July, celebrate Independents Month with The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock. Independents Month is a time to think and act locally to shape our region’s future. One perfect way to celebrate is to take our Indie Challenge. Pledge to make all your purchases at locally owned businesses -- for one day, one week, or the entire month. You choose!
Sign on to the Indie Challenge today!
“I want to help create a robust local economy,” said Indie Challenge-taker Laura Carbonneau from Food Connects. “Business owners can't do it on their own -- they need community buy-in and investment!”
Here’s an extra incentive to take the Indie Challenge: One lucky participant will win our Independents Month Staycation Giveaway. Our Staycation Giveaway includes a two-night Stay at the Inn at Valley Farms in Walpole, a gift card to The Hungry Diner in Walpole, a gift certificate to the Farm Store at Walpole Valley Farms in Walpole, a gift certificate for two 5 x 7 photo prints from Peterborough Camera, Copies & More in Peterborough, two tubes of sunscreen from Badger in Gilsum, one yoga class from Aloha Keene, and two keychains from GeoGraphic Gems. WOW! Now, that’s some staycation inspiration.
Also, all Indie Challenge participants can enter to win the Upper Valley of NH/VT Staycation Giveaway. We’ll announce the winners in early August.
See all the details here
“I believe in buying local -- I did even before it was so popular!” shared Indie Challenge participant Sue Ells from Monadnock Food Co-op. “And I need a staycation!”
Independents Month is an ideal time to recognize our locally owned and independent businesses for the community values they embody and their spirit of entrepreneurship. Also, how they give back to our community with their time, talents, goods, and services, making us healthier and wealthier. Thank an independent business owner and their staff today!
“I love having local businesses nearby because it’s convenient. I can see what I’m buying and how the businesses contribute to our economic community,” said Paula F. of Stoddard. “And I can get the advice and guidance needed for my purchases. We all win!”
How do locally owned businesses keep us healthier and wealthier? It’s thanks to the local multiplier effect. When you spend your dollars at independent businesses, those businesses also spend more of their dollars locally, creating a ripple effect in our community that boosts job growth, charitable giving, and overall prosperity. The Monadnock Indie Impact Study found that our region’s local retailers return 62.4% of their revenue to our local economy, while chain stores return just 13.6%.
“Our community is the foundation for everything that is good in our world,” shared Michelle D. of Spofford.
Traveling during Independents Week? Enjoy what locally owned businesses have to offer wherever you are. Ask locals where their favorite independents are and look for networks at amiba.net/our-network.
Summer means vacation for many of us. However, taking a vacation doesn’t have to include traveling far to get away. Take a staycation this year! Stay close to home and experience all the Monadnock Region has to offer. You’ll save money at the gas pumps. Plus, any money you do spend will recirculate in our local economy, building more community health and wealth.
Here are just a few events to add to your staycation plans this June. Also, keep reading to the end of this article to find out how to enter our Staycation Giveaway!
Gilsum will ROCK the weekend of June 25 – 26 during the Gilsum Rock Swap & Mineral Show at the Gilsum Elementary School and Community Center. Browse tables, tables, and tables of gems, jewelry, and minerals for sale or swap. Grab a meal and pan for minerals. At 1 p.m. on Saturday, Paul Brandes, the “Indiana Jones of Geology,” will share a history of mining starting 60,000 years ago.
View the full schedule
Finally, check out our Independents Month Staycation Promotion coming this summer. Enter our giveaway by signing on to our Indie Month Challenge.
Take our pre-survey now and then a post-survey (coming in late July). Complete both surveys for your chance to win our Staycation package.
The winner of our Staycation Package will receive a two-Night Stay at the Inn at Valley Farms in Walpole, a gift card to The Hungry Diner in Walpole, a gift certificate to the Farm Store at Walpole Valley Farms in Walpole, a gift certificate for two 5 x 7 photo prints from Peterborough Camera, Copies & More in Peterborough, two tubes of sunscreen from Badger in Gilsum, one yoga class from Aloha Keene, and two keychains from GeoGraphic Gems. Best of all, you can enter to win an Upper Valley of NH/VT staycation package, too. We’ll announce winners in early August.
Take the Indie Challenge!
We hope summer means staycation for you this year. Happy local travels!
Also on June 4, downtown Keene comes alive with food, too! The Keene Young Professionals Network will host the second annual Taste of Keene Food Festival at the top of Main Street from 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Central Square, the upper section of Main Street, and part of Roxbury Street will be closed to traffic, allowing for a fantastic pedestrian-only event.
Enjoy small bites from twenty-five local restaurants and food producers. Purchase your food tokens today and save. Watch cooking demos from local and regional chefs throughout the day.
As an added treat, The Colonial Theatre will host two live performances during the festival, the Real McCoy Show International Stunt Comedy in a Hard Hat.
Brent McCoy is the Real McCoy. “His acclaimed show features breathtaking stunts, natural charisma, and a lightning-fast wit. It’s a rocking circus and comedy experience, appropriate for all ages. This ain’t no imitation… it’s the Real McCoy,” shared The Colonial Theatre. “The show features audience participation, original comedy, diabolo, juggling (fire is optional), breakdancing, and his signature finale, ‘a boy on a board on a ball on a bench.’ Brent will meet members of the audience in The Colonial tent between performances. And it's customary to tip street performers!”
Don’t forget to visit the Taste of Keene’s local craft biergarten to sip on a selection of our region's best brews and spirits (21 and over). Please bring your ID. Beverage tokens available for sale at the event. Enjoy live music while you sip from three bands: The Evocatives, Modern Fools, and Mojohand.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! This just in from KeeneYPN: We're looking for ten brave souls who are looking to terrify their taste buds in a scorching hot wing eating contest at the Taste of Keene Food Festival. Contestants will be expected to eat four rounds of increasingly hot chicken wings, with short breaks between each round to let the heat...well...burn. If more than one person survives the wings, we will offer a devilish dessert as a tie-breaker. The winner will be the last one sweati--uh, standing.
Each contestant will get a limited edition Taste of Keene Hot Wing t-shirt, flame sweatband, pint of Frisky Cow Gelato and pint of milk. The top three winners receive grand prizes. Please note that contestants will be required to sign a waiver prior to participating.
Enter by purchasing your ticket here ($30 entry fee). The The Few, the Brave, the SPICY!! contest will run from 3:30 to about 4:15.
Downtown storefronts will transform into art galleries during Keene ArtWalk on June 3 – 12. Stroll up and down Main Street to view the works of over sixty New Hampshire artists.
Learn More: Keene ArtWalk
On Saturday, June 4, the ArtWalk expands to Railroad Square with a day of performances and demonstrations, including ballroom dance, glass blowing, and more.
For a more nature-based staycation plan, join Monadnock Conservancy for a 20-mile mountain bike tour in Fitzwilliam on Saturday, June 18, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Learn about plans to improve this section of the Cheshire Rail Trail, plus efforts to protect the Chamberlain Conservation Area and Sip Pond. Registration is required.
NH Gives, an initiative of the NH Center for Nonprofits, is the Granite State's largest day-of-giving - bringing together hundreds of nonprofits and tens of thousands of donors to raise as much money and awareness as possible for the causes they care about.
TLC Monadnock Participating Nonprofits
Is your favorite nonprofit participating?
NH Gives has raised more than $8 million dollars for more than 900 nonprofits since 2016.
By Luca Paris
We've tried some new things since I joined as CEO of the Greater Keene & Peterborough Chamber of Commerce (GKPC):
Thank you for all you’ve helped us achieve.
The GKPC continues to collaborate with the community, and our latest endeavor is sponsoring The Thing in the Spring, a four-day music festival happening this week right in downtown Keene at Brewbakers/Nova Arts!
To multiply our impact and support events that benefit our businesses, residents, and increase tourism, we’re giving you an opportunity to help us meet our vision. Even a $5 donation supports our mission to ensure our businesses continue to grow and our region thrives for generations to come.
Support Our Campaign Today!
The Thing in the Spring has already been shared with more than 100,000 social media followers via the artists performing. It’s generating the exact buzz we hoped it would. Equally important, this festival is for all ages, so our high school students can come together to celebrate at a time when they’ve never needed it more.
I am grateful for all you’ve helped us achieve and the difference you’ve made in our local economy. Let’s keep the celebrations going and please donate today!
Twenty years ago, locally owned businesses in Tampa, Florida, came together to celebrate the very first Independents Week. Soon after, American Independent Business Alliance helped bring Independents Week to independent business alliances throughout the United States. Now, twenty years later, American Independent Business Alliance invites communities to come together to celebrate Independents Month!
Independents Month is a time to recognize our locally owned and independent businesses and the community values they embody:
Independents Month, part of AMIBA’s Shop Indie Local Initiative, is the perfect time to shine a light on the Local Multiplier Effect and the Monadnock Indie Impact Study. Together, we’ll inspire our communities to take positive action and boost the positive ripple effects our neighborhoods, towns, and cities receive when we spend more of our dollars at locally owned, independent businesses.
Independents Month is a time to reflect on your ability to think and act independently and embrace your part in shaping the future of your community. Shop Indie Local and boost the multiplier effect in your region. Also, take time to acknowledge the independent business owners you know.
Another way to celebrate Independents Month is to take the Indie Challenge. Pledge to make all of your purchases at locally owned businesses for one day, one week, or the entire month. Sign on to the Indie Challenge today!
Traveling during Independents Month? Enjoy what locally owned, and independent businesses have to offer wherever you’re visiting. Ask locals where their favorites are and look for independent business alliances in the areas you’re visiting.
Carla Jimenez, co-owner of Inkwood Books and co-founder of the Tampa Independent Business Alliance, created the first Independents Week in 2001. In 2005, AMIBA began promoting the campaign nationally, providing tools to help communities organize their own Independents Week celebrations.
This July, let’s celebrate our independence and our independents together.
The Monadnock Farm Share program makes farm shares more accessible to limited-income community members who otherwise would not be able to participate in a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
CSA programs are an opportunity for community members to enjoy farm-fresh produce while supporting local agriculture.
Community members pay 50% of the total farm share cost through the program. View program eligibility here.
This year's applications are due by May 30, 2022, and Cheshire County Conservation District will review applications on a rolling basis (first come, first served).
Community members choose from a listing of participating farms throughout the region.
Access this year's program information & eligibility, application, and participating farm list below:
2022 Participating Farm List
Program Information and Eligibility
What is a CSA?
Farmers face many costs in the operation of their farms. Community Supported Agriculture programs alleviate the financial burdens of farmers before the season begins. CSA customers provide an upfront payment to reserve a share of the season's harvest.
The cost of the CSA serves as a deposit for the season! This upfront cost allows farmers to purchase needed seeds, materials, or equipment for the upcoming season. At the same time, customers can reap this investment by taking home delicious produce once the farm season begins!
Many farms offer half share or full share CSA options. These options vary from farm to farm, but half shares are smaller to feed smaller households, while full shares can feed a larger household or households that eat a lot of vegetables.
Some farms offer on-farm pick-up days, while others provide delivery! Some farms pre-package their CSA shares for a quick pick up, while others allow customers to pick-your-own (PYO!). Pick-up days offer a unique experience to see where your food is grown and interact with other community members! While delivery offers a convenient way to bring fresh produce to your household!
By purchasing a CSA, you support local agriculture while also eating delicious, nutritious, and locally grown produce!
For additional information, questions, or assistance in completing your application, contact Benée Hershon at email@example.com or 603-756-2988 x 3011.
What better way to kick off this year’s Bike Month than by participating in the second annual National Ride a Bike Day on Sunday, May 1. It’s THE day to celebrate the joys of bicycling! Wondering how to celebrate? Go for a ride.
“We firmly believe that life is better for everyone when more people ride bikes,” shared the League of American Bicyclists. “On National Ride A Bike Day, let’s all ride bikes together, wherever we are and at our own pace, to take part in a collective action and kick start making life better for everyone.”
Why bike? Bicycling offers a fun and healthy way to get around. Studies show cycling elevates mood, memory, and metabolism. Cycling also reduces our carbon emissions and overall environmental impacts. All great reasons to get rolling!
“When all of us who ride bikes ride together on National Ride A Bike Day,” continued the League of American Bicyclists. “We can show our neighbors and our leaders why making it easier, safer, and more accessible to ride a bike is so important to so many people.”
Please join us on Sunday, May 1, for National Ride A Bike Day and then keep celebrating Bike Month all month long.
Following Bike Day, schools across the country will celebrate Bike & Roll to School Day on May 4. Over 800 schools will participate to call attention to making routes to schools safer and kids more active.
Learn more about Bike & Roll to School Day
The Kiwanis Kool Wheels Event will happen on May 7, from 10 am to 12 pm, at the Keene Recreation Center. Kool Wheels is a free family event where kids ages 4-12 may select a new bicycle helmet and learn about bike safety. Kids can bring their bicycles to the event for a tune-up.
Put these dates on your calendar: Bike to Work Week is May 16-22, with Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20.
Discover more about Bike Month
Track all your bicycling miles on Love to Ride's website. Once you're registered, you can also sign up for their National Bike Challenge. Create your own goals, connect with other bicyclists, and perhaps even win a prize.
Keene’s Transportation Heritage Trail project will connect the rail trail from Eastern Avenue to the Swanzey town line. While we can’t enjoy this project until 2027, we can help fundraise for the trail by participating in Pathways for Keene’s 4 on the 4th Road Race.
This summer, the City of Keene begins work on the Ammi Brown Trail and sections of the rail trail between the intersection of Hurricane and Aldrich roads to Summit Ridge Drive. Once completed by July 31, we’ll have a new bicycle and pedestrian loop that runs along West Street, Park Avenue, Summit Road, and Summit Ridge Drive, linking to the Cheshire Rail Trail.
Another important development in bicycling this year, UNH Cooperative Extension recently wrapped up a report called “Strengthening Connections: Downtowns & Trails,” highlighting how we can better connect Keene’s rail trails to downtown businesses. Assessors walked the trails and interviewed trail users to discover ways people do (and could) connect with our downtown assets.
“For a small city, Keene seems to offer a wide variety of businesses with numerous restaurants and a variety of retail as well as office space,” cited the report. “Assessors, by and large, found the business amenities available in Keene to be great assets. From a variety of restaurants, sporting opportunities, to general shopping, there were a number of places a trail user and any visitor or resident for that matter, might frequent.”
The report recommends adding more wayfinding signs to direct people towards these attractions.
“One main feature that will help with this connection is the inclusion of information about businesses and services on signage about trails,” stated the report. “Simple statements such as ‘downtown businesses are x miles from this point and include food, retail, and services.’ There is a great display in Railroad Square that could be further enhanced with information about general downtown amenities.”
The report also calls for amplifying the amazing community art near the trails, plus adding more art along the trails.
“Community art can be a powerful value-add to a user’s or resident’s overall experience in a community. Keene is fortunate to have a strong commitment to community art,” shared the report. “The Walldog Murals are the most vivid display of this effort and are visible from the trails. In addition to this clear asset, assessors noted a potential opportunity to enhance the community art space behind the Monadnock Food Co-op and right on the Cheshire rail trail. Others also noted that there were places along the trails that could be enhanced by the addition of some community art-such as sculptures.”
Read the full report
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431