Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News
The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock -- a locally-based crowdfunding platform -- has raised over $90,000 from almost 700 supporters for thirteen campaigns since it launched in March 2017.
As our pilot project draws to a close at the end of September, we reached out to the businesses, nonprofits and community initiatives that launched campaigns on TLC Monadnock. We wanted to hear about their progress and gather their opinions on the potential of continuing TLC Monadnock in our region. Here are insights from four of them.
Archway Farm in Keene, one of the first campaigns to launch on TLC Monadnock, used crowdfunding to purchase a food truck. Farmer Mark Florenz travels to various community events with this truck, introducing his pasture-raised pork to new people throughout our region. “This has definitely given us a good way to get out and meet more customers,” shared Mark.
In terms of TLC Monadnock’s broader impact, Mark said, “Having a local crowdfunding resource, I think, helps local groups be more effective in their campaigns and provides examples of what effective campaigns look like. I see a lot of hastily thrown together campaigns on other platforms that never go anywhere.”
Tiffany Mannion, the Bicycle Mayor of Keene, used TLC Monadnock to create an online hub that connects our community of riders to each other. The funds also allowed her to attend the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC. “It was really key to giving me the space to get the Bicycle Mayor program set up with a strong foundation,” said Tiffany. “The Bicycle Mayor position is not funded at all by the city.”
On TLC Monadnock’s potential to serve others, she shared, “Our community could benefit in countless ways for adopting TLC Monadnock as a permanent presence in our community. It offers the opportunity to move a community of ideas into a vehicle for change in our region. There are many people who can leverage their reputation into innovation and change.”
This spring, the Montessori School of Cheshire County crowdfunded to construct an outdoor classroom. Cuilin Sheridan, head of the school, was happy to report that they’ve already installed their walkway and a mud kitchen. On the way are a water cascade, tables and balance beams. “We really hope to be the school that can provide the perfect balance between academics, integrated arts and nature play,” said Cuilin. “The children are enjoying our outdoor space, and this is something we can provide for years to come.”
While Marty Castriotta of Village Roots Permaculture Farm just completed his crowdfunding campaign in late April, he’s already used the funds to raise the roof of his barn and expects to finish construction in September.
“With the exception of a couple grants, the rule of our farm enterprise has been to pay as you go and invest back into the farm,” stated Marty. “With that said, when we started considering the potential completion date of a barn that we started building in 2013, it was hard to see an end in sight. TLC Monadnock made it possible for us to embrace the idea of asking our community to support our cause and our project. Within two weeks of launching our campaign, with the tremendous support of TLC, we raised the funds needed to complete our barn.”
Marty continued, “I would encourage other farmers in the Monadnock region to explore the potential of crowdfunding for needed infrastructure and new initiatives. TLC Monadnock is a valuable resource in our community and can help us build a more resilient food system by helping to build more resilient farms.”
What are your thoughts and impressions of TLC Monadnock? Do you think our community would support this crowdfunding platform if we continued to host it? Should it become a state-wide or New England-wide tool? Let us know what you think. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-499-7950.
For more information on all thirteen projects of our TLC pilot to date, visit monadnocklocal.org/TLC.
TLC Monadnock is hosted by Monadnock Buy Local and supported by the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Region Planning Commission, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, Monadnock Buy Local and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431