Meet Kyle Michaud, Monadnock Local Living Economy Intern

By Kyle Michaud, Keene State College Student

The earth is going through some really rough times right now. Never before have we had to deal with this much disease, “natural” disasters, and as a nation, our economy and environment is under severe stress as we continue to kill it slowly with too much emphasis on profits and big gains in a short amount of time. To be truthful, I am feeling the same way. Financial, family, and personal problems add up and trying to balance school, socializing, and maintaining relationships and partnerships is tough to do in these days of oversaturation of media and never ending to do lists.

That’s why I want to do the work I do. Through my actions, beliefs, and thoughts I hope to bring a sense of peace, love, respect, and unity to myself and others. While Globalization increases our interconnectedness through electronic means, it has brought about many setsbacks to match its brilliant advances. In Western, mechanically based countries, we lost a connection to the land and our fellow man. It’s unfortunate that we have a reliance on machines and products or jobs overseas. What is fortunate is that there are many who recognize such issues and are working to solve our current problems.

One of the biggest issues we are facing right now deals with food. Too often we have foods shipped from thousands of miles away, many not even from this country. The pesticides on these foods and toxic waste, created from such massive factory farms and plants making overly processed foods with a paragraph of ingredients, is terrible for the health of this earth and for the humans who consume such products.

My work for this internship will be based upon bringing our focus back to local and organic food producers and distributors. In turn, such a whole foods diet will reduce disease and allow for healthier individuals and consequently healthier communities, states, and even entire countries.

Welcome Libby Weiland, Spring LLE Collaboration Coordinator

Hello, my name is Libby Weiland and I am excited to be joining the Hannah Grimes Center this spring as an intern with the Monadnock Local Living Economy project!  As Collaboration Coordinator, I am working closely with Jen Risley of Hannah Grimes to gather the best practices related to collaboration building.  My research will not only involve gleaning from the good work of groups collaborating in the area, but will also provide interested groups with the tools needed to create even stronger, lasting, and effective collaborative efforts.

My interest in this work comes out of ten years of community work with Community Action Agencies, Cooperative Extension, and other community-based organizations relating to food access and education.  Through this work I have discovered my passion for community and an understanding of the power of groups working effectively together.

This passion brought me to pursue a Master’s degree at Antioch University New England, where I am currently in my final semester of the Environmental Education Program.  Over the past year and half at Antioch I have had the privilege to work on projects including Antioch’s Keene Community Garden Connections (CGC), Cheshire County Conservation District’s Cheshire County Farm and Infrastructure Project, and Great Falls Food Hub’s Access Committee.   I’ve been working with these groups to establish communal garden sites, gather input from residents on the future of community agricultural resources, and develop collaborative efforts to increase access to healthy, affordable food in the region.

Throughout these projects, I have been fortunate to work closely with numerous groups in the area who are working to make our community more resilient and a healthier place to live.  I hope that this spring will be yet another opportunity for me to learn from these groups and to give back something in return.

Complete Streets: Maximizing Local Living Economies

Instead of designing roads with the sole intention of getting a vehicle from place A to place B, why not consider each road as part of a larger system – a system that impacts our safety, economic development, quality of life, the environment and public health? (AKA: Our Local Living Economy.)  A Complete Streets Policy can help communities consider all the impacts roads have on our lives and promote the design and maintenance of roads to maximize benefits.

Who wants a Complete Streets Policy in Keene?  We do!  A Complete Streets Policy was identified as a priority in the 2010 Keene Comprehensive Master Plan: “Members of the community expressed a desire, as part of creating Keene’s walkable community, to strive for ‘complete streets.’ Keene should make it a consistent policy to design streets with all users in mind, including drivers, public transport riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists as well as older people, children, and those with disabilities.”

Who will make a Complete Streets Policy happen in Keene? We will! The Keene Young Professionals Network is organizing a community service project to support the adoption of a Complete Streets Policy in Keene.  Get involved by contacting

Have questions and concerns about a Complete Streets Policy? Review some frequently asked questions at  Find out more about Complete Streets at the Monadnock Earth Festival on April 23, 11 a.m. – 4p.m. and at the Council for a Healthier Community Vision 2020 How and Why to Have Complete Streets Event with built environment expert and consultant, Mark Fenton May 4, 2011 from 7:30 am – 10 am.

Help Bring More Complete Streets to Keene

The Keene Young Professionals Network (KeeneYPN) is collaborating with Vision 2020 to help bring a Complete Streets Policy to our city.  Inspired by the Keene Community Master Plan Process and the community’s vision for Keene in 2028*, we chose this as the first KeeneYPN community service project.

Our goals are to increase the public’s awareness of why Keene needs a Complete Street Policy and promote an upcoming community event with Complete Streets Member and Transportation Consultant Mark Fenton.

You can get involved with this project in any or all of the following ways:

  • Review sample Complete Street Policies from other communities and help draft a policy for Keene
  • Create handouts and a display for our table at the Earth Day Festival
  • Design an activity at our table to engage Earth Day Festival goers
  • Volunteer to man/woman this table at the festival on April 23, 2011
  • Spread the word about this community project
  • Share other ideas to help make this happen

Contact the KeeneYPN Community Committee to learn more.

* Adoption of this policy is listed as a priority in the Keene Community Master Plan.

Keene, in 2028, is the best community in America. Our city is vibrant, dynamic, beautiful, and functional.

Our built environment consists of mixed-use development and appropriate density within the city limits; public gathering spaces that allow for interaction between people; well-designed, safe, and maintained neighborhoods with affordable housing and neighborhood amenities; clean and efficient public transportation that connects us to our community, the region, and beyond; pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure that is present throughout our community and that places import on people rather than automobiles; and a well-developed trail system that provides connections between neighborhoods, open spaces, and other communities while simultaneously supporting a healthy lifestyle. Full Keene 2008 Community Vision.

Who is Working Collaboratively?

At the Spring 2010 Local Living Economy Event, we asked participants to brainstorm:

Who is working collaboratively in the Monadnock Region?

Here’s the initial list that was generated, now it’s your turn to add the missing organizations & businesses to this list:

Antioch University New England (Green MBA Program)
Cheshire County Conservation District
Monadnock Farm Community Connection
Cheshire Medical Center
Vision 2020
Clean Air Cool Planet
Cool Monadnock
Franklin Pierce College
Great Falls Food Hub
Green Jobs Forum
Hannah Grimes
Keene, City Council
Keene Downtown Group
Monadnock Buy Local
Keene State College
Monadnock Localvores
Monadnock Development Services
First Course/True Nut
Monadnock Sustainability Network
Monadnock Resource Partners
Monadnock Travel Council
Moosewood Ecological
Neighborhood Groups
Stonewall Farms
Southwest Community Services
Southwest Regional Planning Commission
Keene Transition Town Task Force
Working Families Win

2010 Event