RootSkills Conference: Coming to NH in November

The RootSkills Conference is an annual conference hosted by the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. The RootSkills Conference brings together 300+ students, community organizers, nonprofits, and sustainable businesses who are working to address social justice challenges and improve community health, community resilience, and the environment in New England. Now more than ever, it is critical that organizers work together to build a shared vision for a more just and sustainable region!

Learn more about this year’s RootSkills Conference

November 30 , 2017 – December 2, 2017

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MoCo Moves: Building MoCo Arts’ Future

If you haven’t driven down Roxbury Street in Keene in recent months, it might look a bit different. The spot where the former YMCA once stood is now a clean slate ready for MoCo Arts to build anew.  This prime site, directly across from Hannah Grimes Center, will have the chance to serve the families of the Monadnock region once again.

MoCo Arts was founded 25 years ago in its current building, a modest former machine shop. Since then enrollment has grown 225%; the building has not! MoCo is an important part of Keene’s creative economy and a significant contributor to a vibrant Main Street.  Serving 2,300+ students a year, MoCo children and their families are patrons of local coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and many other businesses that keep Keene’s downtown thriving.  Many community leaders believe this hub for the arts will have a spillover effect to further redevelopment of Keene’s East Side.

For MoCo, the chance to create a vibrant downtown hub for creative arts education for children — just steps from Main Street and Central Square — is a chance to enhance their mission of Transforming Lives Through Movement and Creative Expression. For many young people, transportation to activities and events is a barrier to opportunity. Remaining downtown ensures that students can access MoCo’s highly-regarded dance and theatre classes and award winning multi-arts camps by school bus, public transportation, bicycle, or on foot. Accessibility is a MoCo guiding value; welcoming and inclusive arts education for all, regardless of financial, social or other barriers.

Support MoCo Moves Today!

MoCo Moves: Building MoCo Arts’ Future is a $5 Million dollar capital campaign to build new studios and reach more students. Currently, $4.1 Million has been fundraised and MoCo needs your help to get to the finish line. For more information about this exciting project, visit www.move.moco.org, or call MoCo Arts at 603-357-2100.

Monadnock Food Co-op Declares “We Are Still In”

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The Monadnock Food Co-op has declared, “We are still in.” The co-op joins over 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities, declaring their intent to continue to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions. The Co-op joins many businesses nationwide who have signed the agreement, as well as several others who have joined in the Monadnock Region.

Together, these leaders are sending a strong signal to the international community and the 194 other parties to the Paris Agreement about the continued commitment of the United States to ambitious action on climate change. In the aggregate, the signatories are delivering concrete emissions reductions that will help meet America’s emissions pledge under the Paris Agreement.

The Monadnock Food Co-op believes the Paris Agreement is a blueprint for stability, global health and prosperity, and that accelerating the United States’ clean energy transition is an opportunity to create jobs, spur innovation, and promote trade. By declaring that “We are still in,” the signatories are putting the best interests of their constituents, customers, students and communities first while assuring the rest of the world that American leadership on climate change extends well beyond the federal government.

Climate change is already impacting farmers and producers in the Monadnock Region as well as farmers globally, including producers that supply the co-op with consumer favorites like coffee, chocolate and bananas, among others.

“As a retail grocery store, the Monadnock Food Co-op cares deeply about continuing to supply our community with high-quality food, grown as sustainably as possible,” said Michael Faber, the Co-op’s General Manager. “Our Ends Statements, including promoting a healthy, sustainable food system, the support of farmers and producers and a strong, sustainable and improving local economy mandate we must continue to take action to reduce emissions locally and globally.”

To view the full statement, quotes and list of signatories, visit: http://www.wearestillin.com/.

Call for Partners: NH Eat Local Month

Yarden of Eatin'

Eat-Local-NH-logoRGB_20101-300x198It’s time to start planning this year’s NH Eat Local Month, an annual event in August that celebrates local food and farming in our state.

This year, Monadnock Buy Local is collaborating with the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, Seacoast Eat Local, NH Farms Network and hopefully you to amplify the “Eat Local” message and empower more of us to celebrate the harvest.

We’re looking for partners to help us spread the word and energize all parts of the state to celebrate NH Eat Local Month.

Partners will:

  • Endorse NH Eat Local Month by sharing their business/organization’s name and logo with us
  • Provide us with links to any events or promotions they are organizing during NH Eat Local Month
  • Spread the word by sharing social media posts, adding a link to NHEatLocal.org on their own website and finding other creative ways to engage their fans…

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Complete Economy Project Reaches Out to Stakeholders

By Nicole Colson, Originally Published in New Hampshire Business Review

A Monadnock Region initiative aimed at adopting policies designed to level the playing field for locally owned businesses is being developed in hopes it will serve as a statewide model.

The Complete Economy Project, spearheaded by Monadnock Buy Local, is an effort by citizens to create a regional economy by implementing policies and practices that balances diverse types of business by putting them on equal footing. The effort was launched last fall.

Monadnock Buy Local is a grassroots network of citizens, businesses and organizations that promotes the economic and community benefits of spending locally, while supporting programs and policies that support a local, green and fair economy.

Stakeholders will decide what policies should be created –for example, better access to broadband, more composting and less trash removal or more hospitals and municipalities buying from locally-owned businesses.

Those are only a few ideas – at this point, there is no focus on one business idea or sector to make the economy stronger. Instead the organization, which is working with the city of Keene, is looking at data that shows how well the local economy is operating and whether certain policies that don’t make sense need to be ruled out.

The movement needs stakeholders and partners to help implement the ideas. Possible partners in consideration are the local Small Business Development Center, chamber of commerce and regional planning commission among other economic development groups and independent business owners.

Effective strategies

Stacy Mitchell, economy researcher and author from the Portland, Maine, office of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance – a national nonprofit that researches, analyzes and partners with communities and policymakers to design and implement policies to strengthen local economies – gave a presentation earlier this month for potential stakeholders at Antioch University New England. The purpose of her appearance was to share effective strategies focused on national local economy policies and to gain community support for the Monadnock project.

Mitchell gave an overall picture of local economies across the country and how they are affected by monopolies. Her institute’s research found that $1 of every $2 spent online today goes to Amazon; at the same time, for every job gained at Amazon, two jobs are lost at a brick-and-mortar store.

But at a time when online retail giants are forcing brick-and-mortar businesses to shutter, the buy local movement continues to gain traction. One example is the re-emergence of independent booksellers – 660 new stores opened in the country over the past seven years.

And a recent impact study of the Monadnock Region found locally owned businesses return four times more money to the local economy compared to chain retailers.

Independent businesses saw a 5.1 percent increase in sales in 2014 (vs. a 2.3 percent increase in 2013) according to the latest national survey conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in partnership with the Advocates for Independent Business, which gathered data from 3,000 locally-owned business.

The same Monadnock Region impact study notes if every area resident shifted just 10 percent of their purchases from national chains to locally owned retailers, it would keep $27 million annually recirculating in the local economy, generating more jobs, charitable donations and community health.

Among the strategies Mitchell said help strengthen local economies are growing local banks, creating a local investment fund, adopting business diversity policies and supporting buy local first initiatives.

Monadnock Buy Local serves as an example of these kinds of initiatives in that the organization has created partnerships with other local business alliances to instill a Plaid Friday and Shift Your Shopping Campaign every holiday season to encourage spending at locally owned and independent businesses.

Stakeholder outreach

The organization used Smart Growth America’s Complete Streets program as inspiration for the Complete Economy Project and plans to adapt its framework to turn the project into a movement. Complete Streets, a successful program in the Monadnock Region, advocates for policies and practices that ensure safe streets for all. Smart Growth America’s leadership team supports the idea and wants to stay connected as it’s developed.

Monadnock Buy Local received a grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund to support the Complete Economy project. The first phase of work consisted of creating an outreach plan for stakeholders.

“It’s important to reach out to partners and determine what measureables they’re looking at,” said Jennifer Risley, executive director of marketing and event planning with Monadnock Buy Local. “We’re working together to come up with a baseline as something we can measure each year to see how we’re doing before jumping into any one policy.”

This summer, those stakeholders will review case studies, develop and implement the first policy to advocate. If the project is successful, the city will adopt the policy, followed by many others that support the local living economy. The goal is to share this model with other communities.

There is no limit to the number of partners for the project, and Risley hopes many will get involved.

“We need to use our collective power,” she said.

Cultivating a Local Economy that Works for All

Monadnock Buy Local will host “The Complete Economy Project: Cultivating a Local Economy That Works for All” Event with local economy researcher and author Stacy Mitchell on Thursday, May 4, 2017 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Antioch University New England in Keene, NH.  Stacy will discuss effective strategies that communities around the country are using to grow local businesses and how public policy needs to change to create an economy that works for all.

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a national nonprofit organization that produces research and analysis, and partners with communities and policymakers to design and implement policies that curb economic consolidation and strengthen local economies.  Her book Big-Box Swindle appeared on several top-ten lists and was described by Bill McKibben as “the ultimate account of the single most important economic trend in our country.” She has also written for a wide range of publications, including Business Week, The Nation and Wall Street Journal, and has authored several influential reports.  More about her work is available at ilsr.org/stacy-mitchell.

The Complete Economy Project supports the adoption of local policies that level the playing field for locally owned businesses in our region and spark innovative business models that contribute to our local living economy.  It cultivates a regional economy that works for more people and balances the needs of diverse types of business.

“Cultivating locally owned businesses is one of the best strategies for creating jobs, reducing inequality and building a more resilient community.  I’m excited to share our research and talk about ways that the Monadnock Region can apply this approach to economic development,” said Mitchell.

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Help Raise a Barn and Bring Wheels to Another Farm

Yarden of Eatin'

JUST ONE WEEK LEFT!  The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock’s inaugural crowdfunding campaigns end April 15, 2017. Check out each farm’s rewards for contributing to their campaign.

Don’t wait: Contribute today!

Archway Farm’s Farm to Table on Wheels

Select your reward on the right side of Archway Farm’s TLC Monadnock Page.

  • 2016-12-28-10-18-53-1024x765$10: Cart Karma
    • Personalized thank you note from the family and an Archway Farm temporary tattoo.
  • $20: Farm Tour
    • An hour long tour of the farm ending in a delicious sausage sampling. Tours are schedule for the last Sunday of each month (May – August) from 10 – 11 am. Good for 1 vehicle, up to 4 people.
  • $25: Jack’s Crackers Exclusive Flavor
    • One bag of Jack’s Crackers, made with fresh, local ingredients from the Keene, NH. Brand new exclusive TLC Monadnock flavor: Bacon & Buttermilk Biscuit (a.k.a. The Fallen Vegan).
  • $30: Kickoff Sausage
    • Get 1 lb of our…

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TEDxKeene Event Streams Online on April 8th

This year, organizers proudly present the inaugural TEDxKeene event.  TEDxKeene will be the newest of a handful of TEDx events throughout the state of New Hampshire.

The event theme, “A Tipping Point”, is intended to resonate with audience members in multiple ways. Whether the theme reminds you of Malcolm Gladwell’s book about small actions resulting in big effects, or you simply think of a life changing realization, TEDx wants you to stop and think about tipping points, or the lack thereof, in your life and community.

Speakers at TEDxKeene, and their respective topics, include: Mackenzie Donovan (Forest Protection), John Benjamin and Chris Ekblom (The Power of Songwriting), Rana Abdelhamid (Hate Crime Self Defense), Dottie Morris (Taking Control of Identity), John Hoffman (Overcoming Depression), Ryan Owens (Conservation as Human Interest), Rudy Fedrizzi (Community Health), and Bryan Russell (Breathing Techniques).

TEDxKeene will be offering a free livestream of the event on April 8th for those that wish to follow along.

To receive additional information and a link to our livestream, please sign up for our livestream newsletter on our www.tedxkeene.com homepage and follow us on Facebook for current updates.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com.

The Local Crowd Monadnock Night at Monadnock Food Co-op

Yarden of Eatin'

The Monadnock Food Co-op will host The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock Night on Friday, April 7, 2017 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  You’re invited to learn more about TLC Monadnock’s first two crowdfunding campaigns focused on sustainable agriculture:

Both farms will offer free samples and answer questions about their campaigns.

TLC Monadnock launched on March 15, 2017 and raised over to $3,700 from 74 supporters during its first week.  Both campaigns end on April 15, 2017.  You can contribute online to either campaign at monadnocklocal.org/tlclaunch.

“The Co-op is delighted to support the work of The Local Crowd and Monadnock Buy Local.  The work they are doing to support and grow our community and economy is remarkable,” said Megan Megan Straughen, Events, Education & Sustainability Coordinator at Monadnock Food Co-op.  “It’s wonderful to see different types…

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