November 2009 Local Living Economy Event

This event, a collaboration of Keene State College, Cheshire Medical Center’s Vision 2020 Program, and the Hannah Grimes Center, was the next step towards building a stronger community and economy and was part of the Keene State College Biennial Symposium: From Local to Global. The goals of the event were to:

  • Identify common ground and unifying overarching goals among movements within the Monadnock Region (Are they more connecting than we think?)
  • Create an opportunity for open discussion among Keene’s community leaders that inspires creative thinking about the Keene Master Plan process.
  • Encourage participants to develop a plan of action within their existing vision, mission, and isolated work plans that contribute to a LLE (What do you want to come out of the workshop?)

Featured invitees included:

  • Judy Wicks, a pioneering voice in the local living economy movement over the past thirty years, is the owner of Philadelphia’s celebrated White Dog Café and a founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).
  • Tom Wessels is a terrestrial ecologist and a professor at Antioch University New England in the Department of Environmental Studies. In his book, The Myth of Progress he writes that, “people with a richness of life created through their connections with community, place and themselves have no need to compulsively consume the ‘frivolous accouterments’ that we tend to think of as making us happy, but which really don’t.”
  • Margaret (Marge) Bruchac, PhD, is an Abenaki Indian with roots in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, and deep research interests in the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont and Massachusetts.
  • Mike Welsh, PhD, is Keene State College Professor of Political Science and Chair of Keene Master Plan Committee.

Impacts on our Local Living Economy

How will we know if the Monadnock Local Living Economy Project is successful?

Here is a draft list of desired outcomes of this project.  Which resonate with you?  What is missing?

  • We understand how “we” are collectively working together and contributing to our Local Living Economy on a daily basis.
  • Community-wide issues are solved collectively, using a diversity of frameworks across disciplines.
  • We understand and support our region’s unifying goals.
  • Businesses and organizations know their strengths and weaknesses and look for ways to form collaborative partnerships to meet community-wide goals.
  • We have an increased commitment to civic engagement.

How Are We Contributing to Our Local Living Economy?

While exploring the idea of a “local living economy” in the Monadnock Region, the Hannah Grimes Center compiled a collage of logos from local organizations, businesses, and community groups who are already contributing to our local economy and community in diverse and important ways.

Contributions such as:

  • Encouraging charitable giving
  • Paying staff to volunteer for local agencies
  • Purchasing local products, when possible
  • Giving incentives for walking or biking to school or work
  • Offering support to local businesses
  • Supporting farmers and a healthy regional food system
  • Encouraging citizen participation
  • Growing a community garden
  • Marketing local events and products
  • Developing community-wide health education initiatives
  • Supporting smart growth policies
  • Contributing to our community’s guiding documents (master plan, land use regulations)
  • Setting policies and guidelines to support our local economy
  • Promoting conservation of our natural resources
  • Providing jobs and contributing dollars to the local economy through a locally-owned business
  • Bringing people together to network and solve local problems

Is your business, organization or community group missing from the collage below? Please send an electronic version your logo (JPG) to

Also, feel free to pass this on to others you know who are helping to build the Monadnock Region’s local economy and community.

What Does a Local Living Economy Mean to Us?

In November 2009, a group of community members gathered to explore the concept of a Local Living Economy. The BALLE Network has its own definition, but what does it mean to us – citizens of the Monadnock Region?

Here is a small sample of ideas shared.

The Monadnock Local Living Economy is a place where:

  • All citizens can have a great quality of life.
  • Our basic needs are met within our community and region.
  • Individuals realize that they are beyond the worth of their jobs.
  • A diversity of small businesses, cooperatives, municipally-owned businesses and civic-minded corporations support our economy.
  • Leadership helps identify common ground and overarching community goals.
  • Citizens are creating a new definition of what our needs really are.
  • Individuals and banks are investing in social capital.
  • We are working cooperatively and collaboratively.
  • All citizens are engaged and feel included.
  • Celebrating our community.
  • We are thinking of our community as a system.

Vision of a Monadnock Local Living Economy

Like Aesop’s Bundle of Sticks Fable, separate initiatives working to improve our region’s community and economy can be stronger if bound by unifying goals — connections, not meant to constrain, but strengthen separate initiatives — to help us create a local living economy.

The Monadnock Local Living Economy Project is an emerging community project of the Hannah Grimes Center that will encourage separate initiatives to work collectively to improve our region’s community and economy. For more information, contact the Hannah Grimes Center at 603-352-5063 or