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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You’re Invited: The Local Crowd Monadnock Launch Party

tlcm-final-rgb-updatedStonewall Farm in Keene will host The Local Crowd Monadnock’s Launch Party on Saturday, March 18, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.   The event includes food samples, children’s activity stations and hayrides.  Also, this event is free that is open to the public. 

The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock is a locally based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in the region.  Crowdfunding, or the practice of raising funds to support a project from a large number of people, is a viable alternative to recruiting businesses from outside the region to boost economic activity.

This project is part of a two-year research study funded by a USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant to gauge this platform’s effectiveness in rural areas.  During its pilot phase, TLC Monadnock will only accept campaign proposals from businesses, organizations or community initiatives based in Keene, Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Swanzey or Winchester.  TLC Monadnock will give preference to campaigns from these communities that also align with their respective city or town’s master plan and contribute to a local, green and fair economy.

TLC Monadnock will officially launch online on March 15, 2017 with two campaigns focused on sustainable agriculture: Archway Farm’s “Farm to Table on Wheels” project and Stonewall Farm’s “Barn Raising” project.  Supporting sustainable agriculture is a prominent part of Keene’s Comprehensive Master Plan.

“TLC Monadnock is about us — our region, our community — and the goals we’ve created around economic development and prosperity,” said Jen Risley, Monadnock Buy Local Executive Director.  “We invite everyone to become a campaign supporter — it doesn’t matter where you live.”

TLC Monadnock is a collaboration of regional economic development organizations working to cultivate a stronger ecosystem of investors, service providers and local economy champions.  A team of community leaders from Southwest Region Planning Commission, Monadnock Buy Local, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Monadnock Economic Development Corporation and Hannah Grimes Center manages this crowdfunding platform.

Discover more details and updates at monadnocklocal.org/tlclaunch or contact Jen Risley at jen@monadnocklocal.org or 603-499-7950.

From Hurricane to Climate Change

“According to environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, ‘Climate change is actually the biggest thing that’s going on every single day.’ In response, the Monadnock Institute of Nature, Place and Culture at Franklin Pierce University, with support from New Hampshire Humanities, has produced a documentary film focused on climate change adaptation and resiliency in New Hampshire’s Monadnock region.” – New Hampshire Humanities

The Latest Local Economy Buzz: Pollinator Enterprises

Yarden of Eatin'

“In nature pollinators like bees, butterflies, or bats carry pollen from plant to plant, and they instinctively know that the intermixing of these pollens nourishes the entire ecosystem. Pollinator businesses similarly carry the best elements of one local business to another, thereby fertilizing all local businesses and creating a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

~ Michael Shuman, The Local Economy Solution

This spring, Monadnock Buy Local is excited to offer a unique opportunity for our region — one that we hope creates much “buzz” and boosts our collective efforts to grow our local economy.  Michael Shuman, author and a leading expert on community economics, will visit our region on April 7 – 8 to share the latest buzz in local economy work — pollinator enterprises.  He will provide inspiration for developing, launching and amplifying the work of new and existing pollinator enterprises here in the Monadnock Region and beyond.


Pollinator Enterprises…

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The Latest Local Economy Buzz: Pollinator Enterprises

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

“In nature pollinators like bees, butterflies, or bats carry pollen from plant to plant, and they instinctively know that the intermixing of these pollens nourishes the entire ecosystem. Pollinator businesses similarly carry the best elements of one local business to another, thereby fertilizing all local businesses and creating a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

~ Michael Shuman, The Local Economy Solution

This spring, Monadnock Buy Local is excited to offer a unique opportunity for our region — one that we hope creates much “buzz” and boosts our collective efforts to grow our local economy.  Michael Shuman, author and a leading expert on community economics, will visit our region on April 6 – 7 to share the latest buzz in local economy work — pollinator enterprises.  He will provide inspiration for developing, launching and amplifying the work of new and existing pollinator enterprises here in the Monadnock Region and beyond.


Pollinator Enterprises are innovative, self-financing businesses and nonprofits that drive job growth and community prosperity by supporting economic planning, entrepreneurship, local purchasing, workforce development, collaboration and local investing.  They are diverse in nature and include youth entrepreneurship schools, local debit cards, makerspaces and local farm delivery services.

The success of these businesses is not solely tied to their financial bottom line, but is connected to community goals like the percentage of jobs in locally owned businesses, number of citizens prepared to start a new business, survival rate of local businesses and other social and environmental measures.

Shuman’s book “The Local Economy Solution” digs deeper into 28 models of Pollinator Enterprises.  Here are just a few examples to pique your interest:

Fundación Paraguaya runs agriculture education schools in Paraguay financed through the revenues generated by student-run enterprises.  Their theory is to “learn by doing, selling and earning.”

Fledge is a business accelerator in Seattle that offers training and mentorship for startup mission-based businesses.  It actually pays the startup to participate in its program, set up as an investment in the company.  Fledge then earns equity from the startups that graduate from its program and launch into successful socially responsible businesses.

Tucson Originals is an alliance of locally owned restaurants in Southern Arizona that buys supplies in bulk and markets the benefits of dining locally.  More importantly, they work to preserve the heart and soul of their regional culinary culture.

Credibles, based in San Francisco, is an online platform where customers can pre-pay for food from their favorite restaurant, coffee shop or grocery store, and that business receives critical capital needed to grow their business.

Main Street Genome, based in Washington, DC, looks closely at a business’ operations to identify inefficiencies.  The savings gained from fixing those weaknesses are split between Main Street Genome and each business it works with.

What about Pollinator Enterprises that already exist in our region?  There are many businesses and nonprofits with Pollinator Enterprise-like qualities.  We hope to see more of them become self-financing in the future.

They include the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship’s Incubator Program, Monadnock Buy Local’s emerging Debit/Loyalty Card Program, Monadnock Table Magazine, Monadnock Art x Tech Markerspace, Make It So Makerspace, Monadnock Menus, New England Web & Tech Collective, Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing, YEA! Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Arts Alive!, Team Jaffrey, Keene Downtown Group and many more yet to be identified.  Help us add to this list by contacting monadnockbuylocal@gmail.com.  Stay tuned for more Monadnock Region Pollinator Enterprises at monadnocklocal.org/monadnockpollinators.

We invite you to learn more about Pollinator Enterprises at Michael Shuman’s free public talk on April 7th at 7 p.m. at the Keene State College Alumni Center. This event is part of the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Issues Series and is sponsored by the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, Healthy Monadnock, Keene Yoga Center and W.S. Badger Company.  Michael will also lead a more in-depth daylong workshop on April 8th at the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship.  Learn more at monadnocklocal.org/pollinators.

Our region has a strong vision for a sustainable community and solid economic development plans to get us there.  Let’s expand our capacity to implement this work!  Pollinator enterprises illuminate a path forward for us — towards our collective vision.  Please explore this new model of community economic development with us, and discover how we can help our local economy flourish.