Monadnock Food Co-op Announces Fourth Year of Farm Fund: Supporting Sustainable Local Food Production

Applications Due February 1, 2020

The Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund program, in partnership with the Cheshire County Conservation District, is now accepting applications from local farmers. Currently, in its fourth year, the fund has supported nine farms in the Monadnock Region.

This year, the Farm Fund will award up to $27,000 to help farms in Cheshire County and abutting New Hampshire towns develop or expand their production for wholesale markets, including selling to the Monadnock Food Co-op and Food Connects. Farmers may apply for grants ranging from $500 to $10,000. Funds can be used to support a range of projects, including the purchase of equipment and infrastructure, packaging and labeling design needs, and technical assistance.

Interested farmers are invited to attend one of two Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund Information Sessions:

  • Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 12 p.m. at the Hannah Grimes Center in Keene
  • Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 12 p.m. at the Cheshire County Conservation District Office in Walpole

Information session details and registration are at

“The Farm Fund empowers local farmers to grow their businesses to help them become more financially sustainable,” said Michael Faber, Monadnock Food Co-op General Manager. “It also helps the co-op broaden its offerings of locally grown, raised, and made foods – that means more local food for you, your family, and our community.”
A Request for Proposals and an application are available at Applications are due February 1, 2020.

Tax-deductible donations to this fund can be made to the Cheshire County Conservation District at Additional fundraising activities will occur at the Monadnock Food Co-op, including a Round It Up Donation Drive in January & February 2020.

The Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund’s mission is to support local farmers in increasing sustainable food production and wholesale sales to contribute to a thriving local farm economy. This grant supports several of the co-op’s goals, including building a healthy, sustainable food system, supporting local farmers and producers, and contributing to a strong, sustainable, and improving local economy.

For more information on eligibility, please visit or call Amanda Littleton at the Conservation District at 603-756-2988 ext. 4.

Monadnock Food Co-op Round It Up Drive Donates $3,140 to Community Garden Connections

Shoppers at the Monadnock Food Co-op collectively donated $3,140 to the Community Garden Connections (CGC). The Monadnock Food Co-op held a month-long Round It Up Donation Drive during October to support Community Garden Connections. Customers rounded up their purchases to donate their change to support this local organization.

The funds raised during this donation drive will go towards helping CGC expand its educational opportunities for gardeners, deepen their relationship with community partners, and continue to increase access to healthy food and healthy environments in the Monadnock region.

The co-op’s Round It Up donation program empowers shoppers to make a positive change in their community by rounding up their change for local agencies like the CGC and The Community Kitchen. During the co-op’s last fiscal year, the Round It Up program raised over $36,700 and supported seven non-profits.

About Community Garden Connections

Community Garden Connections (CGC) serves to build local capacity to grow food. It addresses food insecurity related to climate change, personal and communal health, and resiliency. With the help of a private donation from the Rashti Foundation, CGC supports the installation and cooperative maintenance of raised gardens in partnership with local service agencies, students, and community members. These funds also support educational outreach to meet the specific gardening interests of community partners.

A Decade of Plaid Friday Celebrations in the Monadnock Region

For the tenth year, independent businesses and community members in the Monadnock Region will celebrate Plaid Friday on the day after Thanksgiving. This year’s event falls on Friday, November 29, 2019.

Individuals will wear plaid on Plaid Friday to show support for the local economy and their commitment to spending more of their dollars at locally owned businesses during the holiday season. Last year, nearly 400 community members pledged to participate in Plaid Friday.

To amplify this year’s event, Savings Bank of Walpole will host a Plaid Friday Week from Friday, November 29 to Tuesday, December 3.  The bank will set up information tables at each of their branches with Plaid Friday swag to inspire more people to participate in this year’s event.  Community members are encouraged to wear plaid throughout this week and stop by the bank’s Marlboro Street branch to take a selfie in front of the bank’s Plaid Friday backdrop.  Savings Bank of Walpole will then share these photos on social media to further promote this event.

“With Savings Bank of Walpole (SBW) being the community’s local bank, we want to show our support for our local businesses,” said Danielle Ruffo, Savings Bank of Walpole’s new Community Engagement Coordinator.  “SBW serves many customers in our community — and keeping your money local is what we are all about.  Supporting Plaid Friday and the ‘Shop Indie Local’ movement is all part of helping our local community thrive and grow.”

Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of local and independent businesses. It’s a fun and festive alternative to the “Black Friday” consumer frenzy perpetuated by big box stores.  This event originated in Oakland, CA with the intent to bring back the times when shopping for friends and family was a pleasurable and leisurely activity.

A growing list of locally owned businesses will serve as Plaid Friday Hubs, photographing customers decked out in plaid and answering questions about this event.  View a list of Plaid Friday Hubs.

Local photographer Kim Peck will host a Plaid Friday Photo Booth outside of The Toadstool Bookshop at 12 Depot Square in Peterborough (times TBD). In Keene, Ted’s Shoe & Sport at 115 Main Street will host a Plaid Friday Photo Booth inside his store with Luxury Box Photo Booth, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The photo booth will then move to Elm City Brewery at 222 West Street (times TBD). Photos will be added to a Plaid Friday collage, celebrating all who wore plaid:

A number of participating businesses will offer specials to honor the day and thank community members for their support. View these specials.

Plaid Friday is part of the “Shop Indie Local” movement growing throughout North America.  From November 1 to December 31, Shop Indie Local encourages residents to choose local and independent businesses for more of their holiday purchases.

The Monadnock Region’s Plaid Friday event is sponsored by Beeze Tees Screen Printing, CC&D’s Kitchen, Cheshire Horse, Creative Encounters, Cultural Cocoon, The Dragonfly Shop,  Elm City Brewery, The Farm Cafe, Food Connects, Frogg Brewing, Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Joseph’s Coat, Korvin Appliance, LuvINK&Paper, The Luxury Box Photo Booth, Marcia Kayser, Mayfair Farm, Monadnock Food Co-op, One Stop Country Pet Supply, Peterborough Art Academy, Prime Roast Coffee, Savings Bank of Walpole, Ted’s Shoe & Sport, Toadstool Bookshops in Keene and Peterborough, Tribals – Rugs by Hand and  The Works Cafe.

The Food Collaborative Meeting Follow-Up

From the Food Collaborative


On behalf of the core team for The Food Collaborative, I want to express our great appreciation for everyone who was able to participate in our Launch Gathering on October 17th. We also appreciate those who were interested, but not able to attend. We know how busy life can get! We had a great time imagining the exciting community that we can build by strengthening our local food system through infrastructure development. Everyone is invited to join us and invite other interested/curious community members as we take our next steps forward. These steps include:

The community building team (“heart”) will meet on Monday, November 11th at 2 PM in the Buckminster Room at the Hannah Grimes Center, 25 Roxbury St in Keene.

The physical and logistics team (“brain”) will meet Wednesday, November 20th at 9 AM in the Vincent Room at the Keene Public Library, 60 Winter St.

These will be our only meetings in the remainder of 2019, but we will get back to work in January and by the end of 2020, we will develop a business plan for our multi-purpose food innovation center for downtown Keene. During our Launch Gathering, we brainstormed about the impacts our business could have on the community. Here is a summary of the the great ideas that were shared:

The Food Collaborative

Launch event at Hannah Grimes Center 10/17/19


Participants’ visions:

●     active teens cooking, culinary career skills

●     more local farms that are supported

●     expanded farmers’ market all year

●     food businesses and farms owned by the younger generation

●     fewer cars, more active transportation

●     pickling emporium

●     agritourism is strong

●     agri-culinary identity in the region

●     more local foods in our restaurants

●     thriving collaboration across existing organizations

●     neighborhood-focused markets

●     annual local food parade

●     local, fresh, healthy food is a right, not a privilege

●     intergenerational food education mentorship

●     hospital food is locally sourced

●     ag/food teaching programs have waiting lists

●     garden tool lending library

●     diverse community where food is a part of new life

●     food co-op and other stores selling 50% local

●     measurably large percent of food in schools is local

●     all schools have their own gardens

●     move toward bulk and away from single-use packaging

●     safe, social space for community meals

●     50% of lawns replaced with gardens

●     people come to tour the cheese caves

●     composting

●     heirloom seed research institute and climate change

●     increase in youth eating healthy

●     decreased homelessness due to rise in employment

●     food-related business incubator

●     ripple effect businesses

●     new jobs for farm to school processing

●     quantifiable decrease in food insecurity and increase in community health

●     Hannah Grimes shop has to expand

●     even more integration with KSC programs

●     students from KSC and AUNE stay in the region

●     internet-based business

●     we grow an expanded pallette of food to appeal to many cultures

●     extended learning opportunities and internships… wait list

●     food gauntlet; place with food trucks, food businesses, music, etc.

●     crickets

●     more microfinancing options

●     at next meeting: 3+ examples of food hubs

●     greenhouses

●     breweries, cideries, meaderies, distilleries, etc.

Resources to check into, recommended by participants:

Microfinance through local banks

Walldogs model


Conferences – Slow Food, Slow Money

food track at Radically Rural


“We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people” – Greystone Bakery, Yonkers


Thank you so much and feel free to keep in touch!

Sarah Harpster (Feel free to email with any questions or to obtain a copy of materials from the launch gathering)

And the core team: Phoebe Bray, Jess Gerrior, Rachel Brice, and Roe Ann Tasoulas
Contact the Organizer