Radically Rural hosted its first ever Solutions Hunt during the 2023 Summit. Attendees were encouraged to explore downtown Keene in order to find local organizations and businesses that are making our community better. Not only do these solutions fill a need in our community, but they are also replicable models for other communities. The solutions that we highlighted include:
Good Fortune Jewelry & Pawn’s community pantry is a great example of mutual aid. The pantry is a place for folks to donate and freely take non-perishable food items. Any rural business or organization could replicate this model by setting up a shelf outside their own building.
Yahso Jamaican Grille is owned and operated by Jamaican immigrant Gail, who has been serving authentic cuisine locally since 2019. At Yahso, local foodies can explore the unique taste of the island and Jamaican natives can feel at home with cultural food and entertainment.
Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship hosts a community garden with sunflowers, tomatoes, kale, and more. Everyone is welcome to pick fresh vegetables and enjoy them. Staff members often head out back to clip lettuce for their lunch.
Renting or purchasing a building can be a huge roadblock for new and expanding businesses. The Farm Café and Toadstool Bookshop in Keene provide a great solution: share the space! The vegan café operates inside of the regional bookshop, cutting costs and sharing customers.
The Walldogs is an internationally renowned organization of sign and mural artists. In June 2019, over 200 Walldogs artists descended on the city of Keene to voluntarily paint 16 historically-themed murals across its cityscape in a matter of 3 days.
Little Free Libraries exist all over the world. They are a great way to inspire readers and promote community. Anyone can take or leave books freely. See if your community has any existing Little Free Libraries at LittleFreeLibrary.org/Map.
Hannah Grimes Marketplace is currently home to over 250 local vendors including fine artists, glass blowers, soap makers, knitters, florists, farmers, jewelry makers, blacksmiths, woodworkers, and many more creative and passionate crafters. The Marketplace’s consignment model allows many local artisans to sell their goods without the hassle of maintaining a brick and mortar business on their own.
The Cheshire Rail Trail spans 42 miles of the Monadnock Region, crossing Fitzwilliam, Troy, Keene, Westmoreland, and North Walpole and offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities for locals and tourists alike. In the warmer months, folks like to bike, walk, and even horseback ride the trail. In the winter, the trail is available for cross country skiing and snowmobiling.
Round It Up supports the Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund, which helps local farms develop their production for wholesale markets, including selling to the Monadnock Food Co-op and Food Connects. Funding supports a range of projects, including the purchase of equipment and infrastructure, farmland conservation, packaging and labeling design needs, and technical assistance.
In 2022, The Keene Sentinel launched the Monadnock Region Health Reporting Lab, employing a dedicated health solutions reporter to better explore the problems of health care access in Cheshire County.
The Community Kitchen provides nutritious meals and groceries to community members while advocating for food security in the Monadnock Region. The Gleaning Project, started in 2013, allows the Community Kitchen to partner with other agencies and businesses in Cheshire County to provide clients with farm and garden fresh produce