For Immediate Release
March 7, 2021

Media Contacts:
Jen Risley
Program Manager
The Local Crowd Monadnock

Luca Paris
Luca's Mediterranean Café
Phase Two of the Monadnock Restaurant Project Launching Soon
Eat, Drink and Build Community
KEENE, NH - In early February, The Local Crowd Monadnock, Culinary Journeys, and Food Connects partnered to launch the Monadnock Restaurant Project, a homegrown stimulus program to help give the local restaurant economy the shot in the arm it needs to get through this winter.

According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 69,500 individuals worked in restaurant and foodservice jobs in New Hampshire before the pandemic—representing 10% of the state’s total employment. However, more than 200 NH restaurants have permanently closed since last March. The Monadnock Restaurant Project looks to inspire community support for local restaurant owners and their employees to keep these businesses open, and their staff retained.

In one month, the project dispersed over 600 gift cards from 25 local restaurants to employers, including C&S Wholesale Grocers, Nanotech, and Savings Bank of Walpole. These businesses shared these gift cards with their staff and asked them to spend the cards quickly, providing an immediate shot in the arm to Keene's local economy this winter. The Keene Sentinel and Monadnock Broadcasting Group also distributed gift cards to community members through contests and giveaways.

Organizers are fundraising for the project through The Local Crowd Monadnock's community-based crowdfunding program. Currently, they have raised 82% of their overall goal of $30,000. Culinary Journey's contributed $10,000 to start this project, and eighty-two community supporters have donated an additional $14,500. This crowdfunding campaign continues through March:

The funds raised will be used to purchase a second round of gift cards from local restaurants and food businesses in the Keene area, businesses not included in phase one of the project.

The project also aspires to inspire others to pay it forward to support the local restaurant economy. Businesses such as The Richards Group, Historical Society of Cheshire County, and Northern Lights Cheerleading have launched their own efforts to support the Monadnock Restaurant Project movement.

“These cards are not gifts but a call to action,” said Luca Paris, owner of Luca's Mediterranean Café. “We anticipate that community members will spend at least twice the amount of what their gift card is worth, doubling the project’s impact by infusing $60,000 to these cash-strapped businesses. The more we spend locally, the more dollars we reinvest in our local economy!”

Learn more about the Monadnock Restaurant Project at
The Local Crowd Monadnock
The Local Crowd Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding program helping start-up ventures, early-growth stage companies, and community-focused projects find access to capital. Since TLC Monadnock launched in March 2017, twenty-six crowdfunding campaigns have collectively raised over $230,000 from 1,990 supporters:

Culinary Journeys

Culinary Journeys offers scholarships to culinary arts students from the Cheshire Career Center at Keene High School. Learn more on their Facebook Page.

Food Connects

Food Connects is an entrepreneurial non-profit that delivers locally produced food as well as educational and consulting services aimed at transforming local food systems. The Food Hub aggregates and delivers from over 115 local farms and food producers to over 195 buyers in southeast Vermont, southwest New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts. Their educational services focus Farm to School programming. Acknowledged as a statewide leader, the program supports over 30 schools to increase local food purchasing, school meal participation, and food, farm, and nutrition education. Together these core programs contribute to a vibrant local economy by increasing local food purchases by schools and improving students’ nutrition and academic performance. Additionally, Food Connects is frequently hired to provide leadership and consulting services for efforts aimed at transforming local food systems in the New England region:


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