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Community Conversations: Food spoke links farms, brewers, more

The discussion is Wednesday, March 6, at 7 p.m. at the Monadnock Center



Friday, March 01, 2019 1:48PM

When moving from Ireland to the U.S. in 2012, my wife and I firmly vowed to live in a strong community to which we could positively contribute and be active for many years; a community full of the beauty of nature; forward, creative-thinking people; with a grounded connection to nature and an informed sense of the world.

In August 2018, while on our way to hike Mount Monadnock, we stumbled upon Parker and Sons in Peterborough. With that, the trap was set; Peterborough spun its magic, and we were spell-bound. We looked at properties that afternoon, and immediately made plans to move.

In November, we became residents. We are both professional musicians (I am the founding member of the Three Irish Tenors, and Tara is a violinist, singer and composer. Together we have a band called ISHNA – watch out for us at Cooper’s Hill Irish Pub, 7 p.m., St. Patrick’s Day). We are also owners of Foundation Kitchen LLC. – a shared commercial kitchen space for incubating start-up food businesses. We currently have two facilities in Somerville, Mass., and 24 different member food companies.

Having decided on moving to Peterborough, we reached out to the town to see if there was any appetite (pardon the pun) for a shared kitchen facility in the area. Lo and behold, we were informed that there had been a year-long feasibility study about a shared kitchen. The one thing from preventing it happening was operational expertise. (Until now). Hopefully, we may find ourselves opening a facility in Peterborough in the near future.

As part of this discussion with the town, we were introduced to Dawn Wivell of Firebrand International, a consulting firm contracted by the town of Peterborough to create an economic ecosystem dialogue based on a hub and spoke model.

“Now, what on earth does all that mean?” I asked.

In return, I was asked, “Do you want to head up the Food Spoke?” To which I agreed, before getting an answer as to what this was all about!

It turns out that it is a pretty simple, yet brilliant, means to gather together people from many sectors: Business, arts, agriculture, and tourism (corporations or individuals). Together, they can exchange ideas about how to support, nurture, and promote the resources of the region.

There are several “spokes” to the wheel. These are focus groups, such as the Arts Spoke, Merchants Spoke, Draw-Down Spoke and the Grow, Eat, Drink Monadnock Spoke. Each spoke has an appointed spokesperson. The hub is comprised of the spokespersons from each spoke. The topics discussed at each spoke meeting are then covered at hub meetings.

The mission of the Grow. Eat. Drink Monadnock Spoke is to facilitate communication, collaboration, and problem-solving across the wide spectrum of food- and beverage-based businesses in the Monadnock Region; actively support and promote locally grown and produced products for the purpose of further developing those businesses; and establish the Monadnock region as a world-class destination for food, beverage, and agriculture.

In my view, some of the biggest untapped resources of the area are the quality agriculture that exists along with the world-class artisanal foods and breweries in the area. Never before has local food and craft brewing been more popular throughout the country. Now is the time to put the Monadnock Region on the global “Foodie” map!

Grow. Eat. Drink. Monadnock – By Land – By Hand!

Ciaran Nagle and his wife Tara have been are international performers and business entrepreneurs. They founded Foundation Kitchen in November 2015.

Community Conversations:

Discuss the Economic Ecosystem Hub

Peterborough area a hot bed of potential

What is the purpose of these hubs and spokes?

Food spoke links farms, brewers, more

Education to fuel the future