NHBR will publish monthly Just One Thing feature stories based on sustainability stories you submit to our Just One Thing campaign. The following is the first in a series.
Monadnock Paper brings a farm back to life
By Melissa Proulx
Nearly a decade ago, Monadnock Paper Mills made it its mission to help a local farm get the fresh start it deserved and rebuild from the ground up – literally. And it’s a project that still impacts the way the company runs today.
In 2005, the Wilson Farm’s land in Alstead was severely damaged due to flooding, making it impossible for crops to grow. The Bennington paper mill learned the farm’s story after being contacted by Holderness-based Resource Management Inc., a company that specializes in matching consumers with recycled products. RMI sought Monadnock’s help in working with various state agencies to get the approval needed to move the Wilson Farm project forward.
“Because their property is located next to a designated river, there are certain restrictions to what they can use,” said Michelle Hamm, environmental programs manager for the paper mill.
Hamm and Shelagh Connelly, president of RMI, worked with the Department of Health and Human Services, the late Executive Councilor Ray Burton to combat concerns associated with amended soil reclamation. After looking into the specifics, it was found that a top soil known as Nutri-Soil, which is five parts sand, five parts short paper fiber, could be used on the Wilson property.
Hamm said Nutri-Soil “is high in nutrients” due to the short paper fibers, and that allows plants to thrive.
Though Monadnock and RMI had worked together to create the amended top soil previously, the work done with the Wilson Farm was a crucial way to show the state just how beneficial amended topsoils can be for farmers in similar situations.
Since this project, the paper mill has continued to do its fair share to help out with the environment – a sustainability initiative that has been a longtime focus of theirs.
“We have so many environmental projects, it’s ridiculous,” Hamm joked. “This is just a snapshot of one project.”
In the future, Hamm said the Mill will continue to stay involved and look for more projects to tackle.
“We’re a family-owned and -operated company, and we’ve also been strong community supporters. It’s just in our business’s nature to want to help out,” said Hamm. “Obviously, anything you can do to support the local community is a key part of a business model. But it’s also a feel good thing for us and helps up to build good relationships as well.”
The “Just One Thing” Campaign is an 18-month effort of New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility. Its purpose is to challenge businesses to consider incorporating a sustainability initiative into its operations. Companies can celebrate their achievements and inspire others by sharing their stories on the campaign’s webpage. To submit your story or read others, go to www.nhbsr.org/jot.