LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER: Small Business – Big Opportunity Forum

Tuesday, May 2nd 11:30 – 1:30
Portland Regency Hotel
No cost to attend, registration is required.

There’s still time to register (just barely) for the Small Business Big Opportunity forum being presented during National Small Business Week!
For more information &  Register here.

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Ocean Approved has some extra processing space. . .

Due to the seasonality of our crop, our processing facility is not in use during the months of July, August, September and part of October.  We are licensed for Seaweed, Vegetables, and Fruits.

Our 6,400 sqft facility is located just off the turnpike in Saco. We have a cooler, blast freezer, and some warehouse freezer space. For blanching we have 2 30 gallon tilt skillets, and we have vacuum sealers. The facility has a loading dock and plenty of room.

If you know of anyone looking for space please pass this along. We are happy to entertain folks coming in for a week or two at a time, or for a few days at a time as the space is sitting idle during those months.
Recipes & Farming Updates
(207) 409-6485

Ocean Approved, Inc.
P.O. Box 8129
Portland, ME 04104

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Blue Ox Malthouse is Hiring!

Blue Ox Malthouse is seeking two hardworking, dynamic individuals to join our current team as we work to position the company as a leader in the new, nationally emerging craft malt industry. We are asking for the help of our partners and people like you who are familiar with our company and values.

We are looking to fill the following two positions with the right people as soon as possible. Exact duties, titles, and responsibilities of the roles will be discussed with potential candidates and are subject to further adjustment and refinement.

Please have anyone who may be a good fit for these positions reach out to me, Joel, at the contact information below.

Position 1- Assistant Maltster
Full time
Malt production focused activities (~80% of time)
Ensure QC standards of the malthouse are being met
Warehouse, facilities maintenance, and misc. projects (~20% time)
Physical work and heavy lifting required
Requires some nights and weekends
Compensation competitive for the industry
Position 2-Assistant Maltster/Malthouse Manager
Full time
Malt production focused activities (~50-60% of time)
Responsible for Malthouse Management (40-50% of time), including
Scheduling production activities (including cleaning)
Scheduling and managing production staff
Upholding high QC standards of the malthouse
Coordinate pulling and shipping out orders
Inventorying raw materials, finished product, and production materials
Scheduling maintenance (facility and equipment) and performing some maintenance
Improving process and documentation when/where needed
Sharing “on call” duties with Maltsters (i.e. Joel, Maltster/CEO and David, Maltster/Sales)
Physical work and heavy lifting required
Requires some nights and weekends
Compensation competitive for the industry
Blue Ox Malthouse LLC is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes candidates who embrace and reflect diverse communities.
Joel Alex

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Support LD 1338 at a public hearing on 4/26

The majority of Maine’s business, farms and multi-unity housing is owned by people nearing or at retirement age, many of whom don’t have succession plans.  In Maine, 400,000 acres of farmland is expected to change hands in the next ten years.  LD 1338 will help farmers sell their farm,​ ​​and business owners sell their business, to a community or worker-owned cooperative. Additionally, it will help owners of housing, including multi-unit buildings and manufactured housing parks to sell to their residents in a housing cooperative.  The bill is sponsored by Rep.Martin Grohman (D-Biddeford), Rep.Karl Ward (R-Dedham), Rep.Craig Hickman (D-Winthrop), Sen. Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot), Sen Michael Carpenter (D-Aroostook), Rep. Ralph Chapman (D-Brooksville), and Rep Owen Cass (I-Rockland). We currently have a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday 4/26 in front of the Taxation Committee.
We would love to have members ​​of Slow Money Maine to submit testimony, either written or in-person, in support of this bill.  Also if you know any farmers or business owners that you think would support this bill, please let us know.

The bill has 2 provisions:
Ex​e​mpt from income tax the proceeds of the sale of a business, farm, mobile home park or apartment building to an employee or cooperative owned enterprise.  Democrats and Republicans to pass a similar bill in NJ, and Iowa recently passed a similar law.  At the federal level, the sale of a C Corp to employees (either as an ESOP or worker cooperative) essentially eliminates most of the capital gains tax, and many Rs and Ds, from Bernie Sanders to very conservative folks are sponsors of legislation that would extend that treatment to S Corps.  Both King and Collins are sponsors of that legislation.  Additionally, 8 states have tax incentives for selling a mobile home parks to residents, including Washington, Oregon and North Carolina.
Exempt interest income from tax for sellers or ME banks earned from financing such conversions.

LD1338 Ownership Economy legislation fact sheet

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SMM Meeting Minutes: April 12, 2017

Our first meeting of Spring included a great mix of networking, food and presentations. Bonnie provided hints of our daylong gathering on Nov. 8th, with the theme of “Stepping Up to the Plate.” This year’s focus will be on several forms of community investing in food systems, through the partnerships of buyers and producers, farm to food pantry gleaning endeavors and the loans, grants and equity choices of courageous funders. Judy Wicks, founder of the White Dog Cafe in Philly, will be our keynote speaker and will share her varied endeavors as a leading local food systems pioneer and activist.

Bonnie also shared her own personal challenges with current national and world turmoil and confirmed that SMM will be moving into more political engagement given intensified needs created by current national and state leadership. Examples of our new intentions will be a meeting of funders with Chellie Pingree this summer to address potential budget cuts effecting agriculture & food businesses. We will also have the 2018 Farm Bill as the topic of our next gathering on October 4th, in the pre-meeting focus group. It is clear to us that education of consumers and legislators is especially vital given the challenges of our times.

Meanwhile, enjoy the energizing aspects of Spring and planting of several types of seeds that repeatedly offer possibilities of growth, beauty and harmony.

Pre-Meeting Focus Group
Karen/West MTI/SBIR Program

For food business startups needing early-stage capital, Karen West from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) is here to help.  Karen presented about the Small Business Association’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant.  SBIR grants provide recipients with $100,000 to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed business–no match required and no strings attached.  Though only about 10% of applicants receive this grant funding annually, working with Karen on the application and getting ongoing feedback from the SBA during the process can greatly benefit any startup regardless of the outcome.  Karen also discussed several grant opportunities at MTI.  To learn more, contact Karen at 207-845-2934 or at


Kelly and Mark LaCasse/ The Maine Meal

The Maine Meal is based out of Skowhegan, Maine and we are proud to be the third generation of our family conducting business out of our Madison Ave. building. As food processors, our mission is to support a strong and healthy Maine food system by committing to 80% local procurement of ingredients for a line of gourmet frozen cuisine. Over the last 5 years we have experienced consistent growth as we found our niche in direct to consumer sales through farmers’ markets in Maine. As we come to a close with our scale-up project with MEP and SBDC, we are positioning ourselves to increase our annual sales by 75%.
Goals for 2017 include:

* Increasing our product line to include frozen ravioli and fresh pasta by purchasing Blue Ribbon Farm’s Pasta Fresca company.
* Developing new packaging to accommodate wholesale accounts (boxes with nutrition labels appropriate for freezer displays.)
* Completing kitchen renovations and small equipment purchases to comply with wholesale licensing and new production volumes.
* Launching a marketing campaign to begin at trade shows and break into new markets.

2017/2018 here we come!!!!!

Kelly LaCasse, Mark LaCasse
4 Madison Avenue
Skowhegan, ME 04976
Maine Meal presentation

Amanda Parks and Tim Rider/ New England Fishmongers
New England Fishmongers, LLC is a direct off-of-the-boat seafood company. Owners Timothy Rider, captain of his boat the F/V Finlander, docked in Eliot, Maine and Amanda Parks, operate the business. The company is registered with the state of New Hampshire and operates in the greater seacoast area and provides dayboat hook-caught groundfish from the Finlander and other hook fishing boats to local restaurants. New England Fishmonger’s mission is to provide high quality fish directly moved from boat to chefs while promoting the sustainability and craftsmanship of commercial rod and reel fishing. New England Fishmongers (NEFM) wishes to act as a model to show how this model’s marketing program can be profitable to both businesses as well as fishermen.

Tim Rider, Amanda Parks
Ph: 603. 707.7517

NE Fishmongers Presentation

Mohamed Abukar, Batula Ismail, Jabril Abdi, Seynab Ali w/ Hussein Muktar interpreting/New Roots Cooperative Farm

New Roots Cooperative Farm is starting a new 30-acre farm in Lewiston that will provide vegetables to people in Southern Maine and economic security and land access for New American farmers.  New Roots’ farmers Seynab Ali, Jabril Abdi, Mohamed Abukar and Batula Ismail originally farmed in Somalia and for the past 10 years have farmed with Cultivating Community in Lisbon. Now, they are starting their own farm in Lewiston and seeking support to develop their infrastructure and grow their markets so that they can continue to put down New Roots in Maine.



contact Jonah Fertig
954 College Street, Lewiston, ME,
New Roots Cooperative Farm Presentation

Lisa Fernandez/The Resilience Hub

The Resilience Hub is a collaborative non-profit organization based in Portland Maine. Our mission is to build resilience at the personal, household and community levels while creating thriving examples of abundance based on ecological wisdom. We do this by offering a range of events, education and training as well as resilience-building services and projects. We operate at local, statewide and regional scales. Our work touches on all the realms traditionally encompassed by Permaculture (land use, energy, water, buildings, etc.) but with special focus on food and creating new economic models.

Lisa Fernandez
224 Anderson Street
Portland, ME
Resilience Hub Presentation


Elizabeth Sprague/Food Hub Feasibility Study
Bangor Region Food Hub Consortium engaged Maine Farmland Trust’s Farm Business Planning program to help the Consortium understand the wholesale demand for Maine-grown food and ingredients within a 50 mile radius of Bangor/Orono. This work established whether regional demand can support development of a new, centralized food hub. MFT’s extensive market analysis is available for download at the project website:

Bill Giordano/SYRA
The Maine Sustainable Year Round Agriculture (SYRA), being led my the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society and ArchSolar, LLC has entered its 3rd and final year as a “Cluster Initiative”. The SYRA project has brought the agriculture, clean tech, and composites industries together to develop solutions for some of the most energy intensive aspects of agriculture in Maine. New greenhouses and storage structures built by ArchSolar LLC are in use in Buxton and Waldoboro. Our demonstration site in New Gloucester is trialing lighting efficiency for indoor food production and an aquaponic fertilizer/filtration system for their year round hydroponic basil production.

All sites are being monitored for energy savings, heating efficiency and overall productivity for the farm. Energy and heating data are being collected through remote monitoring and low cost multi-sensors developed by project partners . Remote monitoring has become an invaluable piece of the project. We are currently collecting data from all demonstration sites (eg heating, electricity, and production) and developing a user interface or “SYRA Dashboard” that will help farmers make informed choices about year round infrastructure improvement options and assess their over all cost per square foot and payback. Open houses for the summer and fall will be announced later this month, and we are also beginning to plan for a Year Round Agriculture conference in March of 2018. Please visit to keep up with the latest developments.

Eric Holstein/Fork Food Lab

Maine’s one-day celebration of food, wrapped into an interactive educational forum and night-long creative food festival will be held at Portland’s Thompson’s Point June 22nd. During the day, hundreds of food entrepreneurs will partner with business, finance and marketing leaders to learn how to start up, scale-up and accelerate their food businesses. And in the evening, Thompson’s Point will morph into a food, music and arts festival, showcasing new food launches, cooking competitions and Maine craft brew tastings. The Portland Food Launch and Festival will be the year’s premiere networking event for all Maine food entrepreneurs and associated businesses catering to the state’s emerging food scene. The event is sponsored by Fork Food Lab, the Greater Portland Council of Governments and Norway Savings Bank.

Craig Lapine/ Cultivating Community
Founded in 2001, Cultivating Community creates and sustains greater access to healthy, local foods; empowers people to play many roles in restoring the local, sustainable food system; and models, teaches, and advocates for ecological food production.

Craig provided an update about a prospective new farm in Falmouth for New Americans as well as relaying news about the possibility of the Packard-Littlefield farm going up for sale.

207. 761.GROW

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A few job postings!

Marsh River Coop is Hiring
Category: Part-Time
Phone: 207.722.3053
Posted: Apr 09, 2017
The Marsh River Cooperative in Brooks is currently hiring for a part-time Retail Associate. Position is 6 to 9 hours a week in the morning. Full job description at E-mail resumes to or bring them to the store. Accepting resumes through April 23rd.

Main Street Markets in Rockland is hiring a store buyer (produce & grocery). We source local and responsible products. This is a 3/4-full time position.
(207) 594-8515

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Greenhorn’s Episode Six-Growing a Regional Food Economy video

Check out this video;  It stars Marada and Leah, and our farmer friends; David Ouellette, Chubb Dion, and Jay LaJoie.  And also serves as a great tribute to Kate and Jim Cook.  Big shoes. “Episode Six” – Growing a Regional Food Economy.

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USM Food Studies Program registration is OPEN!

Registration is open at USM! The Food Studies Program has a stellar line-up of classes on offer. Check our our Fall 2017 course guide here:

More info coming soon about:
our paid internship program (launching Fall 2017)
our graduate certificate (launching Spring 2018)
upcoming events

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Principle Six Conference

Principle Six Conference
rescheduled to ​
Saturday April 29th from 9:30am-4pm ​at
Christ Church​,​ 2 Dresden Ave. in Gardiner​.

It was challenging to find a date that worked to reschedule ​​the conference, ​which is why we had a delay on getting back to you.  Sorry to folks for whom this date doesn’t work.   Through the Principle Six conference and our work in co-ops we are working together to build a better Maine, where people have homes, food, and  jobs, and our environment is respected. ​​Help us grow this movement and cooperative economy in Maine.  ​

If you already registered for the original date of April 1st and are now unable to come please let us know.

How can we build a cooperative economy in Maine?
Cooperative Maine turned 10 years old on March 25th.   This year’s Principle Six Conference will be an opportunity for us to reflect on the past 10 years while looking forward to build a stronger network of cooperatives that can help us all meet our needs and fulfill our aspirations.
The day will feature large group discussions about creating a Maine cooperative business association, sector specific conversations (such as consumer food co-ops, housing, and worker co-ops) on common needs and aspirations, and a block of workshops to expand skills and knowledge.

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The New Food Economy – Who’s benefiting from the billions invested in food startups? Not Middle America

A fascinating article about on the failure of Oklahoma City’s Urban Agrarian—and why local food is struggling outside the coastal bubbles — that applies to all local food communities across the country —  See full article here.

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