Julia Shanks Food Consulting newsletter

“Why can I make more money…. and what to do about it” is the subject of this month’s newsletter.  Read about it here.
Also, here are a couple of workshops coming up:

  • February 14: Reading Financial Statements can help you understand where your cash is going so you can hold onto more of it.
  • February 27: Excel for Farmers will help you better create and manage your cash flow management tools.
  • February 13: Financial Management Calendar WebinarYou know that financial management is key to sustaining your business. But what exactly needs to be done, and when? What should you prioritize during the growing season, and what can wait for winter?

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Grassroots Solutions Roundtable

Saturday, February 24th
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Bangor Arts Exchange

The Grassroots Fund and its partners invites funders to join an interactive conversation with grassroots organizers from across social and environmental perspectives to discuss creative, inclusive, and holistic climate change solutions for Maine. This is an opportunity to hear directly from folks on the ground about what they are experiencing in communities and to identify climate and energy connections with a variety of sectors – broadening and strengthening our climate movement!

Please see the announcement below for more details about the event. We encourage you to invite grantees to join us as well while we explore exciting new ideas and support emerging efforts through our collaborative Maine Grassroots Sustainability Solutions Fund.  Space is limited and registration is necessary.

We hope to see you on February 24th!

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SMM Meeting Minutes: January 31st, 2018

Even with a snow cancellation, our rescheduled January SMM gathering drew a substantial crowd to greet the new year on a clear sunny afternoon. Bonnie welcomed everyone, both familiar and new, and spoke of the buoying effects of our ongoing shared intentions and actions, reflecting caring and creative collaboration that is much needed in our world. To highlight our needs for deepening cross-cultural understandings and connections, she asked Muhidin Libah, leader of the Somali Bantu Community Association in Lewiston, to share a prayer from his culture that honors resting time between the harvest and growing seasons. She then asked everyone to hold hands in silence while sharing their own blessings for the coming year.

Our program offerings were admittedly beyond typical fullness, given that October was our last regular gathering and there’s been a lot of SMM activity in the months since then!

From noon to 1, Hannah Semler led a a Focus Group with “Gleaning” as the topic and Heather Omand facilitated a conversation among TA providers. In the 1-4 p.m. slot, engaging presentations and updates captured the interests of audience members, and the tasty variety of food treats was notable for a wintry day!

It was wonderful to be re-energized by all participants and we look forward to expanding our network and its impact in 2018! Note that April 11th will be the date of our next regular gathering in Gardiner, though we’re already planning some new offerings in coming months throughout the state. Stay tuned!!!  ~~ Bonnie

Pre-Meeting Focus Group:
Gleaning: Past, Present and Future – Hannah Semler

The Maine Gleaning Network Focus Group discussed the past, present and future of gleaning in Maine. The room was filled by caterers, members of food council networks, gleaners, and farmer cooperative representatives, as well as funders and members of lending groups. The conversation started with a description of what gleaning has represented for food security organizations in Maine, supporting their efforts to provide more local fresh produce to community members wanting to access these nutritious foods. After some conversation about the social impact of gleaning, participants shared the ways in which groups can design this into their strategy, by involving groups that benefit directly from the gleaning activities, not only in access to fresh food, but also in being exposed to new perspectives of local farming as well as opportunities for a socializing and engaging outdoor experience on Maine farms.

Hannah Semler – hannahmsemler@gmail.com


Hatchet Cove Farm : Reba Richardson and Bill Pluecker

Farmers Reba Richardson and Bill Pluecker of Hatchet Cove Farm in Warren have been committed to prioritizing CSA accessibility and affordability since the start of their farming operation in 2004. As social safety nets in the state have become more and more frayed, they have worked to increase CSA member financial aid and to develop a plan to ensure CSA affordability for those who have been prematurely excluded from receiving food stamps and other forms of social assistance. Their goal is to make member installment payments more feasible for CSA farms by simplifying farm bookkeeping and minimizing risk, thus making healthy local foods affordable and accessible to as wide a range of the community as possible.

Reba Richardson – Bill Pluecker

Rosemont Market – Joe Appel

Rosemont Market and Bakery is at this point a group of six small-scale grocery markets in Portland, Yarmouth and Cape Elizabeth.  We began with a single store in the Rosemont neighborhood of Portland in 2005. With each new store we’ve opened, we have sought to respond to and serve the neighborhood that surrounds it. All our stores share a certain spirit and feel, but each is distinguished from the others — in both product selection and atmosphere — by the uniqueness of its own community.

We sell produce, meat, cheeses and other dairy; deli items including our own cured meats; grocery and specialty items; beer, wine and other beverages; and prepared foods for snacks, lunch and dinner. We do all our own butchering of whole animals raised locally, and we’re a great bakery as well, producing handmade pastry, naturally leavened breads, and cookies, pies and cakes.

Rosemont’s overall mission is to support local farming and food production, simultaneously meeting and expanding consumer demand. We are currently seeking a USDA Local Food Promotion Program Implementation grant, to help fund a new facility which would consolidate all our non-store operations under one roof: reception and distribution of products, baking, cooking, butchery, warehouse. This would generate growth on the supply side, for small to mid-size farmers and producers in Maine. The grant would also fund our ability to keep up on the demand side, by supporting deep research and practical improvements to our marketing program. We intend to use this grant to strengthen our role in both increasing and serving the ever increasing consumer demand for locally produced foods, while simultaneously being a positive force for local economic growth.

Joe Appel – joe@rosemontmarket.com

Local Foods Builds Strong Communities – Jim Hannah/ Muhidin Libah

Local Food Builds Strong Communities presented by Muhidin Libah, Somali Bantu Community Association and Jim Hanna, Cumberland County Food Security Council.

Local food supports nutritious diets, stimulates regional economies,  sustains healthy environments and creates strong social connections. CCFSC has a strategy we call Closing the Hunger Gap with Local Food. The most effective approach to addressing food insecurity is putting the means of food production in the hands of people with limited resources.

So CCFSC has allied with the Somali Bantu Community Association and supports its Community Farming Program. In 2017, the program had 135 farmers growing on three farms cultivating a total of 16 acres. This season the program will support livestock production, goats and chickens, for the first time. Its most important goal is land security, which would mean owning 40-50 acres near Lewiston/Auburn.

Jim Hanna – jhanna@ccfoodsecurity.org
Muhidin Libah – SheikhDiney@hotmail.com

Maine Agribility – Ellen Gibson and Lani Carlson

The mission of Maine AgrAbility is to help Maine farmers, fishermen and forest workers overcome disabilities, injuries or other barriers so they can continue to work safely and productively.  The program is a partnership among three non-profit organizations: the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, and Alpha One.  Maine AgrAbility is one of 20 state projects that are funded through a competitive USDA grant process, including the National AgrAbility Project that supports this work across the United States.

We assist farmers, fishermen, and forest workers engaged in production agriculture; members of their families; and the workers they hire. We work with people who have chronic health issues and disabilities to help them gain more control over their lives, continue to farm successfully, and live independently.  We network with rural agriculture, rehabilitation, and health care professionals to increase awareness of the health issues faced by Maine agricultural workers.  We use on-farm visits to talk about farming goals and barriers, make suggestions for modifying work routines or adapting the agricultural operation, buildings or vessels, equipment, and/or tools.  Our services are available at no charge.

Lani Carlsonleilani.carslon@maine.edu
Ellen Gibsonellen.gibson@goodwillnne.org 

Eighteen Twenty Wines – Amanda O’Brien

Eighteen twenty wines is as urban winery located in Portland, Maine that is making wine from locally grown rhubarb and cider made from native apples. We founded the company in 2016. In 2017, we brought 5 products to market and opened our tasting room in the Rockingham Electric building on Anderson Street in Portland. We made 190 cases of our flagship product, Rha, and sold them through our supply in 25 retail locations around the state.
We have been lucky to be participants in MCED’s Top Gun Program, contestant on Greenlight Maine, and to get media attention from the Portland Press Herald, multiple radio stations and local publications.

There are over 30 wineries in Maine. Many are making wine from grapes, juice ‘from away’, and fruit wines.

We feel we stand out because our wine has a sophistication but is made with a crop that grows easily in Maine. We are working with farms to grow the rhubarb and then we process it in our facility in Portland. Our two largest farms are Spiller Farm in Wells and Dole’s Orchard in Limington. This Spring we are testing a new variety of rhubarb grown in Falmouth.

Our hope for the future is to work with more farms to make sophisticated wine with local
ingredients. There are over 60 varieties of rhubarb. We hope to test the varieties to see what other products we can produce. Rhubarb is an easy crop for farms to grow, it is also a Spring crop. We hope by buying thousands of pounds of rhubarb each Spring, we will help many farms operate in diversified ways.

Amanda O’Brienamanda@eighteentwentywines.com


GPCOG /LFPP Implementation Grant – Hannah Semler
A three year collaborative food systems infrastructure project titled: “Scaling up for Growth in the Portland Food Shed”, involving 7 different businesses and facilitated by the Greater Portland Council of Governments and many other supporters involved in the local food movement, will trace the triple bottom line value generated by placing 2.5 million lbs of locally grown crops in retail, wholesale, light processing pilot projects, and value-added markets, with a focus on getting more local food into the food system.  Our goal is to create a “closed system” within the food shed, capturing value at each step of the process, reducing food loss and waste and building stronger networks and relationships to serve as the foundation for sustainable growth

Wholecrops will develop surplus management strategies, helping to capture value from food otherwise being composted or left behind in the field.  Farms will be encouraged by Wholecrops to rescue surplus and seconds crops and post alerts on the Spoiler Alert (www.spoileralert.com) platform to increase visibility on what crops are available when, and turn those into opportunities for sustainable growth: retail, light processing and value-added products.

Cultivating Community – Alex Redfield

Cultivating Community is working to get our new training site up and running at Hurricane Valley Farm in Falmouth – we already have twelve farmers of eight different nationalities attending our winter farm business planning course in Portland. We’ve had success in introducing several African crops to Maine markets, including Congolese Garden Egg, Molokhia, and a few other staple food crops that are difficult to find fresh in Maine. Our long-time home farm in Lisbon is up for sale, so we’re gearing up for a land search process to find a new training site to serve Lewiston-based New American farmers.

The Ecology School – Drew Dumsch

Drew shared the exciting news  about the Ecology School’s recent purchase of Riverbend Farm in Saco. The school will begin the transition from their leased land at Ferry Beach, to this new campus over the next several years.

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MFT Series: Competing in Maine’s Organic Grain Economy

Competing in Maine’s Organic Grain Economy
Friday, February 23, 3-8 p.m.) AND
Saturday, February 24 (9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) AND
Saturday, March 10 (9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.)
Northern Maine Community College, Presque Isle

Part of Maine Farmland Trust’s Farming for Wholesale program, this series offers ongoing farm business planning assistance combined with day-long workshops for farmers. Participate in this year-long business planning program to learn how to use last year’s records to find your most (and least) profitable crops; how to keep, read and evaluate financial records in order to make the best business decisions for your farm; how to create and evaluate production and marketing plans that move you toward your farm goals; to learn techniques for attracting and retaining customers; to practice getting your “pitch” down; to build communication and strategy that will lead to more accurate and efficient planning throughout the supply chain; to work with a team of technical assistance providers for up to one year; and to earn a $1,000 seed grant upon completing the program.

Workshops will be tailored to organic grain growers and will include organic grain buyers, but all farmers are welcome to register for the program (and the technical assistance will be individual with your farm).

Cost: $500. Upon completion of all sessions and successful participation in technical assistance, farms will be awarded a $1,000 seed grant – for a net gain of $500 to your farm. Scholarships are available. Register here by February 16 at
FMI: Alex at alex@mainefarmlandtrust.org or 207-338-6575

This program is made possible thanks to support from the Maine Grain Alliance, MOFGA, John Merck Fund and Maine Farmland Trust.

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MOFGA’s Organic Farmer Loan Fund

MOFGA is accepting applications until March 30 for the spring 2018 funding cycle of its organic farmer loan fund. This fund is intended particularly to help organic farmers working on establishing a credit history for their farms. Loans in the range of $2,000 to $20,000 are available to MOFGA-certified organic farmers and farmers exempt from certification under the NOP rules; farmers interested in transitioning to organic management; and current participants in, or graduates of, MOFGA’s Journeyperson Program. The fund will provide loans to small and medium-sized businesses seeking to expand or enhance their farm or processing operations through business planning, marketing, aggregation or other business enhancement. Funds may also be used for working capital or equipment purchases. Interest rates will be determined by Bangor Savings Bank at the time of loan application. FMI: http://www.mofga.org/Programs/OrganicFarmerLoanFund/tabid/1058/Default.aspx

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Maine Community Foundation grant deadline February 15th

Mark Your calendars – The February 15th deadline is approaching for Maine Community Foundation’s largest grantmaking program. The Community Building Grant Program supports organizations and programs throughout the state that invest in people, maximize assets, and engage community.

See details here.

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Marco Vangelisti – Facebook live free broadcast today 1/24 at 7pm Eastern time

Join Marco on Facebook Live this evening

EK4T (Essential KNowledge fro Transistion) Live weekly broadcasts will start Wednesday 1/24 at 4pm PT (7pm ET).

We will cover the content of Essential Knowledge for Transition (money&banking, economics, finance and how to move towards ethical investing) in small digestible bites.

If you are interested in the EK4T Live program please answer this short survey https://goo.gl/forms/XRRzw11P0b7IMmQn1 to help me shape the content of the broadcasts. I would also invite you to “like” my Essential Knowledge for Transition page to be notified of live broadcasts.

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Marco Vangelisti — Essential Knowledge for Transition – Newsletter

The mission of Essential Knowledge for Transition is primarily to help caring individuals and owners of capital move towards ethical finance and enlist their investment capital in the task of building the better world they long for.

Read full newsletter here:

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Free Seminar on how to sell your business to your employees

Starting to think about ownership succession for your business? This FREE seminar offers the opportunity to learn about the possibility of selling to the employees!

Presented by the Vermont Employee Ownership Center (VEOC) and Cooperative Fund of New England, attendees will get an overview of the two most common forms of broad-based employee ownership used for ownership succession: Employee Stock Ownership Plans and Worker Cooperatives. The session will also include a discussion of the process by which a sale to employees commonly occurs, with a focus on making financing work for employee groups of modest means.

While free, seating is limited, so please register ASAP! The seminar is co-presented by the Center for an Agricultural Economy.

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Brown Bag Forum: Recruiting and and Retaining Employees for Restaurants and Retail

Brown Bag Forum: Recruiting and and Retaining Employees for Restaurants and Retail 
Due to the snow, yesterday’s Brown Bag Forum has been rescheduled for Thursday, February 1st from 3-4pm (same location). 
Come join Portland Buy Local for a conversation many businesses are struggling with – recruiting and retaining employees.

We’ll discuss what has worked for many of us, where we struggle, avenues for recruiting, and ways to retain staff by making the workplace appealing. All restaurant and retail managers, owners, and those in the recruiting industry or interested in this challenge are invited to attend.

Bring your success stories, and challenges, to the table. The conversation will be led by Ellen Kanner of Dobrá Tea (Portland, ME) and Chris Bettera of Po’ Boys & Pickles, but it will be an opportunity for restaurant and retail managers and owners to connect, share, and learn from one another.

This event part of our Brown Bag Lunch series – sponsored by Coffee By Design. Please note the later time for this event (changed to avoid the busy lunch hour).

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP and invite your friends on facebook.
When (Date Changed): Thursday, February 1, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Where: Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, 443 Congress Street

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