July 25th 2012 Slow Money Maine Meeting Minutes

Bonnie shared hints of activities involving SMM leaders in the two months since our last gathering: Bonnie’s TEDxDirigo talk, Gray and Bonnie at an informal NE Ag Lenders’ gathering before the 2nd Slow Living Summit in VT and a few SMM participants at the Strategies for a New Economy conference at Bard College; presentations from John Sharood and Sam May about possibilities of creating a statewide ag-focused credit union; Bonnie & Warren’s participation on a panel about alternative investments at Maine Initiatives’ Advisory dinner; Bonnie’s article about local investing for NOFA’s “The Natural Farmer”; Bonnie’s meeting with the State Securities Office; Linzee, John D’Anieri & Bonnie planning for our daylong SMM event; a TAP meeting to strategize next steps; a new investment club forming in the midcoast; ongoing meetings with entrepreneurs and investors; and Tim Freundlich from Calvert’s Impact Assets presenting at a gathering at financial manager Joel Davis’ office. Needless to say, SMM continues to provide creative and enlivening opportunities for engagement!!!!

Here’s a recap of presentations with contact info for follow-up:
Tom Massey/Maine Vineyard Makers in Rockland: Tom spoke of his business shared with partner Brian Smith, owner of Oyster River winegrowers in Warren. Together they serve as specialists in cool climate grape growing and manage, consult, install vineyards and make wine. He noted major reasons for growing grapes related to a paradigm change, local/sustainable focus, as an economic magnet, and to provide balance and harmony. He also mentioned that in the local food movement, wine remains sourced primarily from California and France. Tom shared details for growing grapes with organic and biodynamic approaches, including training methods. Currently Maine Vineyard Makers are managing over 12 acres of vineyards in Maine, explaining that statewide the wine industry is clearly growing, with 4 vineyards in ’02 and 26 now licensed. Their markets include retail, wholesale, distributors and private labels. Tom presented business plan details for a total financial need of $589K to enhance present functioning and expansion, covering costs for equipment, raw materials for winemaking, marketing and brand development, acquisition and renovations for The Gold Building in Rockland, as a tasting room. His power point presentation is included here. For more information call Tom at 272-0769 or e-mail tom@mainevines.com
Download PDF

Chris Hallweaver and company/Aroostook County food system perspectives: Chris, John Chartier, Meg Scott, Troy Haines, Tate McPherson and Stan & Gail Maynard brought a collective vision and relevant practical approaches to developing Aroostook County’s significant role in building a healthy viable food system for Maine and the New England region. Chris Hallweaver is a principal owner and manager of Northern Girl, a vegetable processing company in Limestone. He encouraged SMM participants to visit the County and to connect farmers to investors as a short answer to Maine feeding Maine, emphasizing that “opportunities abound.” John Chartier, MOFGA’s Agriculture Specialist in the County, has been working directly with farmers and producers to develop infrastructure elements that are essential components of an effective food system. Troy Haines, the largest game processor in the County, shared unsettling ag study results along with inspiration about revitalizing the ag sector in terms of the economic, cultural, and social needs that are integral to thriving farm communities. Troy is part of the Aroostook County grass-fed beef initiative that is developing a slaughterhouse plan to support over 100 beef farms. Tate McPherson, of the Maine Seed Company, presented facts and projections about population, food costs and environmental issues and a call to action to build infrastructure and expand the local economy. Tate is hoping to establish a grain elevator facility requiring $2mm for funding support. Meg Scott is a co-owner of Nature’s Circle Farm in New Limerick. This certified organic farm is family-run and has 300 tillable acres, 200 of which are in vegetables and grains, with a dozen markets including COMOC and Northern Girl. Stan and Gail Maynard run Aroostook Highlands, a 160-acre farm focused on raising MOFGA-certified grass-fed Scottish highland beef and are eager to work with other livestock producers to create replicable farm models.
Here are powerpoint presentations from Nate and Meg that were shared with the group:
Download Nate’s PowerPoint Presentation
Meg’s PowerPoint Presentation

For more information:
Chris Hallweaver/Northern Girl: chrishallweaver@gmail.com; 329-5048
John Chartier/MOFGA: jchartier@mofga.org; 521-1200
Troy Haines/SPW: gyre1976@yahoo.com
Tate McPherson/Maine Seed Company: tate@maineseedcompany.com
Meg Scott/Nature’s Circle Farm: megscott1@live.com; 592-1476
Stan and Gail Maynard/Aroostook Highlands: orchhill@ainop.com; 498-8541

Rita Heimes/Patents, Trademarks and Entrepreneurship: Rita is a lawyer, professor and the Director of the Center for Law and Innovation, part of the University of Maine School of Law, in Portland. In her brief coverage of a complex topic, Rita included definitions of trademarks, trade dress, patents, trade secrets and copyright and spoke about the Center’s free legal services for entrepreneurs.
Related web sites are www.lawandinnovation.org and www.mainepatent.org and more details are in the powerpoint below. For more information, call Rita at 228-8435 or e-mail rheimes@usm.maine.edu
Download PowerPoint Presentation

Glenn Cummings/Good Will Hinckley/Maine Academy of Natural Sciences: Glenn began with a history of Good Will Hinckley, founded in 1889 with a mission to help youth in need, and moved to the present in describing the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences that has brought a contemporary interpretation of that mission to educate at-risk youth. The school provides a collaborative, experiential and reflective teaching model focused on agriculture, forestry and sustainability. MeANS now owns its facilities debt-free, has financial stability and solid governance and is the first charter school in Maine, with its first class of 5 students graduating this year. Enrollment, capped at 42, will definitely be met for the coming school year. Financial support is provided by student families, Federal and Foundation grants, donations and originating school districts. MeANS is also partnering with Maine’s Community College systems. The program’s primary need at this time is a farmer who will also teach students and provide produce to the school’s kitchen. Free housing will be provided. You can view Glenn’s power point below. For more information, call Glenn at 238-4000 or e-mail lmcgowan@gwh.org
Download PowerPoint Presentation

Larry Stettner/Common Good Soup Kitchen in Southwest Harbor: Larry and Matt Gerald, Board member from Sweet Pea Farm, shared the following history of the Soup Kitchen. Four years ago, chef Bill Morrison prepared healthy meals for home delivery to the elderly on MDI. They now use an 80-seat empty restaurant to serve free weekly lunches, have Saturday coffee houses in the winter, hold classes in whole foods cooking and cooking for diabetics. They serve roughly 10,000 meals a year and have received grants from the Maine Community Foundation, among others, to support educational programs, and now need a paid Director to coordinate volunteers and fundraising. For more information, call Larry at 266-2733 or e-mail larry.stettner@gmail.com

Brief updates were also included, as follows:
David Gulak/Barrels Community Market in Waterville: David shared the “ridiculously quick growth” of the market in the past 4 years with $440K income last year, over 200 vendors and 25 volunteers, food tastings in 12 schools, 5% in EBT sales, free classes and wholesale market expansion to local camps and hospitals, just to give a hint of activity!! He also spoke of the group’s readiness to move into a new business form after years with Waterville Main Street as its nonprofit fiscal sponsor. In order to explore  the efficacy of varied forms, they are seeking $50K by June 2013 for capacity building, restructuring and planning. For more information, please call David at 660-4844 or e-mail david@barrelsmarket.com

Sam May/Farm-to-camp project: Sam shared the unexpected extent of successes associated with his leadership role in healthy local food initiatives at two summer camps in Belgrade Lakes. In addition to featuring local organic food at meals for over 600 children, the camp has built a walk-in cooler, begun composting its lawn clippings and kitchen wastes (notably reducing off-site disposal costs), creating demo vegetable gardens with camper engagement and more. Publicity about their efforts even reached the NY Times! The owners are clearly delighted about the impact and are meeting related challenges well. Sam is equally delighted to be participating in systemic change with design systems that can be fine-tuned and replicated in the next few years. With David Gulak’s help, a grant was received to develop a directory of locally sourced foods for the Maine Camping Association so this model will likely be increasingly visible throughout the camp community. For more information, call Sam at 653-2260 or e-mail sam@ddragonllc.com

Craig Lapine/Cultivating Community in Portland: Craig spoke of CC’s programs that include refugee trainings in farming, community education and youth empowerment. In its farm focus, CC has had several disconnected sites and is seeking a single location in Cumberland County. He is interested in available farmland, with 30 open acres and buildings and would appreciate any leads. For more information, call Craig at 761-4769 or e-mail: craig@cultivatingcommunity.org

Alex Linkow/Fair Food Network: Alex spoke of FFN’s work including Double-Up Food Bucks programs in 70 markets in Michigan and Ohio, a grocery store incubator in Detroit and advocacy work related to Federal food policy. He also described the Fair Food Fund of New England which is a flexible capital fund with $3mm to invest now and up to $6mm, with matching funds, in the next two years. The fund’s focus will be geared to needs of food entrepreneurs who are beyond the startup phase, relating to sub or junior debt and royalty financing in the $100-500K range. Food hubs, producers creating value-added items, and food technology will be some of the sectors served. For more information, call Alex at 617-875-1265 or e-mail alinkow@fairfoodnetwork.org

Upcoming SMM gatherings:

Sept. 22nd, CGCF, 1-2 at the Railroad Car Speakers’ tent
November 15th, Hutchinson Center in Belfast (Please register in advance due to space limitations); annual daylong gathering

This entry was posted in Articles, Meeting Minutes. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.