After a beautiful March snowstorm we met again at the Viles Arboretum to hear from inspiring presenters about their projects and needs as well as receive updates from enterprises already in existence.
Bonnie started the meeting with some insights she gleaned from the “SOCAP Soul” conference she attended earlier this month. About SOCAP “We know that many of our economic systems are broken. But how do we begin changing them? At SOCAP we believe that change begins when individuals work, invest, and consume with more meaning and intention. On March 9th, join social entrepreneurs and investors, faith leaders and activists, cultural creatives, and thought leaders who are all seeking to align what they care about with their jobs, and with the way they spend and invest their money.” Bonnie brought some words from Ross Baird, the opening presenter at the conference. His invitation to use the image of “Needs and Gifts”, unrelated to money while working with monetary transactions, was inspiring and connected so well with what we do here at SMM. Bonnie then shared Marshall Rosenberg’s list of “needs”, an integral part of Non-Violent Communication. It is potent soul work to listen to the needs inside ourselves and those around us and to see all the gifts we have to offer and receive. See the full list of needs here.
Presentations were as planned with the exception of Stacey Palmer of Compost Maine stepping in to fill the space for Barbara Brooks of Seal Cove Farm. It is kidding season and a hard moment for Barbara to leave the farm. We will look forward to her presentation in May. A synopsis of all presentations follows, with powerpoint presentations/movies included if used:
Tod Yankee & Jamien Richardson/Maine Harvest Company in Topsham. Jamien and Tod presented their vision of developing a food processing facility that would lightly process and freeze locally grown produce such as green beans, tomatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, green and red peppers, and whole pod edamame. MHC will purchase product from local growers and process that product for retail and institutional markets providing greater access to these markets for growers and providing consumers with access to locally grown products on a year-round basis. Their goal is to process 500,000 pounds in the first year, going up to one million pounds in the third year. They anticipate their start-up requirements are $1.4 million, consisting of $350,000 for leasehold improvements, $550,000 for equipment and fixtures, and $475,000 for working capital. They shared a financial need of $800,000 related to this endeavor.
FMI contact either Jamien at 232-8247 or email@example.com or Tod at 553-0053 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maine Harvest Company SMM Presentation
Ryan Houghton and Geoff Keating/The Hop Yard in Fort Fairfield Ryan and Geoff started out with a brief overview of hops and how they grow. They shared details about their current 1.5 acre hop yard in Fort Fairfield along with challenges in meeting market demand and producing a year-round product offering. They discussed the growing craft beer industry in Maine and a history of hops in New England as a cash crop. Their challenge in growth revolves around the high cost of harvesting and processing equipment to support a larger acreage. Their goal is to expand to a larger farm in southern Maine with enough acreage to support the equipment cost, along with creating a more efficient distribution channel to many of the 35 Maine craft breweries. They aim to create a vibrant hops market in Maine so that breweries can offer local ingredients year-round. Costs to establish the larger yard and purchase equipment total $280,000. This funding requirement will be staged over 3 years with $110,000 needed in year one.
FMI contact Ryan & Geoff at email@example.com
Heather Burt/F.A.R.M.S. Community Kitchen in Damariscotta FARMS is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was started in 2004 by a group of parents, teachers, and farmers who wanted to find ways to offer fresh, local foods in Maine school cafeterias. FARMS has provided more than six years of successful hands-on programming in Lincoln County schools, but realizes that we are a couple of generations into “convenience food living” and that adults are clearly as much in need of FARMS programming as children. To fill this need, FARMS will open the FARMS Community Kitchen on the second floor of Rising Tide Community Market in Damariscotta in Fall 2013. It will provide a venue where people of all ages can make and share recipes and gather as a community around healthy food. Teaching people how to actually cook, preserve, and grow local foods is essential to supporting a new local food economy. The cost of the build out is $157,000 and will not only contain a commercial-level kitchen, but will also provide much needed office space for FARMS and a Food Learning Resource Center with materials available to the public. FARMS has applied for several grants and will do a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign in April to raise $20,000 and cover expenses of the Kitchen. Farmers already have ideas about using this Kitchen to support their CSA members in new cooking experiences, school administrators foresee a place where families can help develop kid-approved locally-sourced recipes that meet USDA guidelines, and individuals have expressed interest in a wide range of classes, especially related to canning and preservation. This project is meant to be fun while simultaneously helping to create a healthier community with a commitment and access to local foods that support our economy and environmental stewardship.
FMI contact Heather Burt, Executive Director, FARMS, PO Box 421, Damariscotta, ME 04543. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.mefarms.org
Stacey Palmer/ Compost Maine in Union: Stacey spoke about Compost Maine’s plans to commercialize their proprietary in-vessel composting technology in the Midcoast area. The company is planning to offer municipal level composting services that will make the recycling of organic materials both accessible and affordable, plus increase the potential regional attraction for more growers and food related businesses. Their accelerated composting process is conducted in batches and is contained indoors, thus eliminating many environmental issues connected to traditional composting methods. The product will be marketed to local farms and growers, giving them access to bulk quantities of engineered, quality controlled soil enhancements. Compost Maine is also aiming to develop a heat exchange portion of their process that will provide clean heating energy to school greenhouses and/or community buildings. For the first full-scale operating facility they anticipate $1.5 -2mm will be required for all operating equipment, site and building improvements, and working capital. Compost Maine successfully completed a Seed Grant through MTI in 2011 and will be applying for additional loan/grant programs that will require matching funds.
FMI call Stacey Palmer 207-230-4237 or email email@example.com
Mary Doyle/Unique Maine Farms in W. Newfield
Mary shared a presentation about the Unique Maine Farms’ project. It is an agricultural educational outreach program that supports all types of farms; provides information about agricultural careers; encourages the preservation of farmland and natural resources; and highlights farms with a social mission. It includes a book, traveling photo exhibit, slideshow and discussion program, and a comprehensive website: www.uniquemainefarms.com Mary has volunteered to travel throughout Maine visiting over 120 unique farms. She is in the process of developing complimentary profiles of each of the farms that include personal stories and many photographs for the 224-page Unique Maine Farms book. As a currently-certified Maine 7-12 English and social studies teacher, she sees the value in developing an awareness in secondary school students and individuals about all the exciting developments taking place in agriculture in Maine. Utilizing the skills that she has developed in her professional photography and writing career, Mary looks forward to sharing her work throughout the state. She hopes to find a quality Maine printer to print the book on Maine paper in Maine in the fall of 2013, and then begin the statewide educational outreach programs. She is presently working to raise funds for the printing of the book and educational outreach programs.
FMI, email Mary: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207-793-2759
Updates from Slow Money Maine participants:
Jaimie Logan/Dept. of Economic & Community Development Jamie came to speak with the group and share pamphlets and information about services offered through this government branch. Contact Jaimie at email@example.com
Gray Harris/CEI Gray spoke about the new developments in CEI and the funds that they have to share with eligible projects. Contact her at 882-5135 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She is available and ready to help.
Chris Grigsby/Belfast Co-op Chris shared the growing local foods trend and how it has been tracked and encouraged within the co-op.
Michael Bartner/Slow Money National Michael had many updates on the national level. Upcoming national conference in Boulder, April 29-30, was a highlight and he was proud of this Maine Chapter and its accomplishments!
Samuel Kaymen & Deb Chapman/Maine Organic Lenders NSP has had a baby! MOL – Maine Organic Lenders is the first spin-off investment group inspired by NSP. This group has a focus on organic projects and is taking applications on a rolling basis. It recently made its first loan to Two Farmers Farm.
Sam May/Mayor’s Food Initiative in Portland (he & several others from SMM are serving on committees related to local foods in schools, repurposing open space for food production, & more), GMO Bill (the bill was introduced & has significant bi-partisan support; check MOFGA’s web site for more details about how to offer support), Credit Union (Sam and John Sharood just met with a lawyer who will be guiding next steps). Contact Sam at email@example.com
Sara Trunzo/ Unity Sara reported that there is a new president at Unity College who is very much in favor of the food related projects being piloted there. So much enthusiasm and growth within their food service. MOO Milk is now in the dining hall!
Ryan Wilson & Gina Simmons/Commonwealth Poultry Company (update from Bonnie): After presenting in January, Ryan & Gina revamped and scaled down plans with a new focus on Whitefield for the business location and collaborative efforts with friends at Treble Ridge Farm. In the past couple of weeks, with the help of 3 SMM investors and MOFGA’s loan fund, they met their financial needs of $45K for startup and did not attend today since they were receiving a large shipment of birds.
Bill Eldridge/MOO Milk is about to close on a private investment of $3mm for the company which will allow opportunities for facility development, marketing and more.
Eleanor Kinney/No Small Potatoes, shared that 5 out of 6 applicants were just approved for loans. The group continues to refine policies and expand outreach, and welcomes microloan applicants for their next round in June.
Our next gathering is May 15th, 1-4 at the Arboretum. Hope to see you then!