Our final meeting at Viles Arboretum (we’ll be moving to a larger venue in Gardiner in 2015) was a small group but had a full and inspiring showcase of presenters. The richness and diversity of our Slow Money Maine Network is continually remarkable! Bonnie spoke about the common themes that seem to be threaded through all of the amazing work being done in our state. Awareness and Courageous Exploration. Awareness leads to engagement and engagement leads to change. There is a way for each and every person to engage. Always. Stay open. Stay creative and explore with confidence the possible collaborations. She spoke that within our network, you can always find a place to bring your time, energy and/or money for the good of all.
Our next meeting is the daylong gathering in Belfast on Thursday, November 13th. Registration is required for this event. Sign up now to reserve your space.
The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) is a private non-profit that helps Maine’s most promising entrepreneurs to grow through innovation. Over our 15+ years we have accelerated the growth of hundreds of companies, established the largest community of mentors in Maine, and continue to offer the very best training, advice and connections.
Our resources are delivered in three parallel tracks:
• Monthly Lunch and Learns and Table Talks are open to the general community and provide detailed, actionable training especially related to Marketing and Money.
• The Top Gun track begins with an open, statewide online course (Top Gun Prep) for about 100 companies a year, continues for some with the selective Top Gun mentoring program for about 20 companies a year, and for a select few (less than 10 a year) leads to the Accelerated Ventures program of Blackstone Accelerates Growth.
• Memberships provide ongoing coaching, advising and mentoring, as well as access to our monthly training sessions. This track can make sense before, after or instead of the Top Gun track, and often focuses on financing strategy and tactics.
MCED achieves statewide impact through important partnerships, including:
• We are a part of a network of Maine’s three technology centers, also including Target Technology Center and the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center.
• We are one of three operating partners in Blackstone Accelerates Growth, a three-year initiative to create an intentional community of growth through innovation by accelerating companies, connections, and the next generation. Maine Technology Institute and the University of Maine are the other key partners in this initiative.
MCED at Slow Money Maine Oct2014
Executive Director, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development
My TEDxDirigo talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM5thAqkT9w
Like the Maine Crowdfunding page! https://www.facebook.com/mainecrowdfunding
Togue Brawn/Maine Dayboat Scallops
Togue Brawn is passionately commited to making Maine’s scallop fishery more profitable and sustainable. At the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) between 2007-2011 she led the campaign to transform Maine’s scallop management program. Changes she initiated led to a dramatic increase in fisheries productivity and the highest landings in over a decade. Having “gotten the ball rolling” with regulatory changes, Togue launched Maine Dayboat Scallops in late 2011 to improve profitability by changing the way Maine scallops are distributed. Maine fishermen land premium product, but that superiority is masked by the traditional distribution system, which is tailored to an industrial fleet bringing in thousands of pounds of scallops at a time on trips lasting well over a week.
MDS highlights the superiority of Maine scallops by connecting fishermen more directly to consumers. Scallops are delivered quickly and directly with no added water or chemicals. Each bag is labeled with the name of the fisherman who caught them, his boat name and the harvest area. Information on Maine’s fishery is included with every package. MDS focused on Maine restaurants from 2011 – 2013. In 2014 MDS began shipping to consumers throughout the country as well as selling directly to consumers on dedicated New York sales trips. Customer feedback and repeat orders suggest great growth potential for both mail order and direct NYC sales. MDS seeks funding to plan and execute intelligent growth to expand from a one-woman operation using a home kitchen to an efficient organization distributing tens of thousands of pounds of Maine scallops at a dedicated facility.
Togue Brawn- SMM
Drew Dumsch & John Ibsen/The Ecology School
The Ecology School is a nonprofit education organization in Saco, Maine working to create a more environmentally literate and resilient future by teaching the science of ecology and the practice of sustainability. In our outdoor programs conducted on our leased Saco Bay residential campus, students and teachers stay for two to five days, exploring coastal ecosystems through hands-on lessons. We connect the science of field ecology to sustainability and students’ lives through our Food for Thought programming which reveals the connections between food, humans and the environment during ecosystem lessons, in the dining hall and in our teaching garden. Our organic garden onsite uses permaculture design principles to show how humans can apply ecology to food systems to increase resiliency and productivity. In our dining hall we choose to serve ecological and local food items.
Since our founding in 1998 we have worked with over 115,000 people, reaching 12,000 children and adults annually with an operating budget of approximately 1 million dollars. We are now embarking on the next phase of organizational growth and are looking for an additional site to run more overnight programming. At this site we hope to produce at least 50% of the food we serve in our dining hall on an onsite farm. The farm would not only be a source of hyper-local organic food but also a teaching tool demonstrating how farm design can be informed by nature, giving youth the knowledge and inspiration to be the next generation of farmers and informed consumers.
Ecology School SMM
Drew Dumsch, Executive Director, The Ecology School
ph: 207.283.9951 ~ fax: 207.391.6174
drew@TheEcologySchool.org ~ www.TheEcologySchool.org
Lynne Rowe/Tortilleria Pachanga
Tortillería Pachanga is a fresh corn tortilla business in Portland, Maine that is dedicated to producing delicious, nutritious corn tortillas made with organic and heritage varieties of corn grown here in the State of Maine. Now in its ninth month of production, Pachanga’s mission is to be a part of Maine’s renaissance in small grain production by providing an outlet to growers of different varieties of corn and using their harvests to make our tortillas through the traditional process of nixtamalization.
Since beginning production, Pachanga has provided tortillas to almost forty restaurants, food trucks, institutions and caterers as well as to countless customers at the seven farmers’ markets where we have had a presence. Initially funded through our own investments and a successful $15,000 Indiegogo campaign, Pachanga launched production with the assistance of an additional $15,000 loan through the City of Portland’s Economic Development Corporation. We are planning to make our production more efficient through equipment upgrades, improve our distribution through the purchase of an efficient vehicle and hiring of a driver, and expand our offerings by producing new products such as our heritage blend tortilla made with a blend of Abenaki flint corn and yellow dent and also fresh masa.
We are seeking $20K in loans to upgrade equipment to meet production needs more efficiently.
Email Lynne to receive a copy of her presentation
1 Industrial Way, Suite 9
Portland, Maine 04103
Ben Rooney/Maine Rice Project at Wild Fork Farm
Our goal is to get as many people in Maine eating local sustainably grown rice. To do this we are creating a lowland rice polyculture system, where the flooded rice paddies are biologically integrated with, and sustained by, aquatic plants and
animals, mainly azolla and ducks. Currently only a few pounds of rice are grown in the state for production. Across the country most rice farms are monocultures that rely heavily on GMO varieties, fossil fuel driven mechanized cultivation and harmful sprays and fertilizers. Our system is ecologically beneficial, void of chemical inputs and after the initial paddy excavation, almost non reliant on fossil fuel driven machinery. Furthermore, this system is replicable on other wet low-lying otherwise inaccessible farmland.
We are in year two of the Maine Rice Project. What started with a few grams
of seed from the USDA is in route to produce upwards of 5,000 lbs / acre. We have
been saving seed, trialing and testing different methodologies, expanding our size,
and testing markets. We are currently in the middle of excavating a multi-acre
paddy system, with 8 paddies, each gravity fed and drained. Over the next few years
we will use this system to continue trialing and testing different seed varieties and
methods as well as educate and consult others on rice production.
This winter we are launching a kickstarter to raise $15,000 to finish the
paddy system as well as pay for infrastructure and processing equipment.
Ben Rooney SMM
Mary Doyle/Unique Maine Farms Project
Mary offered a timeline for the book project from the inception of the idea to the current time. Printing was done in time for book sales at the Common Ground Country Fair. She has visited over 185 farms and has many small spin-off projects growing from the Unique Maine Farms Book Project. Contact Mary Doyle
Ben Tettlebaum/Legal Services Hub
His organization is a regional one which follows a model of being matchmaker between prospective clients needing services and lawyers in their network. Next spring, Legal Services Hub will be launching a chapter in Maine – Legal Service Food Hub, following the same model. They are eager to help farmers to get the legal counsel they might need as well as starting programs for education in this realm. Contact Ben Tettlebaum
Linzee Weld/SMM Technical Assistance Collaborations
For a few years, SMM has supported entrepreneurs with business planning, sales, marketing, financial planning, logo develpment, PR, branding, etc. But the volunteer help was not enough. This collaboration is a program crafted through SMM, FFN and CEI where grant money can be re-granted for TA support. To qualify, your business must pull from multiple local sources of farms/fisheries in Maine. Rolling applications accepted. Contact Linzee Weld
Sarah Miller/ Gardiner Food Co-op and Cafe
The project is moving forward, with consideration of new sites. Sarah shared recent highlights and let the group know that support is needed in the following areas:
– Search for General Manager has begun- applications being accepted
-There is a need for consultations with green builders
– The co-op still needs more member/owner loans.
If you can help in any of these ways – contact Sarah Miller