Meeting Minutes – March 17th, 2016
Our March gathering was notable in the gentleness of the weather outdoors and
the swirl of SMM activity indoors. This mood was reflected in our first-ever inclusion of three different on-site meetings before our regularly scheduled gathering: a Soil Study conversation that evolved from an earlier focus group; a first-ever SMM exchange among 14 TA (technical assistance) providers; and a focus group on
fisheries, offering varied perspectives on topical issues inspired by videos created by Scott Sell of the Island Institute. These events were followed by a large and highly interactive group networking time with many new people attending, and a dazzling array of snacks donated by local producers including Kelp Yourself, Quill’s End Farm, Apple Creek Farm and Spruce Mill Farm.
Linzee and Bonnie opened the gathering with an update of regulatory guidance from our partners at the Maine Office of Securities and an explanation of changes that effect presenters and participants in our public meetings. These shifts mean that in addition to the disclaimer spoken by for-profit business presenters about not soliciting funds, no direct or indirect reference to soliciting funds can be made and that no questions related to financial details can be asked by audience members. Conversations and transactions related to these details must take place outside of our public meetings. Nonetheless, SMM will continue to connect people to each others’ needs and will help to catalyze funds and technical assistance as usual in support of for-profit businesses in the food and ag sector.
Peer to Peer Conversation: Focus on Fisheries
The fisheries conversation began by participants viewing two movies created by Scott Sell of the Island Institute. A Climate of Change: Warming Waters in the Gulf of Maine (view vimeo link here) and A Climate of Change: The Future of Aquaculture. These films were the prelude to a lively discussion about the state of Maine’s fisheries today. Some of the questions raised were “What kind of threat do you see to local fisheries from corporations now and projecting out 5-10 years?”, “What kind of investments are needed to help aquaculture businesses be more resilient to climate change?” “Who is seaweed being sold to?” and “Do we know the timeline for lobsters moving out of Maine due to warming waters?” There were many representatives from the fisheries world in attendance as well as interested entrepreneurs and community members. This engaging topic warrants our attention to tackle the important issues that the fisheries world is facing.
Thank you to Riley Neugebauer for taking such precise notes. If you wish to view the full notes from this session, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abby Sadauckas and Jake Galle / Apple Creek Farm
Apple Creek Farm, LLC is a grass-based, MOFGA certified organic farm in Bowdoinham that produces a diverse range of livestock products. These include beef, chicken, goat, goose, lamb, mutton and turkey as well as sheepskins, goat hides and wool. Apple Creek markets year-round at farmers markets in Brunswick and through wholesale outlets in Brunswick and Portland.
Established in 1985 by Jake’s parents, Janet and Pete Galle, the farm management transitioned from first to second generation in 2009. The farmers, Abby Sadauckas and Jake Galle, use the original farm and an additional 40 acres of leased land throughout Bowdoinham for grazing and hay production. The original farm is the center of operations and includes the farmhouse and barns on roughly 35 acres of cleared land. The land is all managed organically using rotational grazing methods to increase soil fertility, manage animal health and utilize the unique traits of each animal group. In addition to leased land the farmers own 70 acres adjacent to the original farm. This site is where the farm plans to expand through a farm store, new barn for sheep and goats, additional pastures and product storage.
The farm raises its own breeding and finishing stock for cows, goats and sheep. Poultry, including laying hens, broilers, geese and turkeys are purchased as day-olds through the mail. Broilers, geese and turkeys are raised seasonally on grass and processed locally at Weston’s Meat & Poultry and Common Wealth Poultry Company.
Abby Sadauckas and Jake Galle / Apple Creek Farm (207)-409-2035
Dustin and Natasha Colbry / Spruce Mill Farms
Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen is a diverse sustainable farm that focuses on improving the wellness of land and community; producing mixed vegetables, pastured meat and eggs. In the middle of the farm, in an attached garage-turned-certified commercial kitchen, is where they prepare their farm food and artisan-baked bread using locally grown grains.
Owners and operators, Dustin and Natasha Colbry, are moving kitchen operations into an in-town storefront model. The store will offer local, farm fresh produce, meat, dairy, eggs, prepared meals and artisan-baked goods. It will be open 5 days a week to provide convenient, year-round, healthy food access and will also serve as a pickup spot for CSA’s, farm prepared meals and workshops. During prime growing season months, customers will be able to purchase an array of vegetables while the winter will offer storage vegetables and greens into extended seasons from the farm’s high tunnels. The storefront is located on West Main Street, in the village of Dover-Foxcroft.
While healthy, fresh, local food access at affordable prices will be great for the local community and seasonal tourists, it will also serve as an opportunity for area farmers to distribute and store their goods. Additionally, the farm storefront will open job positions in our rural community.
Leigh Hallett / The Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets
The Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets is the only statewide organization dedicated to supporting Maine’s network of 140+ farmers’ markets. The Federation is a nonprofit, non-regulatory organization that provides online resources, training opportunities, and technical support to the markets, while also helping shoppers find farmers’ markets throughout the state.
Founded in 1991, MFFM has offices in Pittsfield, with a staff of 3. Major projects in 2016 include implementing the Maine Harvest Bucks nutrition incentive program at 35 farmers’ markets, developing a Washington County Farmers’ Market Trail, and rolling out the new Maine Farmers’ Market Snapshot Week program in August.
MFFM hosts the annual Maine Farmers’ Market Convention each winter, offers periodic workshops for market farmers and volunteers, and publishes a regular newsletter. To assist shoppers, the organization maintains a database of all Maine farmers’ markets, which is available on the website and shared with a number of partner organizations.
Leigh Hallett/Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets
(207) 487-7114 (office) mainefarmersmarkets.org
Jo Barrett & Andrew Marshall/Land for Good
Land for Good, based in Keene, NH and serving the New England region, is a 501 (c)3 organization which focuses on keeping ‘working lands working,’ by assisting non-farming landowners who want to lease their land to farmers, farm seekers who are looking for land to farm, and established farmers who are looking for successors or who need to make a farm succession plan. Through conversation and assessment, Land For Good creates a comprehensive work plan which can include: personal goals, financial situation, land use goals, historic uses of the farmland, ills and resources brought by the parties involved, advisors who can help, stakeholders who need to be informed, issues & challenges, and recommendations for actions toward meeting goals.
Jo Barrett & Andrew Marshall/Land for Good
Daniel Ungier / Food Hub Practitioners’ Summit
The Food Hub Practitioners’ Summit took place in Bangor in early March and brought together 22 individuals from 16 food businesses and non-profits involved in aggregation and distribution. The group discussed whether the food hub space in Maine is overcrowded and disconnected and began exploring opportunities for working more closely together. Additionally, the summit brought together several national experts in food hubs to present on in emerging themes in food safety and on business management, and these experts sat in on roundtable discussions and shared their perspectives on discussions over the course of the event. Thanks to everyone for a highly satisfying gathering! We’ll meet again on May 12th. Hope to see you then!
Mike gold/SNAP Incentives
Mike provided information about two Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive grant awards that are supporting consumers using SNAP (a.k.a. food stamps) and the variety of farm related markets that allow consumers to purchase local healthy foods with SNAP using their EBT card, here in Maine.
Jonah Fertig/ Maine Farm and Sea Cooperative
In February, the UMaine Dining Services Contract was awarded to Sodexo, a French corporation. Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative is now exploring new opportunities to get Maine food in self-operated Maine institutions and is starting to work with a couple of hospital food service directors, talking to other schools and exploring other opportunities. On February 25th, MFSC held an event with over 40 people at Portland City Hall releasing a report titled “Maine Food to Portland Tables” which details ways that local institutions can effectively start or expand a local foods program at their institution.
Jackson McLeod/ Fluid Farms
Since Jackson presented last year, they have raised capital, expanded operations, and worked through the kinks of winter production on their new site in Dresden. Look for new and expanded offerings from Fluid Farms in the next year.