What a glorious Springtime gift to gather with everyone last week!!! Along with others that I’ve heard from, I felt deeply heartened and energized by our incredible network!!! Tim Rider of NE Fishmongers, expressed it well in sharing his enjoyment of our gatherings that help him feel “less alone and more connected to others with similar issues.” As a fisherman, he could fully relate to the presentation of a dairy farmer, and he suggested possibilities of new collaborations as he heard needs of others that he could help meet in mutually satisfying ways.
Heather Omand, from our SMM Steering Committee and MOFGA, facilitated a conversation among a large group of TA providers before our regular gathering. Participants engaged in animated exchanges, sharing trends and themes from their past year’s work with farmers and other food producers. They noted increased interest in co-operative models, ongoing needs for help with land access and succession, financing, food safety, and market issues. Mentors were pleased to be meeting with familiar and new colleagues, learning about new projects, and appreciating their multidisciplinary strengths. You can find the notes from the meeting here.
Thanks to Brett Richardson,from CEI, for taking notes from the Fisheries Focus Group conversation.Here they are: “Tim Rider and Tim Sheehan highlighted challenges and opportunities for small scale harvesters and producers to thrive in regulatory, management, and policy systems designed for large scale, industrial operations. Smaller operations have more limited access to fishery resources and must be more agile and creative to penetrate markets with their products. Opportunities exist for small scale fishing businesses to collaborate with each other and for fishing businesses to collaborate with similar sized and quality-focused terrestrial agriculture businesses to serve sustainability-minded customers with traceable, premium products.”
Bonnie opened with brief news about varied SMM activities (new videos coming this summer & Fall, among other things!!!) and introduced people to to Michael Bartner, VP of Slow Money Institute,who brought copies of a new book by Slow Money’s Founder, Woody Tasch. She went on to acknowledge the great support of her assistant Avery and new marketing support from Maggi Blue. She shared our upcoming first-ever Central Maine event and asked for help from everyone to promote it and attend. She also honored every farmer in the group and read a blessing for them written by John O’Donohue. The fullness of the afternoon was also evident in the amazing array of food offerings, the pre-meeting focus group on fisheries, and the meeting of TA mentors organized by Heather Omand. Thanks to everyone for a much-needed morale boost as winter ever so slightly moves towards Spring. See you at KVCC on May 2nd,
Isuken Co-op/ Sustainable Livelihoods Relief Organization (SLRO)- Jonah Fertig-Burd & Mohamed Dekow
Isuken Co-op: Somali Bantu Farm to Table Food Truck
Isuken means unity! Isuken Food Truck will be Lewiston’s new spot for fresh local food and Somali Bantu cuisine. The vegetables are grown by Somali Bantu farmers locally and prepared lovingly by mothers and grandmothers. Isuken also has a farm outside of Lewiston where they grow vegetables for the truck. Isuken will be the Nation’s first Somali Bantu farm-to-table food truck. With dishes for meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free people, Isuken shares a menu that is healthy and delicious. The Isuken Food Truck is the first step towards a permanent farm to table restaurant and market in downtown Lewiston. The Food Truck will bring the food directly to the people, build the brand and following, and raise money for the long-term goal. Look out for a Kickstarter campaign launching soon.
Sustainable Livelihods Relief Organizaion (SLRO)
Building New Lives in Maine
Mission: Sustainable Livelihoods Relief Organization (SLRO) develops the capacity of the New Mainers to become productive members of society and integrate successfully into the labor market as both employees and business owners to raise the standard of living, strengthen the people’s resilience to adversity, and create a supportive environment for improved community well-being.
Vision: Every man and woman will have the opportunity to achieve his/her fullest potential, integrate into the job market and contribute to all aspects, and leave a sustainable society for future generations.
The Milkhouse – Caitlin Frame & Andy Smith
The Milkhouse is a certified organic dairy farm and creamery in Monmouth, Maine, owned and operated by Caitlin Frame and Andy Smith. We raise pastured livestock-cows, pigs, and chickens-to produce delicious, nourishing, high quality milk, yogurt, meat and eggs. Organic practices ensure sound stewardship of our animals, land & community. We intend to maintain the fertility and productivity of this farm, as well as leaving hedgerow and woodland habitats intact, all without the use of synthetic chemicals. We value and engage with our local economy, community, & environment.
The Milkhouse has grown steadily since its beginning in 2012, and one of our goals is to get our products into the bellies of more Maine people. To do this, we need to expand our production capacity by adding infrastructure improvements to our existing creamery. These improvements include expanding our incubation space, cold storage, dry storage and washroom space. This will allow us to process all of our milk into yogurt and better serve school districts, universities and hospitals, as well as grow our current accounts and begin selling to Hannaford.
Much of the growth in our sales will come from our yogurt. Milkhouse yogurt is made with fresh whole milk and probiotic cultures. Our flavored yogurts are made with Maine maple syrup and Maine wild blueberries. Our yogurt is a whole food with no added sugar or thickeners. It is truly a food representative of the Maine ‘milkshed’: our cows are raised and sustained by the land of this farm which allows them to produce an abundance of rich, delicious milk. And we magic that milk into yogurt, which is both an incredibly simple and complex conclusion to a process that begins with sunlight, soil, water, grass, and a cow.
Organic Dairy Farm & Creamery
(207) 877 1705
Rock City Coffee -Ken Greenleaf & Kevin Malstrom
Kevin Malmstrom, from the Rock City Employee Cooperative, and Ken Greenleaf, from MaineStream Finance, talked about the completion of the transfer of ownership from the founder to the co-op owned by many of the people who work there. The presentation was about how it was financed, how the government and management works, and what it’s like to be the owners. They were joined by Deborah Hawkins of the Cooperative Fund of New England to elaborate on how these projects can be financed.
Dave Herring – Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment
There is a lot happening these days at Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment – yes, that is a new name as of late 2017. We are definitely still a farm but we continue to grow our programs and our impact and we are excited to share some updates with the SMM community. Specifically, we will give very brief updates on the Organic Dairy Farmer Apprenticeship program, a major new research initiative around regenerative agriculture, and a glimpse at some of our education programs for people of all ages.
Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment
Tim Rider – NE Fishmongers
Tim shared some exciting news and appreciation for Slow Money Maine in helping make it possible for New England Fishmongers to purchase a second boat to add to their fleet. Additionally, he noted that his business continues to grow and his markets have expanded to include New Hampshire.
Deb Bicknell – Sustainable Food Systems Leadership Institute
MANP’s Sustainable Food Systems Leadership Institute (SFSLI) is designed for leaders from across Maine with common interests in seeing and helping to create a food system in Maine that is local, strong, sustainable, just and healthy for all.
The Sustainable Food System Leadership Institute (SFSLI) curriculum seeks to strengthen Maine’s local food movement by offering participants a variety of learning opportunities that focus on core competencies of:
- Network Development: Building the network of people and organizations working on this issue;
- Leadership Development: Building leadership capacity (individual, organizational and network/movement);
- Movement Building: Building the knowledge base, and core competencies related to strengthening the food movement.
The purpose of SFSLI is to prepare participants to effectively find and assume leadership roles in local food systems by creating a learning community that encourages:
- personal and professional reflection
- practical skill development, and
- the expansion of individuals’ networks within and between communities in the local foods movement.
Bill Seretta – Maine Food System Innovation Challenge
The Maine Food System Innovation Challenge is now the New England Food System Innovation Challenge. Registration opened on April 16th for Enterprise and College Teams. The Challenge will be held November 9-11, 2018 at Saint Joseph’s College. More information and registration at: NEInnovationChallenge.org