Winter Update 2023, Board Nominations Open
For this update we have guest poster and board member Jeremy Bloom who will share some comments. Lots of big things changing and going on.
Board Nominations for Maine Farm & Sea Coop are OPEN Jan 13th - Feb 25th 2023
MFSC is turning a big corner and there is currently lots of turnover as we look to a bright future putting more Maine food in our institutions. Both management and board members are coming and going and as we turn to the new year with great projects on the table, and big visions to realize.
Board activities consist of 4 meetings per year plus the annual meeting, and other minor events and projects to take part in.
Whether you are a newbie or an elder, we need all of it to be a successful cooperative. Let us know what your interest is and any background that's relevant to being on a board.
MFSC is committed to a board of diversity and inclusivity as we pave the way forward. To submit a nomination, fill out this form.
BikeMaine in Lincoln, Maine 2022
MFSC and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine hosted over 380 riders for three days of riding around Lincoln Maine. After serving local Maine foods to hungry bicyclists for the last five tours, regrettably, this was our last year cooking on the road.
Click here for the BikeMaine 2022 Food Wrap-up.
"It's been a great ride, pun intended. A wonderful example of possibility, and a successful run putting local food where it wasn't. Not everyone can afford to take awesome bike rides through remote parts of Maine being fed beautiful food, so the end of this path opens the space for something new and even more impactful for getting local food to Maine tables."
F2S(farm to school) Wind down and Leah work
The Sheepscot Valley/Western Maine Foothills USDA Implementation Grant is in the last six months of the projects. We anticipate awarding over $4000 to teachers for local food projects in February. The kitchens will be receiving almost $30,000 in equipment and supplies to improve their preparation of local foods for school meals. Jeanne Lapointe from RSU10 reported she has already spent over $15,000 on local foods and has maximized her matching money from the Local Foods Fund. Mike Flynn from RSU12 just picked up 400 pounds of sweet potatoes from a Moses Hostetler in Pittsfield at Jolly Eco Farms. Potatoes are next on the Harvest of the Month calendar. Leah Rovner from MFSC has been project manager on this grant. She documented Mike Flynn’s work to participate in the Dept of Education’s Local Foods Challenge with a student. Mike has been a past winner of this competition, a judge, and now an advisor as another kitchen manager has adopted the work. Leah’s guidebook is already being used to develop another team.
"We are so glad to have Leah here to work on Farm to School grants. You can see from reading above that this is no joke, and I get so excited when we bring real cooking back to schools through training, coordinating relationships with farmers and providing funding that fits budgets."
Sewall Foundation Operations Grant Funded - MFSC Hire's Doug Clopp
Our Sewall Foundation Operations grant has been invested in hiring Doug Clopp as our new administrator and management partner. He will be grant writing, taking over administrative tasks from Dave Seddon, and coordinating our work with Farms for Food Equity and Penny Jordan. Welcome to Maine Farm and Sea!
"Doug has been in and around this project for a long time in terms of both running a cooperative, and he's already doing cross-over work with Jordan Farms that will make new and larger impacts. I look forward to seeing him breathe some new life into our work as we enter this very exciting time for MFSC."
The Collaborative Processing Grant with the Wayside Food Program and FFE
The Collaborative Processing Grant with the Wayside Food Program and FFE processed over 750 pounds of collard greens, sweet potato leaves, broccoli, cauliflower and brussels leaves for food pantries that focus on supporting the immigrant community.
This pilot project will set the stage for a larger implementation grant to better serve these communities and additional food pantries both fresh and frozen hearty greens.
"This is a dent in what's needed out there. It is a beginning, and it is full of caring and compassion and the best of ideas. This project is another model of something great that we will continue to grow."
Kendall Food Vision Prize - Maine Marinara Collaboration
As a partner with Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, MSFC secured a food system transformation grant from the Kendall Foundation.
We will make two batches of local tomato sauce; use forward contracts to sell the sauce to institutions, use forward contracts to buy 10,000 pounds of vegetables, secure financing to pay everyone on time or up front, invest in farmers from impacted communities, invest in a youth program with Isuken Cooperative, invest in a blast chiller for our local processor, and promote local foods.
"This idea is over a decade in the making and this grant is a HUGE step forward. Doing this is why a school system can afford locally made tomato sauce. It's better for the kids, employees aren't needing new skills, and it puts money in farmer's pockets. I think we all need to watch and nurture this project as a model for feeding kids and communities."
Whispers of upcoming things...
Tae Chong of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce asked for our help to convene a workshop on providing ethnic herbs in these same communities. MFSC reached out to our network of farmers, processors, and consumers to attend and provide a better picture of where this project can start and grow.
Fork Food Lab is still in the design and financing stage but Dave Seddon has discussed how MFSC could be a partner in the operation and offer our network and skills on a regular basis to members working at the facility. More to come!
"Once again these smell like great possibilities for MFSC and those we serve, and I look forward to hearing how things pan out as we continue pushing farm-to-institution."
Next Board Meeting
April 14th, 2023
April 21st, 2023
If you would like to attend the annual meeting please contact us to receive the Zoom info for attendance.