Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC) has retained Asher Woodworth of Eastport to oversee and manage the recently developed Sunrise Food Infrastructure Initiative (SFII). The SFII aims to provide support to Washington County farmers, fishermen and food producers in the form of access to capital, guidance, and technical assistance. Currently, the SFII encompasses an agricultural microloan program, supported by a local anonymous donor through a Private Related Investment (PRI) and a targeted grant program for individual investment in specific areas supported by the SFII.
“Asher,” SCEC Executive Director Harold Clossey said, “has firsthand experience working in our local farming and food community, as well as the expertise to strengthen and guide the SFII’s work. We are extremely fortunate to find Asher and eager to have him join our work.”
Woodworth a graduate of Bennington College in southwestern Vermont has been actively involved in developing affordable, renewable energy alternatives and local/regional food systems since moving to Eastport in 2012. He has collaborated with the Washington County Renewable Energy Working Group, Thermal Efficiency: Eastport, and The Affordable Heat Consortium, and has worked seasonally for the Eastport-Lubec Ferry and Tide Mill Farm.
“I am very pleased to work with the Sunrise Food Infrastructure Initiative,” Woodworth said, “I look forward to finding ways of developing the program so that it can best support the transition to a more prosperous and locally-sourced food economy here in Washington County. I firmly believe that our small farmers, fishermen and food producers are poised to move the Down East economy forward, and anything we can do to facilitate that should be, pardon the pun, on the table.”
The SFII program as a whole seeks to encourage and develop opportunities to grow and process local food, to identify and expand key market opportunities for locally produced value-added food products, and to assist public and private entities engaged in all aspects of farming and fishing from production, to distribution, to sales.