Farm Resources

Helping to grow the local food system of Washington County.

The Sunrise Food Infrastructure Initiative is an effort by SCEC to help grow the local food system of Washington County.  The initiative uses resources from several private foundations, individuals and the government to help farms and other local food businesses thrive, create jobs, and provide healthy food.

The SFII offers support to qualified clients, businesses and projects in the form of capital, guidance, and broad technical assistance. The SFII often collaborates with other regional and state organizations to provide such assistance.

In addition, the SFII is working to understand both the roadblocks and opportunities tied to local food activities. When possible, it participates in efforts that promise to bring about the most favorable conditions for the region. 

Tenth Village Farm

“Initially we were just raising our own food. Some local neighbors would come to us and ask us to process their chickens because they knew we had a plucker. We soon realized that we needed to become a business to continue to do this. That’s when the grant came in. If we agreed to work with other local farmers to help them process their chickens, they were willing to consider us for part of this grant money. So, to us, it was a no-brainer. People were already asking us to process their chickens. It went from a farmers market project to a business.”
Scott Graeber

Tenth Village Farm

Helpful Resources

Sunrise Ag Microloan

SAM targets Washington County farms and food producers and retailers seeking capital. SAM microloans can also help markets, buying clubs, retailers, and food pantries. Contact SCEC Local Foods Program Manager.

Unorganized Territories Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

Businesses in the Unorganized Territories of Washington County are eligible for a grant and loan program. Contact SCEC Program Manager Susan Hatton: email shatton@sunrisecounty.org, or by phone at 207-255-0983.

FSA Operating Loans

Direct Farm Operating Loans start, and strengthen farms.  Contact Valerie Porter (207) 255-3612 or visit https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/farm-operating-loans/index

FSA Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loan Program

Farm Ownership Loans can be used to buy farmland, and construct or repair buildings. These loans can be used for soil and water conservation, or to refinance debt.  Contact Valerie Porter (207) 255-3612 or visit https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/guaranteed-farm-loans/index

FSA Farm Storage Facility Loans

The Farm Storage Facility Loans help farmers build or improve buildings to store their produce. This includes grain bins, hay barns, bulk tanks, and cold storage. Drying and handling and storage equipment is also eligible. Contact Valerie Porter (207) 255-3612

Farm Credit East

Farm Credit East serves farmers, foresters, and fishermen. They offer a full range of credit services, financial services. Contact Pete Hallowell at 207-764-6431, email: FarmCreditEast_PresqueIsle_Admin_WCMS@farmcrediteast.com or visit https://www.farmcrediteast.com/

USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Service

NRCS programs provide financial help to plan and do conservation work.  These programs can support rock removal, and hoop house construction.  http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/me/programs/financial/

Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund

The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund offers help to veterans who are beginning farmers. Grants may be up to $5000.  http://www.farmvetco.org/about-us/our-programs/farming-fellowship/ Contact: Rachel Petitt at Rachel@farmvetco.org   (530) 756-1395

Maine Farms for the Future Program

The Maine Farms for the Future Program (FFF) is a grant program that offers help with business planning assistance and investment. The Phase 1 grant lets farmers to research ideas for change on their farm.  Farmers work with a certified business counselor to write an investment-grade business plan. The Phase 2 cash grant and/or low-interest loan helps farmers get their project(s) going. Contact Program Administrator, stephanie.gilbert@maine.gov  (207) 287-7520 Research Assistant, kimbalie.lawrence@maine.gov (207) 287-3491

TechStart Grants

TechStart Grants fund Research and Development to do market analysis, business plans and intellectual property protection work.  Grants are focused on those developing new ideas and new products. TechStart Grants can be up to $5,000. To learn more, email Kim Doughty, MTI Lending & Grants Associate, at kdoughty@mainetechnology.org.

Seed Grants

MTI Seed Grants are up to $25,000. Seed Grants fund early research and development. Seed grants fund proof of concept work, prototype development, field trials, prototype testing, pilot studies, or technology transfer work. To learn more, email Kim Doughty, MTI Lending & Grants Associate, at kdoughty@mainetechnology.org.

MTI SBIR/STTR Assistance Program

MTI helps companies develop proposals to federal agencies that participate in the SBIR/STTR program. Opportunities include a $5,000 Phase 0 KickStarter grant and a Technical Assistance Program. For more information, please contact Karen West at cpmgmt@fairpoint.net or at 207-845-2934.

Value Added Producer Grants

The Value Added Producer Grants help farmers process and/or market new products. Beginning, family, small or cooperative farms and socially disadvantaged farmers get priority. For more information, contact Brian Wilson at (207)990-9168 or email brian.wilson@me.usda.gov

 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

REAP gives grants and loans to farmers and rural businesses to do renewable energy projects.  REAP also helps farmers and rural businesses do energy efficiency work. For more information, contact Brian Wilson at (207)990-9168 or email brian.wilson@me.usda.gov

Kiva Loans

Kiva offers no-interest crowd funded loans. Kiva loans can be up to $10,000 to farmers, fishermen and food related businesses.

Land for Good

Land for Good helps farmers pass their farms on to the next generation. For more information, contact http://landforgood.org/programs/farm-seekers/

Beginning Farmers:

Beginning Farmer Resource Network

This network connects beginning farmers to resources for farm business success. Learn more at http://umaine.edu/beginning-farmer-resource-network/

Land for Good

The Farm Seekers Program puts farmers on the land by helping them access farms and farmland through traditional and innovative methods.     http://landforgood.org/programs/farm-seekers/

Sunrise Ag Microloan

SAM loans can be used by Washington County farms and food producers and sellers. Loans funds may be used training and education. Contact SCEC Program Manager Susan Hatton at shatton@sunrisecounty.org

Sunrise Scholarship Fund

SSF gives scholarships of up to $500 to people in Washington County. SSF scholarships help low-to-moderate income students to attend a training and/or certification program. All training needs to increase the student’s chances for immediate work or job advancement. Contact SCEC Assistant Director, Jennifer Peters, at (207) 255-0983 or email scec@sunrisecounty.org  for more information.

Gracie Fund

The Gracie Fund is a student loan repayment program. It helps residents of Washington County put down roots after college.  Contact SCEC Assistant Director Jennifer Peters at 207-255-0983 or email scec@sunrisecounty.org for more information.

MOFGA’s Farm Apprenticeship Program

This program connects people wanting to learn organic farming with experienced farmers. Usually new farmers work for exchange for room, board, a stipend, and informal, intensive training and experience. Information for Prospective Apprentices Information For Host Farms.

MOFGA’s Farm Training Project

Learn farming skills from farmers. Discover the diversity of Maine agriculture. For more information about or directions to any of the workshops, email education@mofga.org or call 568-4142.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension

UMaine Extension offers farmers the resources and expertise of the University of Maine. UMaine Extension gives unbiased, research through trainings, publications, and events. Find out how they can help at http://umaine.edu/washington/contact-us/

Farm Credit East

Farm Credit East helps farmers, greenhouse operators, foresters, fishermen, and lobstermen. It offers college scholarships. Contact Pete Hallowell at 207-764-6431 or email: FarmCreditEast_PresqueIsle_Admin_WCMS@farmcrediteast.com

Maine AgrAbility

The Maine AgrAbility helps farmers, fishermen and forest workers work safely. It offers training for workers impacted by a disability. https://extension.umaine.edu/agrability/

Sunrise Ag Microloan

SAM targets Washington County-based commercial small farms and food producers seeking SAM loans can be used by Washington County farms and food producers and sellers. Loans may be used for marketing. Contact SCEC Local Foods Program Manager.

The Women’s Business Center at CEI

The Women’s Business Center at CEI offers a broad program of personalized business advising and workshops. This helps farmers start, manage, grow or finance their businesses.  Business advising is free of charge and available in-person or by phone.  Contact Certified Business Advisor Ruth Cash-Smith at rcs@ceimaine.org or by calling 207-255-0983.

Maine Farmland Trust Farm Business Development

FBD helps farmers develop business plans.  It works with farmers to boost their skill in making business decisions. Contact Business Development Manager, Farm Viability, Elizabeth Sprague:  esprague@mainefarmlandtrust.org

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardener’s Association

MOFGA Certification Services (MCS) is an accredited certification agency. They currently certify farms throughout Maine and New England. Call 207-568-6030 or email certification@mofga.org

Farm Service Agency Organic Certification Cost Share Program

This program gives certified organic farmer a chance to get back up to 75% of their certification cost each year.

Legal Food Hub

The Legal Food Hub gives free legal help and trainings to farmers, and food entrepreneursFor more information contact(http://www.legalfoodhub.org/about-us/)

Maine PTAC
Maine Procurement Technical Assistance Center helps Maine businesses sell to the government.  Contact SCEC’s Government Procurement Counselor.

Machias Valley Farmers’ Market (MVFM)
Contact Barbara Anthony Email: barbaraanthony003@gmail.com

Sunrise County Farmers’ Market – Calais
Contact Terry Moffit at true2wonders@gmail.com or 796-2585

Sunrise County Farmers’ Market – Eastport
Contact: Sally Ericson: sallye@blast.com

 Princeton Farmer’s Market
Contact: Wayne Seidl at (207) 796-2330.

Milbridge Farmer’sMarket
Contact: (207)638-2664

Maine Federation of Farmer’s Markets
MFFM has resources for market members.  For more information, visit: http://www.mainefarmersmarkets.org/

Machias Marketplace
The Machias Marketplace is open Wednesday through Friday from 10-5 PM. Contact Inez Lombardo on Facebook: Machias Marketplace or by email machias.fmp@gmail.com, or phone (207) 271-2951.

Whole Life Market
80 Main Street, Machias, ME. 04654 Phone: 207-255-8855, Fax: 207-255-8866 Place orders: on-line at www.wholelifemarket.com.

Growing Concern
Is developing a county-wide wholesale food delivery system.  35 Manning Street Calais ME 04619 (207) 454-0183 http://www.growingconcern.me/

Eat Local Eastport Co-op
49 Water St, Eastport, ME 04631 Phone :(207) 853-2869 eatlocaleastport@yahoo.com

Maine’s Local Food Network
Maine’s Local Food Network is a growing statewide map of Maine’s local food system. Search for distributors, retailers, wholesalers, near-by farms or farmer’s markets. http://gro-wa.org/foodMap/#

Pathstone Corporation

Pathstone Corporation manages the National Farmworker Jobs Program.  This program can help farmers connect to workers, and support the cost of worker training. Learn more at https://pathstone.org/ or contact Elizabeth Grout at egrout@pathstone.org or 207-573-9009. 

Fruits and Vegetables:

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) & Good Handling Practices (GHP):

GAP and GHP are audits that verify fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards.

Increasingly, large grocery chains, and institutions require their producers to meet GAP and GHP standards and be GAP certified by a USDA audit.

The cost of these annual audits is born by the farmer although some wholesalers and retailers(http://www.mainebiz.biz/article/20150223/CURRENTEDITION/302189993/chelsea-wagner:-marketing-hannaford%5C’s-buy-local-program) do reimburse a portion of the cost.

GAP Food Safety Standards can be found here:

The GAP and GHP Audit User’s Guide (http://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/GAP-GHP-Audit-Users-Guide.pdf)  includes an audit request form.

The “Beginning Farmer’s Guide to a GAP Audit,(http://www.hobbyfarms.com/farm-marketing-and-management/gap-audit-guide.aspx) is an excellent resource for familiarizing oneself with the GAP certification process.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP):

HACCP plans are a risk management process that documents how food and ingredients are processed so that risks in obtaining, handling, manufacturing, and (if needed) recalling of food can be at the highest standard. HACCP plans involve not just how food is handled and treated, but also provide consistent and detailed records of its passage through the food system. HACCP information, course and draft plans can be found at the Maine State Division of Environmental Health (http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/el/) website. The USDA offers a Guidebook for the Preparation of HACCP Plans (http://www.haccpalliance.org/sub/haccpmodels/guidebook.pdf. )

Meat:

There is a three-tiered inspection system in place in Maine regarding meat processing.

Custom and Retail Exempt Slaughtering:

There are two primary processor exemptions to state and federal meat processing rules: Custom and Retail.

Custom exemption, for both animal slaughter and meat processing, relieves processors from the requirements of state and federal inspection. There are distinct requirements under this exemption:

  • Custom slaughter must only be for the personal use of the owner of the animal;
  • The resulting product must be marked “Not for Sale”;
  • The operator must maintain accurate production and business records; and
  • The animal and/or product must be prepared or processed in a sanitary manner.

Custom slaughter must only be for the personal use of the owner of the animal.
  However, more than one person can own an animal, and whole or quarter animals can be sold as long as they are purchased before slaughter.

Retail Exempt Slaughtered meat is distinguished from personal household consumption and purchasing for reselling. The USDA has limitations on the “normal retail quantity” a customer can purchase and a processor can provide. The limitations per meat animal species are listed as follows:

A retail-exempt processor can sell products to food service (caterers, hotels, and restaurants), provided that:

Maine State Inspected Meat:

The Maine Red Meat and Poultry Inspection Program regulates wholesomeness and quality as well as ensures the consumer a safe product. The program is equal or better than the current USDA Inspection System.  Unlike custom exempt meat processing, Maine State-inspected meat may be resold commercially but must be sold within the state.  If you are interested in state inspection or have any questions, please contact: Henrietta Beaufait at (207) 287-7512: or email: henrietta.beaufait@maine.gov

USDA Inspected Meat:

USDA Inspected meat is inspected to the same level as Maine State Inspections, however, it can be sold outside of the state and internationally. For more information read the USDA’s Slaughter Inspection 101 (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/production-and-inspection/slaughter-inspection-101/slaughter-inspection-101).

Dairy:

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry run the Dairy Inspection Program. It is responsible for inspecting processors and farms to ensure the safe supply of milk for the public.

Dairy Inspectors conduct farm and dairy plant inspections in compliance with the Interstate Milk Shippers Program(IMS). They visit dairy farms semiannually for sanitary inspections of milking equipment and facilities.

The Maine Milk Quality Laboratory analyzes dairy products, tests producers’ water samples and certifies commercial and industry milk laboratories involved in the IMS Program. Licenses are issued for frozen dessert products and milk and cheese processors.

To familiarize yourself with the rules and laws regarding dairy foods in Maine, visit http://www.maine.gov/dacf/qar/inspection_programs/dairy_inspection.shtml.

Fermented Products:

Fermented food products must comply with both food safety and alcohol regulations.  Maine state law defines and regulates spirits, wine, malt liquor, hard cider, or any substance containing liquor, intended for human consumption, which contains more than 1/2 of 1% of alcohol by volume. Those seeking to produce for sale less than 50,000 gallons of liquor need to complete a small brewery (http://www.maine.gov/dafs/bablo/docs/06SmBreweryAp.pdf), or farm winery (http://www.maine.gov/dafs/bablo/docs/06FarmWineryAp.pdf) application.

Any liquor which is produced for commercial purposes must be permitted by the Federal Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (http://www.ttb.gov/ponl/permits-online.shtml).  It can take up to 75 days for a permit to be approved. No brewing may commence before approval is given. Brewers must also have bond coverage before beginning the business of brewing. You may obtain information on surety companies from the following website: https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/fsreports/ref/suretyBnd/c570_a-z.htm

Cider:

All cider offered for sale must be heat treated, treated by ultraviolet light or pressed under a state-approved HACCP plan unless the cider bears a warning “WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized. It may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly and persons with weakened immune systems.” Maine has food laws and rules that particularly concern apple juice and cider (http://www.maine.gov/dacf/qar/laws_and_rules/food_laws_rules.shtml). “Hard cider” is liquor when contains 1/2 of 1% alcohol and therefor falls under state and federal liquor laws.

Kambucha:

A fermented tea, kambucha generally exceeds the 1/2 of 1% alcohol threshold and is considered liquor under state and federal law. Its production needs to be under a brewery or wine license. Alternately, it can be pasteurized or diluted to lower its alcohol content.

Fermented Foods:

Fermented meats, vegetables, and dairy products such as jerky, sauerkraut, yogurt, and pickles all require a HACCP plan and at least a Home Food Processor License depending on their levels of acidity and protein contents.

Baked Goods, Candies, Jams and Pickles: A Home Food Processor License (http://www.maine.gov/dacf/qar/permits_and_licenses/index.shtml) covers producers of baked goods, candies, jams, and pickles which do not require refrigeration. Generally, this requires you to have your well water tested, sewage system vetted and meet basic food handling safety rules and regulations (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/basics-for-handling-food-safely).

Most baked goods, fruit-based jams/jellies, and candies/confections do not need to be sent to the University of Maine for food testing.  Shelf stable foods such as acidified canned foods (pickles, salsas, marinades, dressings), dessert sauces (caramel/chocolate sauces), and raw foods with minimal processing are a few examples. An excellent article about what is needed to create a Licensed Home Food Processor Kitchen can be found at http://www.mofga.org/Publications/MaineOrganicFarmerGardener/Summer2008/Licensing/tabid/948/Default.aspx

Potentially hazardous foods which contain protein, or need to be refrigerated (such as cream-filled cakes or jerked meat) need to be produced under a Commercial Food Processor’s License (http://www.maine.gov/dacf/qar/permits_and_licenses/index.shtml).

Organic Designation:

The Maine Organic Farmer’s and Gardener’s Association (MOFGA) is the primary provider of organic certification services to farmers and food producers in the State of Maine. MOFGA (http://www.mofgacertification.org/?page_id=2740)  provides a clear and detailed description of the pathway to organic certification.

Significant costs surround organic certifications; however, many can be offset with federal government reimbursements. A detailed discussion of the costs associated with MOFGA certification can be found here.

Ethical Standards and Certifications:

There are a number of certifications designed to offer ethical and religious assurances regarding the treatment of workers, the environment, and animals.

Fair Trade;

Fair Trade USA’s standards assess food products in terms of employee empowerment, economic development, social development and environmental stewardship. Their standards and guidelines can be found at (http://fairtradeusa.org/certification/standards/download-center).

Sustainably Grown Certification:

This certification reinforces the producer’s efforts to minimize environmental impacts, provide a safe and healthy work environment, and protect product integrity. These include:

  • Implementing best practices for environmental, social and quality performance
  • Stimulating continuous improvement and innovation in agriculture
  • Enhancing agro-ecosystem structure and functioning
  • Increasing energy efficiency of agricultural systems
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural operations
  • Supporting bioregional production and consumption of agricultural products
  • Optimizing land use for the production of food, fiber and biofuel crops
  • Raising public awareness and stimulate consumer purchases that reinforce adoption of sustainable agriculture practices

Information regarding their certification process can be found at https://www.scsglobalservices.com/sustainably-grown-certification.

Non-GMO Verification:

The Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program is a process-based and product-based program designed to assess compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard (http://www.nongmoproject.org/product-verification/non-gmo-project-standard/). The core requirements are traceability, segregation, and testing of high-risk ingredients at critical control points.  The verification process is handled by independent, third-party technical administrators who determine if a product complies with their Standard. More information can be found at  http://www.nongmoproject.org/product-verification/.

Certified Humane Raised and Handled:

Humane Farm Animal Care is the non-profit certification organization which evaluates the humane raising and handling of farm animals in food production from birth through slaughter. The goal of the program is to improve the lives of farm animals by driving consumer demand for kinder and more responsible farm animal practices. Standards for most farm animals can be found at (http://certifiedhumane.org/how-we-work/our-standards/).

Kosher Certification:

“Kosher” refers to a set of biblical laws pertaining to food preparation, cleanliness, purity, quality and type.  To be certified Kosher, all ingredients in every product—and the process of preparing the product—must be certified for kosher-compliance. Orthodox Union (OU) Kosher is the leading kosher compliance company.  Information regarding their certification process can be found at https://oukosher.org/.

Halal Certification:

Halal refers to lawful or permitted food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, and food contact materials under Islamic law.  The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) provides a certification process for halal designation in the United States.