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May 30, 2017

Farm-surplus startup wins UMaine Business Challenge

Courtesy / College of the Atlantic College of the Atlantic students Grace Burchard '17, left, and Anita van Dam '19, won the University of Maine Business Challenge with their [Re]Produce sustainable business venture.

[Re]Produce, a sustainable farm-surplus startup created by College of the Atlantic students Anita van Dam ’19 and Grace Burchard ’17, won the sixth annual University of Maine Business Challenge, which comes with a $5,000 cash prize.

The prize money, along with $5,000 more in in-kind services, is from Business Lending Solutions.

The COA students plan to launch [Re]Produce in Portland this fall.

Van Dam and Burchard’s company addresses food waste in Maine by creating market value for farm surplus and cosmetically imperfect vegetables, also known as “ugly produce.”

They competed against four other finalists on April 29, including graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Maine and Southern Maine Community College. COA announced the results on May 25.

“One of the judges said that our timing is ‘impeccable,’” van Dam said in a statement. “People are becoming more aware about food justice issues, and food waste is on top on that list.”

Burchard and van Dam were chosen for the UMaine Challenge out of 45 competition entrants.

In November 2016, they split for first place at the Maine Food Systems Innovation Challenge at Bowdoin College.

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