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February 20, 2020

Maine Grain Alliance funds 19 businesses, organizations across the state

Courtesy / Somali Bantu Community Association Hassan Barjin, farm manager with Liberation Farms, a community program of the Somali Bantu Community Association, plants leeks for the Portland public school system. The association was one of 19 Maine Grain Alliance grant recipients.

The Maine Grain Alliance in Skowhegan has awarded technical assistance grants to 19 bakeries and other grain-based organizations, from Biddeford to Benton to Belgrade Lakes.

This year, farms, bakeries, nonprofits, a brewery, and an oven builder were among those to receive funds totaling $12,475, according to a news release.

“The Maine Grain Alliance is incredibly proud to support hardworking entrepreneurs who are helping transform our regional grain economy,” Tristan Noyes, executive director of the Maine Grain Alliance, said in the release. “It is inspiring to see all of the innovative ways our community is shaping the future of grain in the state.“

The alliance awards mini-grants of $250 to $1,000 to fund need-based technical assistance and equipment across a variety of grain-based businesses and organizations in Maine. The alliance is especially interested in assisting participants, presenters, panelists, work-study students and scholarship recipients of its Kneading Conference, which has been held annually since 2007. 

The latest round of grants provided funding for post-harvest grain handling infrastructure, baking and brewing equipment, market research, business planning and professional development.  

The grant program is made possible by the support of Skowhegan Savings Bank and Allagash Brewing Co.

Technical assistance grant recipients

  • Acadia Clay Ovens, Burnham: $400 in support of expanding exposure of the business through targeted print advertising
  • Au Bon Vivant Artisan Bakery: $500 in support of a portion of cost relating to build-out of a small commercial kitchen, a walk-in cooler and purchase of a small commercial convection steam-injected oven
  • The Bankery, Skowhegan: $700 in support of assessing and researching the possibilities of expansion of one or more products lines
  • Bigelow Fields Bread House, Langtown Mill: $700 in support of hiring professional baking consultants to help the business grow
  • Brazen Baking, Camden: $400 in support of purchasing new custom packaging
  • Heather Kerner: $800 in support of purchasing a dough divider and rounding machine, for use in launching a dough company start-up in the Skowhegan area, featuring Maine-grown grains
  • Hello, Good Pie Bakery & Gourmet Kitchen, Belgrade Lakes: $400 in support of a label maker
  • Hootenanny Bread, Damariscotta: $700 in support of purchase of a mill and associated maintenance, restoration, and training costs
  • Liberation Farms, Somali Bantu Community Association, Lewiston: $625 in support of needed flint corn processing and post-harvest grain handling equipment
  • The Miller’s Table at Maine Grains, Skowhegan: $800 in support of hiring a finance consultant to develop cash flow projections for hiring a full-time baker 
  • Night Moves Bread, Biddeford: $750 in support of a new motor for mixer and installation by a bakery equipment specialist
  • Old Dog Baking Co., Mount Desert: $800 in support of materials and equipment needed to build a cold room for dough
  • Ora Breads Volunteer Baking Guild, Farmington: $800 in support of purchase of a mill
  • Rusted Rooster Farm, Parkman: $600 in support of purchase of grain seed bins
  • Songbird Farm, Unity: $800 in support of construction of a grain drier
  • Tumbledown Brewing, Farmington: $700 in support of purchase of a gear driven grain mill
  • Uproot Pie Co.: $800 in support of purchase of a 40-quart mixer
  • Wild Folk Farm/Maine Rice Project, Benton: $500 to help support the purchase of rice hullers
  • Zu Bakery: $700 in support of a portion of costs associated with purchase of a dough rounder

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