The Knox County Food Council hosts the Midcoast Farmers Alliance for a presentation about an upcoming opportunity available for farmers interested in forming a collaborative/cooperative.

Attendees interested in any part of the proposed project can join the discussion at the next KCFC monthly meeting, on May 10, 2022, at 5 p.m. This virtual event, to be held on Zoom, is open to everyone and is free of charge.

The Midcoast Farmer’s Alliance (MFA) is a support network for area farmers that the Maine Coast Heritage Trust formed in 2015.

Heidi Baker, Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s general manager of Aldermere Farm, said, “At the KCFC meeting, presenters will be introducing MFA to the broader food collective, talking about local food distribution needs and the collaboration between Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) and Midcoast Farmers Alliance (MFA), and brainstorming with participants how the proposed project can increase food security.

“MFA is sharing the possibility of developing the former Coastal Blueberries Services Inc. building on 61 Common Road in Union. This property neighbors the Come Spring Food Pantry and Union Farmers Market and has key features, like a barn, which faces the Union Fairgrounds, a large lot, an insulated shipping container on-grounds, and bathroom.”

Farmers, value-added producers, homesteaders, and bakers may be interested in the opportunities for them to contribute to/participate in a shared chicken processing enterprise, shared retail storefront where people can purchase locally grown produce, shared cold and dry storage, shared auxiliary cold storage, the possibility of enhancing the food system by reducing food waste by donating unsold products to the neighboring food pantry, and more. The potential for a shared commercial kitchen would need to be developed.

Midcoast Farmer’s Alliance has held a listening session with area farmers to collect feedback which they will use to develop a business plan, and is looking for feedback from the area farmers and food producers to identify the specific needs of the Midcoast agricultural community and gauge interest in the project.

Area farmers and food producers who express interest will be invited to be part of a small, working group to develop a business model for this type of property. The survey link is https://forms.gle/xXgUBk4dPYqNSKsXA

Midcoast Farmer’s Alliance has been working with MFT. Maine Farmland Trust is willing to purchase the property and lease it to MFA until MFA has funding to buy the property. Maine Coast Heritage Trust is willing to pay for due diligence support.

To register and receive the Zoom link for the upcoming meeting, visit www.aldermere.org/kcfc/meeting-registration.

For more information about MFA and MFA’s upcoming opportunities for this farming collaborative/cooperative, contact General Manager Heidi Baker at adermere@mcht.org.