Our “Village Community Conversations,” held in September and October 2017, solicited robust resident participation in the exchange of creative ideas and candid discussion about the future of Bowdoinham’s village area. More than 100 community members participated over the course of two meetings, exceeding all expectations in terms of engagement, enthusiasm, creativity, and commitment to the town’s future. A wide range of more than 50 ideas were initially generated, ranging from the creation of a community center to the establishment of a safe family swimming area in the Cathance River. A subset of possible actions was further refined for community action by the residents and BCDI Board. BCDI is continuing to build on the success of the village meetings by shepherding next steps and continuing to work with the Town of Bowdoinham, interested citizens, and other stakeholders to make progress on some of the “high feasibility, high impact” ideas that emerged. A Final Report was created by our meeting facilitator, Jane Lafleur, which includes a thorough summary of both the meetings and the ideas that transpired from each. The full report is available at the link below. Thank you to all who participated, and will continue to be involved!
The BCDI Board was thrilled at the initial turnout of nearly 100 enthusiastic residents at our September 20 meeting. Who knew that the Town Landing’s pizza was so popular! We have been working with our consultant, Jane LaFluer, to distill the notes from the initial meeting, identify key themes, and finalize the agenda for the next session at 6 PM on October 25 (pizza at 5:30). We have also received numerous additional comments following the meeting, and we will make sure those comments are reviewed as well. Themes included the status and visions for existing structures (e.g., Grange), public places (e.g., waterfront), and businesses (gas station/country store), as well as may others.
We hope you will join us again on October 25 to focus on turning these ideas into actions. Please sign up at https://bcdi2.eventbrite.com/. We look forward to seeing you there!
December 6, 2015 – After three years of leadership on the BCDI Board, and as Chair for the past one and a half, Kathy Gallant has decided her other responsibilities made it impossible to give the kind of attention to the Board that she wanted to, and asked to step down. Kathy will remain available for participating on Screening Committees and with the the Advisory Group. Andy Cutko has agreed to step into the Chair. Thank you Kathy for all your efforts to date, and Andy for continuing the strong leadership tradition!
November 7, 2015 – Banana Banners has fully repaid the Community Development Loan it received in October 2013 to replace the roof on its building. The loan was repaid in monthly installments – in full and on time! Thank you Robin, and thank you Community Development Loan Investors!
June 9, 2015 – BCDI has been awarded a $2000 Grow Grant by the New England Grass Roots Environment Fund (NEGEF)! The funds may be used flexibly to support BCDI’s operations. To learn more about NEGEF, and see an article about BCDI on their site, go to: http://www.grassrootsfund.org
February 6, 2015 – In late January Jan Hayward informed the Board that do to mounting family and work commitments, she was stepping down from the Board. Jan will remain a member of the informal Advisory Group, and we thank her for her two years of service on the Board. At the same time, it is a great pleasure to announce that Kathy Montejo and Andy Cutko have joined the Board.
August 27, 2014 – BCDI held its first Annual Membership Meeting at the Merrymeeting Grange on Main Street in Bowdoinham, welcomed David Engler and Dwight Sholes as new Board Members, and said a huge THANK YOU to Tony Cox and George Christopher who stepped down after two years of great work helping get BCDI up and running.
June 11, 2014 – Bowdoinham residents voted in favor of the warrant article authorizing Town support for BCDI in the amount requested ($5,000). Thank you Bowdoinham!
April, 2014 – BCDI has been recently awarded two grants to support the operational costs of the organization. The New England Grassroots Environmental Fund (NEGEF) has given us a Grow grant of $2000 “to help cover the costs of a coordinator stipend, supporting the costs of the community loan fund while establishing a plan to attract sustainable multiple-stream income sources.” A second grant to BCDI of $2500 from the Bowdoin College Common Good program has just been announced and will be received at a ceremony at the College on 16 April!
December 1, 2013 – received from the IRS: “We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal revenue Code. Contributions to you are deductible under section 170 of the Code. You are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code Full Report.” Your Membership contribution to BCDI is now tax deductible!!
October 28, 2013 – BCDI has recently completed another Community Development Loan, this time to help get a new roof on Banana Banners before the snow flies! This brings the total loaned through this program to almost $50,000 – Thank you Bowdoinham!
October 16, 2013 – BCDI is pleased to announce three new additions to the BCDI Board: Jan Hayward, Brian Smith and Harriet Van Vleck have joined Tony Cox, Kathy Gallant, Laurel Waterman-Lopez and George Christopher as Board Members. David Whittlesey leaves the Board and remains the BCDI Manager. Welcome Jan, Brian and Harriet!!
October 3, 2013 – BCDI has agreed to work closely with the Local Farms, Local Food project, a joint effort of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) and the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust (BTLT). BCDI will help link the land trusts’ growing emphasis on farm preservation as an integral part of land conservation in Bowdoinham and Bowdoin.
August 17, 2013 Left Field Farm, which received a BCDI loan to purchase two greenhouses, a key part of its initial plan to get the farm up and running in 2013, made the first repayment in full and in advance of the due date. Thank you Sean!
June 25, 2013 – The Selectboad of Bowdoinham unanimously approved BCDI’s request for $3000 from the Town’s 2013 TIF budget to help support operational costs.The latest Community Development Loans all fulfilled
For the first time, BCDI put forward three community development loans at the same time, Bob Kane Wood Products, the Long Branch School and Apple Creek Farm, totaling over $14,500. While they varied in terms of their purpose, the amounts being sought and their level of risk, all three were fulfilled in less than two weeks! AND there were people interested beyond what was required! And now a new opportunity supporting Mary Stride to launch two new business ventures has also been fully funded in two weeks time!
USDA-Farm Service Agency published some changes to its micro loan program on January 17 making the loans more accessible to small and starting farmers. Might be worth checking out at: http://www try this site.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/fsa_br_01_web_booklet.pdf
or contacting the USDA FSA office in Lewiston: Tel: (207) 753-9400
Wendy Rose has put together in one concise document a range of business related resources for the small business entrepreneur or owner. It contains direct links to websites, phone numbers and other contact information to a number of resources throughout the State. A very handy reference!!
Ben Dearnley, owner of Life Force Farm who received a BCDI loan of $5000 to construct a high-tunnel greenhouse to further extend his growing season and embellish his Winter CSA shares, has fully repaid the loan three weeks ahead of schedule.
2013 Sustainable Food Systems Leadership Institute
There is still time to learn more or apply for the 2013 Sustainable Food Systems Leadership Institute. This year long leadership development program is focused on providing farmers, food entrepreneurs, and change agents in the local foods movement to sharpen their leadership capabilities and networking skills as they work to move agriculture in Maine forward. Deadline for applications is January 4, 2013. For more information contact Mark Hews at firstname.lastname@example.org
On 11 November, BCDI held a discussion gathering (with great food thanks to the participants!) with some 20+ members of the community and Jamien Richardson who has created a new Topsham-based business – Maine Harvest Company ( www.meharvest.com ) The business “will be a food aggregation and processing facility located in the Brunswick/Topsham, Maine area focusing on lightly processing and freezing produce in an effort to create greater value for producers and increase access to healthy local foods year round for the consumer.” The group learned about MHC’s plans for creating this new business and shared thoughts on how their approaches to farming might fit with MHC’s business model. All found the information sharing extremely useful, and further discussion gatherings on several topics (yes, with the good food!) are being planned for the winter months.
Small Wonder Organics, the diversified organic produce farm that was the recipient of the first BCDI loan ($7000 to purchase a tractor) has repaid their loan in full more than three months ahead of schedule! Pete and Sarah’s repaying ahead of time not only encourages confidence in the BCDI effort, but has given some investors liquidity to reinvest in future projects. Of the original 12 investors, 7 have chosen to “roll-over” their initial investment and make the funds available to future BCDI loan/investment opportunities lexapro dosage.
The BCDI Loan Fund disbursed a $7000 loan to a young farmer starting an organic farm in Bowdoinham to purchase two greenhouses which are currently in place on the land where he is now farming. The purchase of the greenhouses is an integral part of a transition taking place within the farming community on the Brown’s Point Road, and Left Field Farm is now off to a great start fulfilling its CSA orders and taking stock of its first year of operations. Left Field Farm made its first payment on the BCDI loan in full and ahead of schedule on 20 August.