Small Wonder Organics
THIS LOAN WAS PAID BACK IN FULL AND AHEAD OF THE DUE DATE
Pete Engler and Sarah Trask run Small Wonder Organics, a diversified certified organic vegetable farm situated on Brown’s Point Road. Entering its third year of production, the farm primarily markets through farmers’ markets, CSA distribution, restaurant accounts and local health food stores. Integral to their mission is increased access to ethically and healthfully raised local produce for all income levels. This is made possible through the acceptance of WIC vouchers, SNAP/EBT benefits, and flexible CSA payment programs. Stewardship of the land, responsibility to the community and fiscal prudence shape their business model.
The farm was facing the need for a substantial increase in productive capacity, and proposed to achieve it through expanded acreage and increased intensity of production via in-house tractor work and increased labor inputs. They identified machine criteria and located an appropriate tractor in nearby Richmond, applied to BCDI for a loan (the first!) to buy the tractor and still meet early season labor and capital requirements.
The necessary funds were raised from 12 local investors, and a $7000 loan was disbursed at the end of January. The tractor is now working the fields down on the Brown’s Point. The initial investment plus 2% interest was repaid in full three months before the due date! In addition, the farmers as part of the interest on this loan provided 1% of the loan value in plant starts to the Bowdoinham Library Plant Sale in May. In addition to supporting a local farm providing wonderful healthy food to the community (including through a CSA and a special “Tomato Passion Club”) the loan helped out the Library, and the economy of the community (as part of its expansion, Small Wonder Organics hired the two persons for 20 weeks during the growing season).
Unexpectedly, over half of the original investors requested that their investment be “rolled-over” into future investments, giving BCDI a base for responding to future loan applications.
If you know other Bowdoinham community members who you think might be interested in making this kind of investment, or might want to seek this kind of loan, please have them contact BCDI.
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