We are so pleased to welcome new Board of Directors member, Dave Mention! Dave and his wife, Dory, have lived in Bowdoinham for over thirty years, and have been supporters of BCDI since its inception. Dave brings lots of non-profit Board experience, and is keenly interested in finding innovative ways to enable local business to develop and thrive. Read more about Dave and our other volunteer Board members here!
Andy Cutko, BCDI Board Member
Now in its seventh year, the Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative is still a relatively young organization. BCDI is a registered non-profit with a paid Program Manager and an active, engaged, and rotating Board of local citizens. Many town residents first learned about BCDI through our innovative loan program, while others gained some exposure to us through our Village Community Conversations in 2017.
As more town residents hear of BCDI’s various activities, some ask, ‘What’s the relationship between BCDI and Bowdoinham’s municipal government?’ BCDI was founded by local citizens who recognized a need to support private sector enterprises, such as small farms and entrepreneurs, in a way that complements the Town’s important role in bolstering economic development. Our ‘Neighbors Investing in Neighbors’ loan program fills that unique niche and is a cornerstone of BCDI. As an independent organization, BCDI is also well positioned to bring together residents to discuss key issues (farmland, village development) in a variety of settings, from informal kitchen table discussions to broader public meetings. BCDI recognizes that alignment and support of Town functions, plans, and committees is vital, including the Community Development and Advisory Committee (CDAC), Town Comprehensive Plan, and Waterfront Committee. To this end, BCDI representatives meet regularly with Town staff and committee members to ensure that our efforts are complementary. While BCDI has received town funding in a few past years, BCDI currently receives no public funding; our financial support is provided by membership contributions, local businesses, and private grantors including the Sewall Foundation, Maine Community Foundation, and New England Grassroots Fund.
Above all, BCDI is here to support a healthy and thriving community, and we are always open to new ideas and creative inspiration. If you have specific questions or feedback about BCDI, we want to hear from you! Feel free to contact Ingrid, our Program Manager, or one of our Board members. We look forward to crossing paths in town.
We are so pleased to have filled Merrymeeting Community Center with a good many folks from the Bowdoinham farming community for our Community Conversation: Focus On Farmers! Thank you for coming out on a snowy Sunday to break some bread (and cinnamon rolls!) and share some great conversation. We look forward to following up!
Minutes from the Conversation may be found here.
If you are interested in joining BCDI's Farmland Committee or would like more information, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you a member of BCDI?! We are a member-driven organization and your support is essential to our ability to fulfill our mission. Read more about our membership here.
Six River Farm is an organic vegetable farm located along the shores of Merrymeeting Bay in Bowdoinham. It is owned and operated by Gabrielle Gosselin and Nate Drummond (as well as junior farmers Alice (4) and Quincy (1)). We farm fields located off Center’s Point Rd and Brown’s Point Rd. The farm produces a wide range of vegetables for sale year round. 100% of our produce is sold locally, primarily at farmers’ markets in Brunswick and to grocery stores and restaurants in the greater Brunswick-Freeport area.
We moved to Bowdoinham and started Six River Farm in 2007 after seeing an advertisement from George Christopher listing farmland and barn space for rent off the Brown’s Point Road. The original parcel of farmland we leased was part of the Kelly Farm, owned by the Kelly family and previously farmed by Ransom Kelly, Harry Prout and Brian Dennison. In 2017 the Kelly family decided to sell the Kelly Farm property and we joined with five other local farmers who were already leasing different sections of the property to form Browne’s Point Farmland, LLC in order to collectively purchase the property. The property is protected by as easement which restricts future development and preserves the open farmland for agricultural use.
Over the years we have also purchased a house and farmland on Center’s Point Rd and leased several fields from neighbors on Center’s Point Rd, Lee and Shirley Tracy and Frank and Jane Connors. All of our fields are situated along the shore of Merrymeeting Bay and are comprised of deep alluvial silt loam soils. These soils and our mild Maine summers and falls offer prime growing conditions for a range of vegetable crops, particularly leafy greens, broccoli, celery and carrots. We utilize a range of hoophouse structures on the farm to provide protected growing environments for fragile crops such as tomatoes and strawberries as well as winter growing space for cold-hardy greens throughout the winter. All of our production is certified organic and we believe that the location of our fields along the shore Merrymeeting Bay requires a strong commitment to environmental stewardship in order to protect the amazing natural ecosystems that surround us, as well as the health of our family and employees.
As our farm has grown over the years, so have a number of wonderful people who help us each year. Currently we employ 8 employees year-round and add another 12-15 seasonal employees spring through fall. All of our employees live locally, with many of them living in Bowdoinham. It is the exceptional hard work and dedication of these employees that allow us to grow and distribute 20 acres of vegetables to our local community.
We also work closely with both the Merrymeeting Gleaners and Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program to provide excess produce to those in need in our community. The Merrymeeting Gleaners come out to our farm on a weekly basis throughout the growing season to glean extra produce from our fields and distribute it to a range of organizations in our area. In addition, this year we will be growing a full bed of carrots for donation to the MHPP. If you are interested in volunteering for either project, please contact us for more information.
We are proud members of BCDI and believe in it’s mission to provide support and financing for the business community in Bowdoinham. Bowdoinham is an amazing community in which to live and farm and we are very grateful for the widespread support we have received through the years from other farmers and neighbors. To us BCDI represents the best of Bowdoinham, a town wide effort to facilitate local business and community development in ways that align with our values as a community.
We are pleased to announce an upcoming BCDI event, co-hosted with Land For Good, Community Conversation: Focus On Farmers. This event, scheduled for March 10th at Merrymeeting Hall, is designed to solicit farmer feedback on the next phase of the Farmland Inventory Project and ideas for how BCDI can further support the farming community.
Congratulations to Bethany and Eric of Harvest Tide Organics who have paid off the full amount of their $8000 "Neighbors Investing in Neighbors" BCDI loan!!! This loan, which was funded by investors who are also our BCDI community members (you have to be a BCDI member to participate!), allowed Harvest Tide Organics to purchase a 72’ x 30’ Rimol greenhouse to support their farming operations. To those who invested in this loan, keep an eye out in the mail for your return of investment (+2%!!) - just in time to pay off those holiday bills!
Are you a Bowdoinham-based business in need of a loan? Do you love the idea of investing in the small businesses that make up our special community? Want to just learn more about our loan/investment program?! Check out the page on our investment program!
Shout outs from our funders make us very proud! Thank you, NEGEF!
Congratulations to grantee Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative - BCDI, a revolving community loan fund working at the intersection of #NewEconomy and #SustainableAgricutlure and the #Arts for their local community. We can't wait to see what 2019 has in store for them!
Times Record article: Bowdoinham community group hopes to extend reach in new year
We are pleased and honored to announce that BCDI has been awarded a $2,625 "GROW Grant" from New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) to help increase our organizational capacity at the staff and board level! Three cheers to NEGEF for your support, and to you, our members, for making BCDI happen!
CHECK OUT NEGEF’S WEBSITE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW THIS ORGANIZATION HELPS SO MANY OTHERS IN NEW ENGLAND!
The New England Grassroots Environment Fund energizes and nurtures long-term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe and sustainable communities using stories, tools and dollars to fuel local activism and social change. Since 1996, the Grassroots Fund’s core grant making program continues to fund nearly 150 grants annually, giving more than $4 million in 20 years to more than 2,000 community groups and initiatives covering more than 60 percent of New England’s cities and towns. For more information, please visit grassrootsfund.org or call 603-905-9915.
Emerald Builders is a building company based in Bowdoinham, and working across the Mid Coast region. We craft high-quality beautiful homes that are super energy efficient and made with environmentally conscious products and processes. This year Emerald Builders became a member of 1% for the Planet, which commits us to giving 1% of our gross annual revenue to environmental non-profits. To kick off our charitable giving we wanted to give back to our community, and supporting the Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative felt like the perfect way to do that.
We are a triple bottom line company, which means we focus on balancing the three P’s -- people, planet, and profits. We see the health of our society, the health of our ecosystems, and the financial health of our company as interlinked and dependant on each other. This starts with our commitment to building practices that minimize waste, maximize energy efficiency, reduce carbon pollution, and create beautiful structures that will last for generations. We also do everything we can to make our company a place where employees can succeed at the highest level and make carpentry a true career. Some of the steps we have taken are supporting continuing education, and assisting with access to quality healthcare.
Donating to non-profits, like BCDI, as a member of 1% for the Planet helps us to have an impact beyond our own building practices. As we work to create a better built environment we want to help fuel the change-makers who are working to make our society and environment better for all of us. BCDI does so much for small businesses and the Bowdoinham community at large with things like helping to preserve land for sustainable use, bringing the community together for important conversations, connecting citizens, the private sector and local government, and giving farmers and other small businesses a jumpstart to help them grow and stay here in our town.
Our passion first and foremost is home building. Current industry standard building practices needlessly harm the environment and occupant health, and waste precious resources and their owners’ money. Rooted in Maine’s long history of craft, we apply traditional principles of quality and detail to modern high performance buildings. Along with work for clients across the Mid Coast, we are very excited to be giving the old Bowdoinham post office a new life as the home of The Alcove, a coworking space that also houses our headquarters. When our renovation is complete we look forward to inviting you all to come see our work up close.
Please join BCDI for our Annual Meeting, Wednesday, December 5th at 6:00pm at the Bowdoinham Town Hall. Join us for complimentary beer, wine, and snacks as we update you on the BCDI “Year in Review”. We’ll also “Continue the Conversation” with updates on action items from our 2017 Community Conversations that have been completed or are underway. Come meet our Board members, hear what we’e been up to or learn ways to get involved, and enjoy a libation! ALL ARE WELCOME!
In September, the Town of Bowdoinham hosted a public forum on the topic of the redevelopment of the public works waterfront property. There was a great turnout and the discussion proved to be engaging and energetic. Richardson & Associates in partnership with Baker Design Consultants created three conceptual master plans for the Town. Lots of brainstorming and input was shared from all attendees, and the consultants were open to hearing ideas and opinions. Below is a statement from the Town posted to it’s website regarding some of the takeaway from that meeting:
At the public meeting on September 20th, we heard from several people that they did not want to spend the money to redevelop the property for recreation. Instead they thought the property should be sold so the Town could offset the cost of the new pubic works faciltiy and bring in additional money from property taxes. The Town started this Master Site Plan process based on the Town's Waterfront Plan that was adopted by the Town in 2005, which called for public works to be moved from the waterfront property and for the property to be redeveloped as a recreation area. This direction was re-affirmed through the Comprehensive Planning process (2011-2014), which called for the Waterfront Plan to be implemented. What do you think, should the Town implement the Waterfront Plan and redeveloped the property for recreation OR sell the property?
Take the Waterfront Re-development Survey #2!!
What’s the next step? There will be a second meeting on Wednesday, November 7 from 6pm - 8pm at the Bowdoinham Community School, 23 Cemetery Road. Check out the meeting agenda and be sure to attend - your opinion is valuable!
THANK YOU to the amazing volunteers from Bowdoin College’s Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good who came out to the Bowdoinham Community School for this year’s Common Good Day!! Volunteers worked in the library cataloging and organizing books, and outside cleaning and beautifying around the school grounds. BCDI regularly participates in the great day, which connects volunteers with local community projects.
BCDI will be down at the Waterfront "continuing the conversation"! Come chat with us about what we're doing and how you can get involved! We'll have cold drinks, a shady place to sit, and plenty of membership forms to be filled out 😉
Here's a great article from The Times Record highlighting some of the action items that have and are occurring as a result of BCDI's Community Conversations last fall. All of you motivated Bowdoinham citizens turning these ideas into reality are commendable!!