BCDI continues to follow-up on the "Action Items" generated from our 2017 Community Conversations. One of the final items attendees are hoping to see is the installation of "more benches/seating in the Village in public places". In an effort to shepherd this important idea along, BCDI has purchased two benches, custom-made by Bowdoinham contractor Mark Favreau, to be placed on the Village walking loop. The first bench has found a home under the maple tree near the sidewalk at Merrymeeting Hall. Today, the second bench was placed on the outskirts of the Village sidewalk, by the Fire Station on Center Street, with the idea that placing a bench here will increase the walkability of the Village loop. BCDI feels this aligns with the Town's mission to be an "Age-Friendly Bowdoinham", as well as to support all residents and visitors to push yourselves a bit further on your next walk knowing there is a nice place to sit and rest on the outskirts of the Village!
Thank you to those of you who attended our Bowdoinham Landowner Meeting this evening! And thank you to our panel of speakers, including Abby Sadauckas, Field Agent for Land For Good, and Carrie Kinne, Executive Director of KELT. We’re excited to get back in touch soon to discuss next steps! If you are a Bowdoinham landowner interested in having your land farmed, are a farmer seeking land in Bowdoinham, or just generally curious about BCDI’s Farmland Inventory Project, check out the “Farmland Inventory” page on our website for more details or reach out at email@example.com. 🌱
As a community-driven organization that supports agricultural and other businesses, BCDI regularly receives inquiries about available land from new farmers or those looking to expand their farms. We also hear from landowners about their interest in having their land used by farmers. To assist making these connections, BCDI has been working on an inventory of current and potential farmland in Bowdoinham. These potential farmland areas could be leased to a farmer; areas as small as two-acres are of interest. Your property may have soil and land characteristics that are suitable for farming, grazing, or haying, and could help a farmer start or expand his/her business and produce food for our community.
To learn more, we invite you to attend a free workshop on September 25 from 5pm -7pm at Merrymeeting Hall where we will discuss with Bowdoinham landowners the benefits of making your land available to farmers, and address questions about setting lease expectations, goals, and structuring lease agreements with farmers.
Hearty snacks from Turtle Rock Farm and drinks provided!
PLEASE RSVP HERE: LANDOWNER MEETING RSVP
Join us in celebrating Bowdoinham’s 257th birthday, this Saturday, September 14, at Mailly Waterfront Park! BCDI board members will be there showing folks our soon-to-be first brick and mortar space at Cathance Landing (9 Main Street) complete with views to the Cathance River and the all the going-ons at the Waterfront! We welcome you to come see the new space, enjoy a cold drink, and chat with BCDI Board members about what we are up to. We would also love to hear if there is something that you would like to see us doing around town; YOU, after all, ARE BCDI. We’re all set up to take credit cards, so come renew your membership or become a member! We look forward to seeing you on this festive day in Bowdoinham!
As the sun set on another Bowdoinham Waterfront Concert Series, we at BCDI gazed out over the crowd with full hearts! Because of your support and engagement in our Community, we estimate that we fed you and your families over 400 tacos, 90 ears of corn, 2 large crockpots of beans, and over 120 cups of aquas frescas among other fresh and tasty delights (Atlee Reilly, BCDI Board member/chef and meal planner extraordinaire for the win!) — what an honor! Thank you to the farms who generously donated the ingredients for this meal: Blue Bell Farm, Good Dirt Garden, Harvest Tide Organics, Left Field Farm, Six River Farm, Stonecipher Farm, and Whatley Farm! It was so great to see many of you taking an evening to enjoy yourselves during this busy season! Thank you, too, to four very dedicated BCDI members, Pete Feeney, Seth Ruggles, Shay Ruggles, and Harriet Van Vleck, who helped out tremendously with preparation, serving, and clean-up to boot! We could not have done it without you! We welcomed several new BCDI members and had the joy of connecting with many old members (and renewing their memberships, too!)! The music of String Tide was fabulous and fitting for an idyllic August night on our dear Bowdoinham waterfront. We could not have asked for a better accompaniment! And thank you to Earl Bigelow of Watersong Music and the Town of Bowdoinham for coordinating these special summer nights; nights to support the good work of our local organizations while enjoying the music of the talented musicians in our area, to eat food together as a family-community, and to watch our children play together in a safe space, making the sweetest of childhood memories right before our eyes.
Thanks to the support of our funders (I’m talking about you here, Maine Community Foundation!!!) BCDI continues to happily check the boxes off on the Action Items generated by Bowdoinham residents during our 2017 Community Conversations. You say you need more places to sit a spell while walking our lovely Village loop?! Well, BCDI has partnered with Bowdoinham carpenter, Mark Favreau of MJF Enterprises, Inc., to build two of these handsome benches for your resting enjoyment! We felt Merrymeeting Community Center a fitting place for this first bench to call home - come take some shade under the maple tree and survey our beautiful Village! Pictured here is Mark, Cory Favreau, and two enthusiastic supporters of Merrymeeting Hall and BCDI - they say the bench is, “pedestrian approved!”
BCDI is proud to have been the recipient of grant funding from the Maine Community Foundation in the past. We are expressing this sentiment once again, as MaineCF has honored us with a great article about our Neighbors Investing In Neighbors Loan Program in their Annual Report (page 5)! Click the photo below to read about our Organization and one of our fellow neighbors, business members, and loan recipients, Apple Creek Farm!
The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust recently acquired a new preserve in Bowdoinham, and they need some volunteers to help them build the new trail system. They will have two chances for you to go out with them and get your hands dirty:
Come help us build some bridges! A stream runs through our new preserve and we need to build a bridge in order to connect to the rest of the trail system. Gloves and tools will be provided. Boots are recommended, the ground around the stream is muddy!
Trail building events for all ages! Come help us finish our bog bridge, or help us clear new trails. Gloves and tools will be provided. Boots are recommended if you choose to work on the bog bridge, the ground around the stream is muddy!
Come help us create the new Red Rose Preserve behind the school in Bowdoinham!
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!
One of our goals for 2019 is to create more awareness of our Organization throughout Bowdoinham via use of our social media outlets, an up-to-date website, electronic mailings like this one, and through efforts to increase and retain our membership. In the past, BCDI has renewed memberships in the month the first contribution was received. For example, if you became a member in November of 2016 we've sent you an email or letter asking you to renew that membership in November of 2017 and 2018. In order to simplify the process and to avoid confusion we are transitioning all memberships to be renewable in May. For those of you who are current members you will next be asked to renew in May, 2020. If you have an automatic PayPal payment set up with us during any point in the year then you are all set! We may also reach out to you during the rest of the year to ask for contributions for specific projects or needs. Your generous contributions to these requests may be tax deductible, as are your membership dues, but will not be considered membership renewals. We hope this effort to streamline things benefits all! If you have any questions about this new process, please don't hesitate to reach out!
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!