Community Conversations' Action Item, "Natural Playground", Needs Your Vote!

One popular action item that came out of BCDI's 2017 Community Conversations was the creation of a "Natural Playground" here in Bowdoinham. Well, one of our awesome and motivated Bowdoinham residents has proposed this idea to Poland Spring's Calling 207 campaign!!! 

PLEASE VOTE for our BOWDOINHAM WATERFRONT NATURAL PLAYGROUND ("We want to enhance our waterfront park with a natural playground for our kids. Bid rocks, logs, and balance beams could make our place so much more friendly to our kids.") You may vote once per day (or more so if you are using different devices, e.g. laptop and mobile phone), so please do so!!!


BCDI Sponsors Bowdoinham's 2018 OPEN FARM DAY & ART TRAIL

Come meet your local farmers and artisans, and enjoy the summer bustle of Bowdoinham!

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Join us for Bowdoinham’s 7th Annual Open Farm Day & Art Trail. The day will begin with farm tours at: Peary’s Garden, Campo di Fiori, Apple Creek Farm, Blue Bell Farm, Fairwinds Farm, Six River Farm, Havenridge Farm, East of Eden Flower Farm and Harvest Tide Organics. Come explore our local farms and see how our food is made! And because Bowdoinham is a “Very Crafty Town” we’ll have Catmint Garden & Gallery, Swan Island Restoration, Morphee Creations, Watersong Music, Melissa M. Fiori, Debbie Spaulding, Starrocks, Jane Page-Conway Fine Art Photography, AP Curiosities, Kate Cutko, Steven Thomas Bunn Furnituremaker, Jennifer Stonebraker, and Merrymeeting Arts Center joining us with an Art Trail. Bowdoinham Historical Society will also have both the Jellerson School and Meeting House open for tours. 

Then at 3pm the celebration will continue at Mailly Waterfront Park for a barbeque featuring fresh foods from local farms and live music by the Intergalactic Yurt Band.  The Intergalactic Yurt Band is a collective of artists, misfits, craftsmen and dreamers drawn together by love of music from the deep well of Americana, certified organic music.     

The Barbeque will be catered by The Texas Barbeque Company with members of Village Lodge # 26 AF & AM the local Masonic Lodge in Bowdoinham.  Bowdoinham Historical Society will also be joining the barbeque with their famous strawberry shortcake.

Emerald Builders Partners With BCDI For 1% For The Planet

Emerald Builders Partners with BCDI

BOWDOINHAM, ME, 12 JULY 2018 -- Emerald Builders announced today its donation to the Bowdoinham Community Development initiative - our first donation as part of the 1% for the Planet program.


“We wanted to start by giving back to the community we are based in, so we chose to give our first donation to the Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative,” said Reggie Lebel, President of Emerald Builders. “This organization does so much for our town and helps facilitate important projects that contribute to our vibrant community and our healthy rural environment.”

“BCDI has focused on environmentally friendly, sustainable enterprise at the very local level since it was launched from a conversation six years ago. We are excited to have been chosen by Emerald Builders as their first 1% For the Planet partner. BCDI’s efforts in building community through “Neighbors Investing in Neighbors” and developing a Farmland Inventory are a great fit with Reggie and the Emerald team’s commitment to building a greener world.” Abby Sadauckas, Apple Creek Farm and BCDI Board Member       

Emerald Builders joined 1% for the Planet in May, committing to donate the equivalent of 1% of sales through a combination of monetary, in-kind, and approved advertising contributions.  We joined 1% for the Planet because we do everything we can to use the most eco-friendly products and processes we can, but our industry has a long way to go. It is dedicated partners who are going to get us there.

“When nonprofits and businesses come together the planet wins,” Kate Williams, CEO of 1% for the Planet. “All over the planet, nonprofits are doing essential work on behalf of the environment, many times their biggest challenge finding the funding to accomplish their goals. At 1% for the Planet we are proud to connect to dollars with doers to protect our planet for future generations to come.”


Contact information:

John Deans, Marketing Director

Emerald Builders

(207) 607-1118


Ingrid Leschefske

BCDI Coordinator


About Emerald Builders  

Based in Midcoast Maine, Emerald Builders crafts high-quality beautiful homes with care that are super energy efficient and are made with environmentally conscious products and processes. Current industry standard building practices needlessly harm the environment and occupant health, and waste precious resources and their owners’ money. Emerald Builders provides clients with energy efficient, eco-conscious, and healthy homes that will last for generations. Emerald Builders is a triple bottom line company.

About Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative

BCDI is a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit founded in 2012 working to provide capital to local businesses, sustain farms and build community. BCDI stimulates, grows and sustains healthy local enterprises, creates resilient local jobs, and facilitates collaboration among the for-profit, non-profit, and government sectors in the local community. BCDI’s focus is on farms, food, forests, the music, the art and the artisans that accompany them and the local businesses that support them.  

About 1% for the Planet

1% for the Planet is a global organization that connects dollars and doers to accelerate smart environmental giving. We recognize that the current level of environmental giving - only 3% of total philanthropy - is not enough to solve the most pressing issues facing our planet.

Through our business and individual membership, 1% for the Planet inspires people to support environmental organizations through annual membership and everyday actions. We advise on giving strategies, we certify donations, and we amplify the impact of the network.

Started in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies, our members have given more than $175 million to environmental nonprofits to date. Today, 1% for the Planet is a network of more than 1,400 member businesses, a new and expanding core of hundreds of individual members, and thousands of nonprofit partners in more than 60 countries. Look for our logo and visit to learn more.


Another Village Community Conversation Success!

It’s official! Last fall, at BCDI’s Village Community Conversations, the Bowdoinham Historical Society asked us to help them find out what Bowdoinham citizens thought about a community center in our town. What would it’s impact be? It’s feasibility? And what about that beautiful building on Main Street that was for sale as the site for this community gathering spot? That idea has now become a reality, as the transfer of the former Merrymeeting Grange Hall from the Maine State Grange to the Bowdoinham Historical Society has officially taken place. CONGRATULATIONS to BHS for your vision, hard work, and perseverance in seeing this idea through!!! Everyone wins!!!


NOW AVAILABLE: Application for use of outdoor storage rack for canoes and paddle boards

Get ‘em while you can! Here is another example of an “idea into action” from BCDI’s Village Community Conversations: This summer, canoe and kayak storage racks will be available at Mailly Waterfront Park for this summer's boating season. Space on the racks would be available in May and will end on November 1. Applications will be accepted by mail or in-person on a first come, first served basis beginning NOW. Check out the Town of Bowdoinham website for more info:


VOTE: Wednesday evening, March 28, in the Town Hall

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The Town of Bowdoinham is gearing up to vote on whether to build a new Public Works building out on Pond Road. The plan is to ask for authorization for up to $2.6 million for this project, to be bonded over 25 years. Thanks to some other expiring bonds and a few other factors, for a home of average value in Bowdoinham  (~$175k), that is likely to work out to about $30-60/yr in taxes.

The vote is Wednesday evening, March 28, in the Town Hall.

Among other things, if this project is approved, it will open up the waterfront area that was such a focus of the Community Conversations (if it doesn't, Public Works is likely to remain where it is for the time being). Approval would likely mean the waterfront development could begin next spring!!

If there are any questions about the project, please contact a Selectboard member or our Town Manager ( More infomation is available here:  

RESCHEDULED! Forum: Growing Farm Friendly Communities

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Forum: Growing Farm Friendly Communities

Current & new tools to support farms in your town


Monday, March 26

Bowdoinham Town Hall, Coombs Building, 13 School St, Bowdoinham

Hear community & municipal leaders share policy approaches and practical ideas for ways communities and farmers can benefit from working together.

Stephanie Gilbert, Farm Viability & Farmland Protection Specialist with the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation, & Forestry will moderate this panel discussion, followed by ample time for audience Q&, etworkin, and connecting directly to available resource.

For More Info & to RSVP


  • Adam Bishop, Farmland Protection Program Director, Maine Farmland Trust
  • Sally Harwood, Co-Chair Agriculture Commission, Town of Winslow
  • Rod Melanson, Planning Director, Town of Topsham


  • 8:15 Registration, Networking, Light Breakfast & Coffee
  • 8:45a Welcome & Panel Presentations
    • Current Use Tax Programs
    • Easements & Other Conservation Options
    • Form-Based Code Approach to Creating Space for Agriculture
    • Topsham’s Local Farms-Local Food Initiative & Other Programs
    • Agriculture Commissions, the What & How
    • Voluntary Municipal Farm Support Program (VMFSP)
  • 10:30a Audience Question & Answer
  • 11a Program Concludes; Additional time to explore available resources


  • $10 Active Farmers
  • $15 GrowSmart Maine & BCDI Members
  • $25 General Public

Credit Card, Cash or Check Accepted. 

Please register online in advance so we know you are attending!

Register Online & See More information: 

Join the event on Facebook & invite your friends:   

Co-hosted by GrowSmart Maine & BCDI in partnership with Maine Farmland Trust

FORUM: Growing Farm Friendly Communities

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Forum: Growing Farm Friendly Communities

Current & new tools to support farms in your town

8:30-11a, Wednesday March 14, 2018

Bowdoinham Town Hall, Coombs Building, 13 School St, Bowdoinham

Hear community & municipal leaders share policy approaches and practical ideas for ways communities and farmers can benefit from working together.

Stephanie Gilbert, Farm Viability & Farmland Protection Specialist with the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation, & Forestry will moderate this panel discussion, followed by ample time for audience Q&A, networking, and connecting directly to available resources.

$10 Active Farmers || $15 GrowSmart Maine & BCDI Members  || $25 General Public

Credit Card, Cash or Check Accepted. Please register online in advance so we know you are coming!


Register Online & See More information:


Join the event on Facebook & invite your friends:



Please join us for the BCDI Annual Meeting!

 Wednesday, December 13 from 6:30-8pm in the Kendall Room (at the Town Offices/Library)

Topics will include the BCDI Year In Review and relevant updates from the Village Community Conversations

Refreshments will be served!  All are welcome (you don’t have to be a member to attend)!



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!

FINAL Village Community Conversations REPORT


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Greetings engaged Bowdoinham citizens!

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 We look forward to seeing you there!


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 Join us for a Community Conversation about Bowdoinham’s Village!

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Click here for more information: Community Conversation Flyer , and here to register for this FREE event:


 New coordinator will Join BCDI as of 19 June!

The BCDI Board is very pleased to announce that we have contracted Ingrid Leschefske as Coordinator. Ingrid, who lives in Bowdoinham on the Bay Road with her husband Griff and daughter Anja, will be working up to 10 hours a week to help carry out the work of the organization including the community loan/investment program, “neighbors investing in neighbors”. Ingrid will be taking on many of the tasks previously handled by David Whittlesey, who continues as a member of the Board. Welcome, Ingrid!


Loan to Apple Creek Farm fully subscribed and disbursed 29 April. Thanks to all you Members who are participating!


New Investment Opportunity for Members –  BCDI has processed and approved a loan application from Apple Creek Farm, as Abby and Jake continue to grow their operation on the Millay Road. If you are interested in this neighbors investing in neighbors program, your will need to be a Member of BCDI. Click on “Membership” above and join today! 


Changes on the BCDI Board – There have been two recent changes on the BCDI Board – David Whittlesey, who has been the Consulting Manager for BCDI has joined the Board, and Dwight Sholes has stepped down after two years of service on the Board. Dwight will continue supporting our efforts in an advisory capacity as he focuses energy on immigration issues while continuing his full-time job. Many thanks to  both for their efforts in support of BCDI over the years. It is likely we will be adding a few Board Members in the coming months, so if you are interested in getting more involved, please let us know!

Common Good Day Comes to Bowdoinham – On Saturday, 17 September, 12 Bowdoin students came to Bowdoinham to work on several community chores to celebrate Common Good Day with BCDI! The students painted the fence at the Community School (long over due) worked with Adelaida in the community garden at the school, and planted daffodil bulbs around the newly installed signs around town. It was a great opportunity to learn more about Bowdoinham and connect with the community! Thanks! 


Sewall Foundation Awards Grant to BCDI

In addition, to the three grants previously highlighted, BCDI is very pleased to have received a two-year grant of $25,000 from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation. The grant will allow BCDI to focus on completing an interactive farmland inventory and strengthen its capacity to engage with the community in revitalizing the village area of the town. A big “Thank You” to the Sewall Foundation! The BCDI Board has worked this summer to organize itself and do some initial planning on how best to take on these challenges in the course of the year. We are looking forward to a site visit from the Foundation in early September to share with them our initial work. Stay tuned!  


It is a real pleasure to have again received support from The New England Grass Roots Environment Fund – NEGEF! We have been granted a “Grow Grant” of $2000, the third year in a row that NEGEF has provided support to the organization! Additionally, The Maine Community Foundation has awarded BCDI a grant of $8000 to help build our capacity to facilitate the revitalization of the village area and develop a strategic plan to help support the implementation of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. These are in addition to the $1910 Bowdoin College Common Good Grant received in March to support program costs. Stay tuned for more news as BCDI continues the Neighbor Investing in Neighbors Program while taking on new challenges.


The BCDI loan program is designed to meet the needs of businesses that are unable to obtain a low-cost loan through traditional lending institutions for reasons such as insufficient credit history. You must be a Member of BCDI to participate in this program either as an investor or a recipient.

Since 2012, BCDI has granted over $70,000 in loans. Some examples are:

  • $7000 to purchase a tractor – fully repaid
  • $5000 to purchase a high-tunnel greenhouse – fully repaid
  • $7000 to purchase fencing and pasture enhancements for sheep pasture – fully repaid
  • $3000 for materials and equipment needed to launch two online businesses – fully repaid
  • $1800 to repair a truck and obtain saw blades to get a wood business off the ground – fully repaid
  • $7000 to purchase two greenhouses and establish a farming operation – fully repaid
  • $12000 to put a new roof on a local business – fully repaid

BCDI works to connect local business owners with resources that can help establish or sustain their business. For example, loan recipients have been connected with accountants, website developers, and other community or regional resources. In addition to the loan program, BCDI has been working to connect the expanding Bowdoinham farming community with the Local Farms – Local Food Program and others interested in helping increase the availability and consumption of quality local food.


Going forward, BCDI loans and other activities will continue to be aimed at supporting local businesses.  The focus of our efforts depends largely on the needs of the businesses in Bowdoinham – BCDI is a resource ready and able to respond to the needs of the community.

BCDI’s Annual Budget is $16,690.  In 2016-17 will rely on Memberships and various fund raising efforts, in addition to the grants that we have received.

The Internal Revenue Service has determined that BCDI qualifies as a 501 (c) (3) “public charity” under the Tax Code. This means that:     1) any contribution to BCDI, INCLUDING YOUR MEMBERSHIP, is tax deductible;  and 2) BCDI is eligible to apply for a range of community development grants.

Since June 2012, BCDI has:

  • Registered with the State of Maine as a Non-Profit Corporation
  • Established a Board of Directors (Currently Andy Cutko, Chair; David Engler, Treasurer; Harriet Van Vleck, Secretary; Brian Smith, Laurel Waterman-Lopez, Kathy Montejo, Abby Sadauckas and Dwight Sholes)
  • Adopted basic institutional documents (Vision and Mission Statement, Bylaws, Conflict of Interest Policy, Confidentiality Policy, banking and accounting procedures)
  • Established Communications tools (Logo, Website, Facebook page)
  • Applied for and received 501 (c) (3) status with the IRS
  • Established a tiered fee process for Membership in BCDI; there are currently over 100 members.
  • Established process and criteria for accepting and vetting loan applications and funding them through support from members of the community (over $66,000 in loans have been disbursed).
  • Developed and maintained good working relationships with the Town Manager and Community and Economic Development Office, the Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC), Merrymeeting Arts Center (MAC), KELT-BTLT, the Merrymeeting Food Council and numerous farms and businesses in town.

The community support mechanism so far has processed over $70,000 in loans. All loans that have come due have been paid back in full and within their timeframe.   There are currently several potential loan requests under consideration.  Members of the Board participate actively on CDAC, the Food Bank committee, regional food hub/processing facility development, the Merrymeeting Food Council and a number of ad hoc discussions on possible community development activities related to its mission.

Interest in the community loan mechanism remains strong. So far, BCDI has been able to process loans rapidly, from request received to check delivered in roughly three weeks or less. We thought this might lengthen some as BCDI strengthened its mechanisms to ensure complete transparency, disclosures and compliance with State regulations, but the Office of the State Securities Administrator has been incredibly efficient and helpful in keeping the process expeditious!. The lending rate has remained stable at 3%, with the lenders receiving 2% and 1% going to support BCDI operational costs or otherwise creatively support the community. Sustainable operational financing ($16,600/year) remains a challenge, which BCDI intends to meet through diversified income sources: grants, service fees, interest differential, memberships and fundraising events.