Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems

CEI’s Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program supports an economically just and sustainable food system that creates quality jobs for a diverse workforce and builds wealth and resilience in rural communities. In the past five years, CEI provided $10.4 million in loans and investments to 87 agricultural and food-related enterprises. This activity leveraged an additional $37.2 million, created and/or retained 634 jobs, and helped to maintain 8,377 acres of farmland in production.

Free Business Advising

CEI’s agriculture and food system staff coordinate team-based business planning with the Maine Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Women’s Business Center (WBC), and StartSmart, a microenterprise program for immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs. In addition, CEI connects clients to external resources such as consultants or grant opportunities as appropriate.

Short & Long-Term Financing

CEI offers short and long term financing from $10,000 or less, to greater than $500,000. Learn more about CEI’s financing options.

Eligible Clients

  • Farms
  • “Value chain” businesses such as food processors, distributors, and value-add manufacturers, as well as infrastructure businesses such as farm inputs or composters
  • Food retailers, such as independent grocers, coops, or local food markets
  • Food-related nonprofits and food access organizations

Food Systems Accelerators

Through our valued partnership with FocusMaine, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. and Maine Center for Entrepreneurs provide Maine’s most promising food and beverage producers with the resources needed to successfully grow their businesses. Each of our programs are tailored to meet the individual needs of businesses in the food and beverage industry. Learn more about CEI’s Tastemaker program or download an overview of all current programs here.