Small- and medium-scale family farms have a long history in Maine and throughout rural America. CEI’s approach to supporting the thriving family farm sector in rural Maine and beyond targets the entire value chain by providing technical and financial assistance directly to farms, and working with the businesses that create markets for Maine-produced products, such as food processors and food retailers.
CEI’s services include flexible debt; lines of credit; and equity and equity-like financing; as well as sector specific resources such as the Healthy Food Finance Initiative (HFFI), which supported a recent financing project with the Island Employee Cooperative in Stonington, ME. HFFI is one piece of CEI’s broader effort to support growth and expansion of rural food economies in Maine and the region. This approach allows CEI to help ensure access to local, fresh and healthy foods for all people. On the technical assistance side, CEI services include team-based business planning to develop investment-ready business plans; leveraging resources and networks; and providing sector expertise.