News & Events

Keeping you updated on what’s happening at CEI


March 19, 2015

Innovative Maine Project Attracts Funding from FHLB of Boston

Wiscasset, ME—Bragdon Farm in Waterville, ME, has been awarded a loan from CEI to purchase and renovate the former Harris Bakery in Waterville and expand their production of hay firelogs, an innovative product turning hay that is unusable for feed into firelogs. The $160,000 of funding for the loan was an advance from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. CEI was the first Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) member of the Bank, providing for short-and long-term credit, reduced financing costs, and help with managing liquidity and interest rate risk. Recently, CEI was featured in the Bank’s Results magazine, and in a video profile on the Bank’s website. Click here for a tour of the Bragdon Farms project with Peter Bragdon and CEI’s Loan & Investment Officer Cole Palmer.

“Our mission is to provide our members reliable funding for housing, community development, and economic growth. We’re pleased to provide CEI low-cost, long-term financing to meet Bragdon Farm’s financing needs,” said Kenneth A. Willis, First Vice President/Director, Housing and Community Investment, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.

The carbon neutral fireplace logs made by Bragdon Farm from waste hay (aka hay logs) offer a nearly identical energy output to hardwood, with no artificial or petroleum-based binders, and an extremely low carbon footprint after one growing season.

“Thanks to CEI and other funding from organizations like FAME, the USDA, Maine Department of Agriculture, Maine Technology Institute, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, and Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, we will continue, in the short-term, to perfect our formula and test for critical durability, emissions and safety in a new commercial briquetting press as we head down the final stretch to commercialization,” said Peter Bragdon, founder and owner of Bragdon Farm. “In the near future we will be assembling a state of the art briquetting plant right here in Central Maine. We hope to have Bragdon Farm hay firelogs on retail shelves this year. Needless to say, none of this would be possible without the extensive support that is available to the small business community in Maine from organizations like CEI.”

Bragdon Farm seeks to meet market need with an economically and environmentally-conscious product, directly aligned with CEI’s mission of local, sustainable growth. Peter Bragdon has over 30 years of experience harvesting hay across 300 acres of land.

“CEI and many others worked closely with Peter Bragdon to help make a dream into a reality,” said CEI loan and investment officer Cole Palmer. “The City of Waterville identified the building on Harris Avenue as one that they wished to see developed after many years of neglect. In addition, the new company will produce ten good paying jobs. This is a triple-bottom-line win for people, profits and planet.”

“It is an honor for us to be able access capital for rural communities as the first CDFI member of the FHLB of Boston,” said Ron Phillips, President and CEO of CEI. “Membership allows for reliable, low-cost funding to expand our lending capacity and further our mission of achieving social and economic justice within sustainable communities. Bragdon Farm is a great example of economic development at work: a new Maine-based business that is creating jobs, and serving as a steward of the environment.”

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