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From: "Ron Poitras" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Local farmer restaurant sales
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 09:46:11 -0500
I appreciate your efforts. What follows is a bit of background on who we
are & what we're doing.
The Hancock County Planning Commission, a 501(c)3 non-profit agency, has
been providing planning and development assistance for the area and local
communities of Hancock County, downeast coastal Maine,since 1972. During
that period a wide variety of services has been offered from demographic
analyses and growth management to strategic planning and entrepreneurial
training. The Hancock County Planning Commission (HCPC) is a
multi-disciplinary agency office of five professionals with a wide variety
of backgrounds and experience.
Despite healthy growth elsewhere, Downeast Maine continue to be challenged
to develop economic strategies that improve the economy, yet are sensitive
to the natural environment and preserve the area's unique heritage. To
this end, the Hancock County Planning Commission, in
cooperation with many other groups and individuals, has develop an approach
for a sustainable, community-based and diversified economy for the area,
focused on entrepreneurship and community-building initiatives in local
agriculture, cultural tourism and low impact forestry.
HCPC initiated its award-winning Locally Grown Foods Project in 1994 to
help protect farm and rural resources, create jobs, and "add value" to
Hancock County's extensive tourism industry. That project has three major
(1) A restaurant recognition program that encourages chefs to purchase
locally grown foods. There are now 28 restaurants and nearly twice as many
farmers who actively participate in the Program.
(2) A youth development effort that includes a "garden at the school", a
student-run restaurant, and entrepreneurship training and education.
(3) A "Come See What's Cooking in Hancock County" cultural tourism project
also designed to promote restaurants certified as supporters of local
farmers. The tour culminates with the Downeast Folk Life Festival, a day
long event organized by the Planning Commission that was held in the
village of Blue Hill, on October 3, 1998. It is expected that the festival
will be an on-going annual event.
Now here's what we have in mind for this coming year. Any information on
comparable efforts would be appreciated. Our primary goals:
1) Develop an easily accessible and attractive market garden that would
demonstrate the variety of agricultural products that can be grown over the
season, specifically to meet the needs of chefs at some of the finer, more
innovative restaurants in our area;
2) Organize a chef/grower 'retreat' sometime in September 99 for chefs
interested in learning more about using local grown foods as part of their
cuisine, and for growers (existing and potential) wanting to know more
about this particular market niche.
Although the Black House property ( a local historic house/museum/ 200 acre
holding) is a possibility, there may be other more favorable locations for
this market garden. The key criteria for the garden site, in addition to
favorable growing conditions, is that it needs to have easy access for the
public and be a place where an on-going education/demonstration can occur.
Workshops at the 'retreat' would revolve around the demonstration garden.
Other, additional special events could be held during the season. The
garden could also be a focal point for seasonal visitors in Hancock County
to learn more about all the good reasons why locally grown foods makes
sense. If successful the first year, the garden could be expanded to
demonstrate some innovative season-extending techniques and other R & D
work that Eliot Coleman (his farm is in Hancock County) is doing.
We would love to be in contact with others who may be engaged in
similiar efforts. Thanks for your help. Ron Poitras
Holly Born, Technical Specialist
ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas)
(501) 442-9824, 1-800-346-9140
Fax:(501) 442-9842 E-mail:email@example.com
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