More than ten Maine farms will benefit from a $97,000 federal grant awarded to Plowshares Community Farm in Gorham through the USDA Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). The grant will fund the expansion and promotion of Plowshares’ retail store, which markets high quality food from across the region.
In addition to publicizing the Plowshares’ growing U-Pick fruit business, the grant will fund store fixtures and marketing activities to showcase a wide variety of Maine foods including Maine fresh milk, yogurt and artisanal cheeses from Creeping Thyme Farm and Lakin’s Gorges Cheese and other cheese makers, maple syrup, candy, cheese and other maple products from Merrifield Farm, pies from Valley View Orchard, locally grown and processed meats, local seasonal produce, local cider, local seafood, and premium local honey from Simply Honey for which Plowshares Farm is the primary apiary site.
“This grant will have a big impact on our ability to create a year-round retail hub of fine local agricultural products and prepared foods from other local producers, while growing our farm into the area’s premiere destination for high quality U-pick fruits,” says Plowshares owner Steven Bibula. The 38-acre farm has dedicated 12 acres to u-pick apples, peaches, pears, and high bush blueberries and raspberries. “We specialize in growing gourmet quality disease-resistant apples and pears that are not widely available in Maine.”
Bibula also plans a series of events that will help introduce new local foods and educate the public about the variety of farming activities happening in Southern Maine. “Our goal is to become a destination not only for delicious local foods but for a unique experience that only small family farms can provide,” Bibula explained.
Of the seven total LFPP grants awarded in Maine through this program, Plowshares is the only recipient that is a working farm. The funding was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill and the technical grant assistance provided by Nadeen Daniels, Cumberland County Grants & Projects Liaison. This award aligns with the recent federal IMCP designation of the Greater Portland area as a food production hub.
For more information contact Nadeen Daniels, Cumberland County Grants & Special Projects Liaison, at 871-8380 or firstname.lastname@example.org.