Economic Development

Economic Development CURRENT GOAL: Maine has a food system that creates economic development opportunities and builds lasting livelihoods.

The Economic Development Council will begin February 2017 to consider policies, programs, and activities that support the Framework document and MFS network values, all which relate to economic development and the food system.  FMI on the Council, contact us!

Stay connected! For upcoming meetings and related Council information, sign up for the Economic Development Council mailing list here.

The Economic Development Council is current pursuing projects related to the following Framework actions:

  • Expand technical assistance available to businesses interested in scaling up production for larger markets.
  • Explore tax incentives and credits as a tool to encourage investment in food systems infrastructure development and improvements that benefit Maine businesses.
  • To this end, the Council sees the need for better coordination between sectors and levels of the value chain, and is considering a collaborative event that will bring together producers, buyers, and financers, around scaling up topics most relevant to businesses.
  • The group is also looking at demand data to identify certain products that businesses might capitalize on.

Council participants: CEI, FDG Law Offices, Ferment Farm, Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, Maine Food Strategy steering committee, Maine Technology Institute, Marketing Strategy Decisions.


1.University of Southern Maine Food Studies Program Collaboration

The Economic Development Strategy Council partnered with the University of Southern Maine Food Studies Program to research technical assistance needs for Maine food businesses working to expand.

Students conducted interviews with local businesses to learn how they have successfully scaled-up, and what can be learned for new businesses looking to do the same. The Maine Food Strategy and other supporters attended the final presentations to hear results. 

2. Food Systems Data project 

There are many concerns around the collection, availability, and comparability of market and business data in Maine’s food system. The Council is currently looking at identifying the problem and the most effective way to address it. If your organization is ‘in the business’ of using or collecting data, or you wish to but face barriers, please get in touch! Email us here with thoughts or resources:

The Food System Market Data Workshop, Needs Assessment, and Networking Event

May 30, 2019
9 – 4 p.m. 
USM Muskie School of Public Service 

The Maine Food Strategy Economic Development Council partnered with the Data Innovation Project to hold a work session and needs assessment on food system market data.

The goal of this event was to increase business awareness of existing tools and services that focus on market data and provide information and assistance to Maine producers in making this data relevant to businesses, as well as conduct needs assessment to better understand where there are gaps and opportunities to better serve businesses with data.

Over 25 businesses, service providers, and stakeholders participated to provide thought and perspective, and the results of the needs assessment are currently being collated. Check back – They will be released for review soon! Below are presentation and workshop materials.    

  1. Workshop Presentation Slides
  2. The Info on Infographics
  3. Make Data Work for You: Leverage What You Have
  4. Data Visualization How-to’s
  5. How to use the Data Innovation Project Data Scan
    a. Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition
  6. Data Inventory Worksheet
  7. View the synthesis document here! This is the results of the Needs Assessment on food systems market data in Maine.