Saturday, January 29, 2011

February 1st Monthly Meeting Agenda

Tuesday, February 01, 2011 – 7 pm

1)      Building / Construction update  (Roger)
2)     Beef Raffle Fund Raiser:   Discuss the price of tickets, where, where and all that stuff.
Pam from Dexter Printing has generously offered to print our Raffle Tickets and of course BIG thanks to Fred Sherburne for the whole beef to raffle.  We will be raffling (2) sides!
3)     Chicken Coop Raffle donated by Daniel & Moria McGarry
4)     Are we going to do the dinner?   Do we have enough volunteers? Other fund raisers???
5)     Creating a buying club or something similar (Judy)

  1.  Grant from Commissioner Seth Bradstreet  of the Dept of Ag (Judy)
  2. Phase 1 of our building is done.  (There are a few things to finish by the builders, but waiting on supplies to come in)  We have the keys and the big work can begin on the inside when more money and donations are available.  Any carpenters ready to volunteer?  We will have an update at the meeting.  I am trying to make sure there is power so we can go thru the store before our meeting that night at 6:30 PM (I will let you know).  Roger is checking on the power situation.  The contractors had power on a special meter and that was changed this week.  He is checking on how to get it back on.
  3. Dave, Roger and I will be meeting with CDBG rep. Terry Ann Stevens on Wednesday to finalize the paperwork on that Grant.
  4. Fred has been researching labeling, packaging and more from Herring Brothers which he will share at the meeting.
  5. Signage & Graphics:  We need to start working on graphics, logos, etc.
    Dave is working on the big sign outside which he will report on.
  6. Fred suggested we start using our windows in the store to promote.... promote... promote...
  7. We need to heat in store very soon to help keep the foundation from damage.  Discussion

  8. 7:30 PM -- SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER:  Cheryl Hajek of CBC Bookkeeping
    How do you know if you are making a profit?
    Cheryl will be giving an overview of book keeping for the farmer (or business) and how QuickBooks can help you with knowing IF you are making a profit, where your expenses and income come from and more.  Cheryl is a Certified QuickBooks Instructor as well as a farmer.  If there is enough interest, we will discuss holding classes for those of you who want to learn how to use QuickBooks efficiently.   She will also talk about what Software version is best for you and costs. ( 
--- General Discussion AND  Q & A
Vision Statement: Building our local economy and community with local people, farms and markets.
Mission Statement: Locally Grown, Locally Processed, Locally Marketed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Public Hearing Notice

The Town of Dexter will hold a Public Hearing on February 1st, at 7PM at the Town Council Chambers to discuss an application being submitted to the State of Maine CDBG program for a  Non-Profit Development Grant application.  

 The purpose of the grant application is to fund Phase II of the Fossa General Store renovations.  Public comments will be solicited at this Hearing and will be submitted as part of the application.  All persons wishing to make comments or ask questions about the grant application are invited to attend this Public Hearing.   

Comments may be submitted in writing to: Dave Pearson Town of Dexter 23 Main Street Dexter, Maine 04930 at any time prior to the Public Hearing.  TDD/TTY users may call 711.  If you are physically unable to access any of the Town’s programs or services, please call Dave Pearson 924-7351  so that accommodations can be made.

Special meeting and updates

Hi Farmers and friends,

At our regular January 3rd meeting we had a great energetic meeting with many new people as well as regulars.

Those who were in attendance:  Brent Mullis, Billi Barker, Daniel & Moira McGarry, Judith Stephens, Fred Sherburne, Jason Abbott-Dallamora, Mia Abbott, Jesse Abbott-Dallamora, Roger Brown, Dave Pearson, Grace Lommel, Judy Wilbur Craig, Sue Watson

In old business Roger caught us up on the Construction of the Fossa Store.  The outside is looking fabulous!!!!

The contractors will be done within a few weeks and then OUR WORK can begin on the inside, but we need $$$.  We talked a lot about fund raising,  writing more grants and how we can raise money for the inside.  We will be able to volunteer and hire our own people once the contractors are done and the CDBG grant phase is over.

Fundraiser Ideas tossed around were:

--  a dinner/dance at the new school; maybe in March.  Billi Barker had LOTS of ideas on how to do that and Fred is checking with the new school to make sure we could hold it there.
-- Fred Sherburne is donating a whole beef to conduct a Beef Raffle ... Thanks Fred!  I contacted another organization that holds these type of raffles and they have made a few thousand dollars.  So we will be raffle (2) sides of (1) beef.
--  Daniel McGarry of Abbot offered to build and donate a Chicken Coop to raffle .... holy chickens, that is nice of him and his wife Moira!

We also talked about starting a buying club (of some sort) and why not start it sooner than later.  We don't really need to be open in the to start selling your products.  I have talked with Marada Cook and hope to have someone from Crown of Maine come and talk to us about what we need to do to make that happen.

Financial:  Dave explained where we stand with the CDBG Grant financially, because we coming to a close of that grant.

New Business:

Sue Watson from Heart of Maine (HOM) talked about grants, applications & about pertinent upcoming farm workshops and also  Heart of Maine’s plan to help the Dexter Farm Project.
She talked about HOM's 2011 Summary of Goals, Objectives & Project Strategies and how that includes Dexter Community Farm Project.  

Some of the things discussed where the need for workshops such as business planning, insurances.  We talked about the need of a workshop such as NexLevel to help build business plans for individual farms but also for how it will help with their relationship with the Fossa marketplace.  One of the barriers for many of the start up farmers is the cost of the course.  We are working on finding funding and scholarships for those who may need them to attend this type of workshop.

I will keep you updated, BUT what type of workshops would you benefit from?  I hope to put together an Insurance workshop soon for what kind of liability insurance you need to sell to the store and other places.

We scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, January 18th at 7 PM at the Council Chambers.  BUT, we are supposed to get bad weather tomorrow night. IF we do, we will have the meeting at our regular meeting on February 1st, same time, same place....
We were holding it to come up with new ideas on fund raising and continue on the dinner and the Raffles.

Recently we have had 2 news stories written about us.  One from Grace Lommel of SVWeekly and the other from Diana Bowley of Bangor Daily News.  Both are posted here on our blog below
.  I have also taken pictures of the building as recent as Friday.  You can find see those on the blog as well.

I know I have forgotten other stuff talked about but.......

As always, call me if you have any questions, ideas and thoughts.


Growing Local Food Workshops

DDATT has announced that their February Growing Local Food workshops will be scheduled for Saturday, February 5 and Saturday, February 19, 9:30 until noon at the Abbott Memorial Library in Dexter. 

The first workshop, February 5 (snow date February 12) is "Back to Basics" Topics to be covered : location, planning(how big, how much food, how much time), tilling & fertilizing, fencing, choosing varieties, ordering seeds, etc.
The second workshop on February 19 (snow date February 26) "Seeds" covers: starting seeds(planting depth, seed size, containers, potting soil), double transplanting, cold frames, hoophouses, greenhouses, etc. 

Both workshops are free and will be presented by local organic market gardeners Lois Labbe and Tom Roberts of Snakeroot Farm. 

Snakeroot Organic Farm started in 1995 when Tom and Lois moved onto a run out hayfield in an opening in the woods on the Snakeroot Road in Pittsfield, and immediately began to improve the soil with cover crops and compost. 

Today they grow a wide variety of mixed vegetables, fruit and culinary herbs on 5 acres of gardens. Over 30 greenhouse and field crops are sold at local farmers' markets. 

Pre-registration is suggested by contacting, 924-3836 (eves) or 924-7292 (days).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bangor Daily News Story

Grants eyed for Dexter renovations
Saturday, January 15, 2011
By Diana Bowley of the BDN Staff: DEXTER, Maine — The exterior renovation of the Fossa General Store and Dexter Community Farm Project is nearly complete and local officials are working to secure grants for the interior work, according to Dexter Town Manager Dave Pearson.

Photo taken Friday, January 14, 2011

“I think it looks pretty good. It looked ugly as sin for a couple of years, so I think maybe it was worth the wait,” Pearson told the Town Council on Thursday. 

The work is funded by one of several grants the town has received to spruce up the community. The town also has a Main Street grant to help businesses and a grant to improve housing.
Funds from the Main Street grant, which has income guidelines and requires a match, has been used by the Brewster Inn.

The Country Charm also was awarded a grant to help track its inventory. A third business was awarded a grant but the owner disqualified himself, according to Pearson. About $18,000 to $20,000 remains in the account and those funds will be redirected to another business owner, he said. Any local business wanting more information should contact the town office. 

More than seven projects are under way using funds from a $500,000 housing grant, Pearson said. The money is being used to improve the homes of qualified owners and some funds will be used to replace housing. 

Pearson, Judy Wilbur Craig, director of the Fossa building project and the farm project, along with Jason Bird, the town’s grant writer, are now searching for additional grants to finish the Fossa building. About $300,000 has been invested in the restoration of the building to date, according to Bird. 

Bird said the project received a $40,000 grant from USDA Rural Development to construct a kitchen in the building. The first floor will be retail space and the upstairs will be office space. The emphasis now is to get the renovation work completed and the downstairs finished so the store can be opened, he said. 

The general store will be a year-round farm store and will have a demonstration kitchen. Also planned as part of the farm project is the construction or renovation of a building for a creamery to process milk, yogurt and ice cream, and for use as a warehouse.

"This content originally appeared as a copyrighted article in the Saturday, January 15, 2011 edition of the Bangor Daily NEWS and is used here with permission."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Recent Newstory in SvWeekly

Dexter Fossa Store exterior almost complete; interior work to begin

Photo taken January 30th, 2010
Wednesday, January 05, 2011 
Written by Grace Lommel: DEXTER – 
At the monthly meeting of the Fossa General Store and Dexter Community Farm Project on Jan. 4 at the Dexter Town Council Chamber, farmers, grant writers and community organizers discussed building and construction updates, potential grant opportunities and ideas for fundraising for interior work.

“The exterior trim is 60 percent complete, the deck (77 feet long, 12 foot wide) footings are in and the siding has begun,” reported Dexter Regional Development Corporation (DRDC) President Roger Brawn.
DRDC is the sponsor of the Dexter Community Farm Project whose goal is to create a year round market in the rebuilt Fossa General Store. Both the Project and Fossa General Store were created by DRDC to work with local community farmers within roughly a 25- mile radius of Dexter. 

The exterior work is expected to be done by the end of January. “Once the siding is complete, then we can roll up our sleeves and get moving on the inside work,” said Dave Pearson, DRDC VP and Dexter Town Manager. “We haven't had access to interior,” explained Brawn, citing restrictions of engineers, the federal grant and state contractors. Necessary interior work includes insulation, electrical and plumbing work. 

“The building is not the only thing,” Pearson reminded the group. “The real project is to reinvigorate Central Maine's agricultural resources.” 

Some of the resources available are grants and Sue Watson of the USDA and coordinator of the Heart of Maine Resource Conservation and Development spoke about these possibilities. Watson presented grant ideas for completing the interior of the Fossa Store as well as business plans and training opportunities for small scale farmers. 

The Tilling the Soil 13-week business planning seminar introduced by Watson garnered the most interest for the farmers present. “It gets you to set down and think through the opportunities for growing and marketing your products,” Watson explained. Included in the grant are scholarships to offset the course and instructor fees. 

Judy Craig, Director of the Fossa building and Dexter’s Community Farm Project, offered the possibility of a buying club which would enable collective selling to schools, prisons and supermarkets. Dairy farmer Fred Sherburne of Dexter was very interested in the buying club. “It's essential to get in this [buying club] business this summer,” urged Sherburne. Watson agreed, saying “I think it's worth going for.” 

Plans were made to meet on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. to identify the most applicable and available grants and to also gauge local interest. 

When meat and vegetable farmer Dan McGarry of Abbott asked “What can we do now?” several fundraising ideas were discussed. Billi Barker of St. Albans suggested a dinner party on March 5 to celebrate Carnival, the last day of Mardi Gras. Farmer and fiber artist Mia Abbott of Blanchard offered adding value to the meal with a raffle or auction of local agricultural products as a preview of what the area has to offer. Barker agreed, declaring that "people want to know what's going on" with the building and the farm project. 

This area is wide open with opportunities,” said Watson  “We're creating a new old economy,” predicted Craig.
"This content originally appeared as a copyrighted article in the and is used here with permission."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

1st meeting of 2011

Hi Farmers, friends and DRDC members,
Happy New Year!!!

2011 is going to be a great year for Dexter's Community Farm Project.  We are starting off with a nice looking (so far) building on Main Street.  The foundation is done, they put in the windows, the outside trim is going up and next is the siding.  That is supposed to be done by the end of the month!!!  Then the building is ours to get going on the inside.  We have to come up with some fund-raising ideas, grants, volunteering, etc.  Bring your ideas to the table on Tuesday.  

I took some pictures last week and you can see them at

It is starting to look like a General Store with the windows and notice how they match the rest of Main Street Buildings.
We need YOUR input and ideas to get the excitement going again with our project.  The next meeting is this Tuesday, January 4th at 7 pm at the Dexter Town Council Chambers on Main Street.  

Mark your calendars, the Farm Project meetings are always the 1st Tuesday of the month (unless weather is bad).  We need to start meeting regularly now that the holidays are over and the building is progressing.
I will have some snacks and drinks available (will that entice you to come?)

Also let us know how your growing season went in 2010, what new things you are doing and what are your plans for 2011?

On another note, but pertinent, I am now working at Heart of Maine RC&D (HOM) in Bangor 3 or 4 days a week.  If you don’t know, HOM works  with farmers and rural programs in the Penobscot, Piscataquis & Somerset Counties. (  Sue Watson who attends our meetings, works for USDA and is the Coordinator overseeing  Heart of Maine, which is a 503C nonprofit.  It will be a great partnership for our group and HOM. 

I hope to see you on Tuesday and if anyone would like to bring some of your own snacks, feel free!!!
It is going to be a great year for the Fossa General Store and the Community Farm Project.

Agenda for January 4th:


1)     Building / Construction update  (Roger)
2)   Financial status
1)     Farmers updates on the 2010 season & what’s coming up

2)   Sue Watson from Heart of Maine will talk about grants, applications & about pertinent upcoming farm workshops  Heart of Maine’s plan to help the Dexter Farm Project in the.

3)   Volunteers need to help find $$ (Tim)

4)   What’s next?  Idea and suggestions!

7) General Discussion AND  Q & A

Next meeting:  Tuesday, February 08th  at 7 PM

Vision Statement: Building our local economy and community with local people, farms and markets.
Mission Statement: Locally Grown, Locally Processed, Locally Marketed.