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Maine Harvest Credit Project
Scott Budde ’83SIPA
What is the social or environmental issue being addressed?
The current dominant industrial food and agricultural models consistently value profit over people and the environment. The food system in Maine and around the country is profoundly flawed, resulting in adverse consequences for health, the environment, and rural economies. In addition, there are critical financing gaps facing this sector, particularly around financing the acquisition of land and specialized food processing and agricultural equipment.
Maine Harvest Credit Project is creating a credit union that will specialize in lending to small-scale, sustainably run farms and food businesses to be part of the core infrastructure of a more sustainable, local, and healthy food system.
Maine Harvest Credit Project is addressing a key unmet financing need for an important, high impact sector. These small-scale, sustainably run farms and food businesses often lack access to appropriate financing. The credit union will fill that gap by allowing this growing sector to tap Maine’s $30 billion market of US government-guaranteed retail deposits to fund its loan portfolio. For small farms and local food businesses, this will mean improved access to larger loans with longer durations than are readily available from other financing sources.
They also believe that the creation of Maine Harvest Credit Union will have an impact well beyond Maine’s borders. As the first deposit-taking institution in the USA focused on food system re-localization, Maine Harvest will be a model for other states and regions looking to scale up the financing options for small scale, sustainably produced food and agricultural products.
- Maine Harvest Credit Union, with a Focus on Agriculture, Poised to Open
May 21, 2019
- The Country's First-Ever Credit Union to Lend Exclusively to Farmers and Food Producers Hits Milestone and Moves Forward
October 15, 2018
- Just How Sustainable Is Local Agriculture in the Midcoast?
The Free Press
August 23, 2018
- Where Credit Is Due?
Stanford Social Innovation Review
- Credit Union for Maine Farmers, Other Food Producers a Big Step Closer
Portland Press Herald
March 16, 2017
- Seeding Rural Opportunity: The Philanthropy Behind Up-and-Coming Farmers
January 4, 2017
- Project Focused on New Food Economy Aims to Create Maine's 59th Credit Union
October 31, 2016