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Events

Northern New England Agrarian Commons First Purchase: 104-acre Farm in Wales, Maine

 

Attorneys Beth Boepple and Amy Manzelli have been working with Agrarian Trust to establish an Agrarian Commons in each of the Northern New England states to support land access and tenure for the next generation of farmers. The Wales farm in Maine will be the first actual purchase. The Lewiston-based New Mainers group started a crowdfunding campaign a few months ago, raising $367,000 with the plan to raise the remainder of the asking price by December but have already reached their goal. The Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons will be purchasing the farm and leasing it to the Somali Bantu Community Association (SBCA). The SBCA represents around 3,000 Bantu refugees from Somalia who will find community, tradition, and the opportunity to farm sustainability in this farmland. 

Read more about this purchase here.

BCM proud to sponsor MEREDA’s “spring” Conference

 

Maine Real Estate and Development Association (MEREDA) has rescheduled their Spring Conference to October 15th. BCM is proud to be a sponsor of this event, renamed The Chamberlain Model – Back to the Future. The rescheduled event will be held virtually on October 15th from 8:00am to 12:00pm.

 

Find out more about the event and stay updated for when registration opens here.

Maine Harvest FCU offers new program to assist with farmland purchases

Attorney Beth Boepple has been working with Maine Harvest FCU – the first in the country to focus on lending to small farms and food producers – and helped draft their first loan documents. Now, the credit union is offering a new program to new and existing farmers to assist with closing costs, refinancing, and expanding. Due to COVID-19, interest rates are at an all time low and the importance of Maine farms at a high – sparking an increase in farmland purchases and financing at lower rates.

Learn more about the program here.

Beth Boepple Interviewed about Say No to NECEC Stay of Permits

Beth Boepple has been representing Say No to NECEC, a group of citizens, businesses, and towns in Maine opposed to Central Maine Power’s (CMP) NECEC (New England Clean Energy Connect) project. The proposed project would run a 145-mile transmission from Quebec, through Western Maine, to provide power to Massachusetts. On behalf of Say No, Beth filed a request with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a stay of the permits issued to CMP for NECEC.

Listen to the full interview here, find out more about opposition to the project by following Say No’s Facebook page, and access filings by visiting the DEP’s website.

BCM fights to protect 1997 forest-for-fields promise

In 1997 a compromise was made between the Derryfield School and the abutting neighbors; the school would get their soccer and softball fields as long as they also preserved 200-250 feet of the remaining forest between the fields and the neighboring homes. Now, twenty-three years later, the school plans to sell land, including this remaining forest, to a developer hoping to build 16 new homes. The promise from 1997 was disregarded since it’s not a forest but a “treed buffer”, and the subdivision was approved by the planning board. Attorney Amy Manzelli represents Stephen Frink, one of the abutting neighbors, in the fight to uphold the promise made to the residents on Coral Avenue.

Read more in the New Hampshire Union Leader along with letters written by each party here.

SBA Disaster Loan Program is Now Open to Agricultural Businesses

Additional funding is now available for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural business affected by COVID-19. Through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act authorized by Congress and signed into law by the President, agricultural enterprises are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance Programs.

To find out if you qualify for an EIDL, follow the link for your state below:
Maine
New Hampshire
Vermont – free daily webinar from 9:00am – 10:00am (Monday – Friday)

To apply for the EIDL click here.

Agrarian Commons Launched on May 1st.

With the help of the BCM team, the Agrarian Commons has launched in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, along with 7 other states across the country. The Agrarian Trust created this new model to support community-centered farm ownership and tenure. Protecting and supporting farms is more important now than ever due to the changing climate, habitat loss, and risks to our food security.

Find out more about the Agrarian Commons and help us support farm land and farmers here.

BCM Represents Claremont Residents in Opposition of Waste Transfer Facility

The proposed waste transfer facility would consist of demolition and construction and receive 150,000 tons of material per year, all being transported by truck through the City of Claremont. Around 70 residents attended the Claremont Zoning Board hearing on Monday, March 2nd to voice their concerns around the proposed facility. Some of these concerns were; road damage caused by roughly 50 trucks transporting material through the city on a daily basis, the potential hazardous material included in these shipments, and a negative impact on the city’s revitalization efforts. Attorney Amy Manzelli authored a letter to the Claremont Zoning Board on behalf of the Claremont residents voicing their collective concerns and identifying possible issues with the application submitted by American Recycling & Disposal. The hearing was concluded at 10:00pm with the board approving a regional impact study be performed to determine the proposed facility’s impact on neighboring communities.

Read more about Monday night’s hearing here.

26 Acres of Spring Brook Farm Protected through Farmland Easement

The previous owners of Spring Brook sold much of their land to the Town of Cumberland, and as a result the property was being considered for the Town’s new sand and salt shed. Jeff Storey, who has been working at Spring Brook Farm since high school, signed a lease with the retiring owners allowing him to continue operating the farm and market. However, the town’s proposal for new development inspired Jeff and the town residents to seek protection of the land. With the help of Attorney Beth Boepple, Jeff Storey now owns Spring Brook Farm and the 26 acres have been forever protected from any non-agricultural development.

Read more about the protection of Spring Brook Farm here.

Amy Manzelli Awarded NOFA-NH’s 2020 Leader of the Year

Individuals and organizations were recognized  at the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)’s 2020 Winter Conference as being the best of the best in our organic farming community. Amy Manzelli has been serving on the NOFA-NH board for the last eight years and was awarded the 2020 Leader of the Year.

Read about the other award winners and more in the February edition of NOFA-NH’s E-Newsletter here.