Maine Food Projects Awarded $$ in Federal Grants Pingree Announces


The Gulf of Maine Research Institute,at 350 Commercial Street, Portland to Receive Federal Funds Announced Today by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D).

Two Portland non-profits are the recipients of Federal grants intended to help strengthen local and regional food systems according to a press release issued this afteroon by the office of Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D).

The first, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, will receive $882,165 to implement and expand its project that aims to achieve a resilient regional seafood system in partnerwhip with Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., The Fin, Portland Fish Exchange and BackProv.

The second Portland recipient, Fork Food Lab, 72 Parris Street, is scheduled to receive $749,785. to implement the start-up of Fork Food Lab 2.0 which will facilitate the development of value-added products from $1 million in Maine fish, meat, dairy, eggs, grains and produce resulting in the creation of 246 jobs and $17 million in economic impact by 2025.

“The USDA Grant is a critical component in supporting our 50+ food business,” wrote Bill Seretta, Executive Director, in a statement to  “Since its launch in 2016, Fork Food LDab has facilitated the startup and scale-up of 120 enterprises, including food producers, caterers, food trucks, new product lines and cookig classes and competitions.  As Maine’s only commercial kitchen incubator, Fork has reached fujll capacity.  through the USDA Implementation Grant, we will execute Fork Food Lab 2.0, an expansion that will help us 1) scale up our internal systems to support 75+ plus members; 2) create new value-added services, including cooperative purchasing and centralized marketing; 3) explore becoming USDA-certified for meat processing plus additional certified kitchens for gluten-free and vegan products 4) a table-top manufacturing and packaging layout that will position members for scalable wholesale production; 5) develop Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, and 6) provide new educational and culinary programing for Fork members.

By expanding the capacity of F ork Food LDab, this USDA Implementation Grant and facilitate the development of value added potatoes from $1 million in Maine, fish, meat, dairy, eggs, grains and produce, resulting in the creation of 245 jobs and $17 million in economic impact by 2025,” according to Bill Seretta, Executive Director.

There are three other Maine based organizations in Yarmouth, Whitefield and Bremen recieving Federal grant money as well  The Federal funding is in the amount of $3.5 million grant is issued by the US Department of Agriculture coming to Maine through the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP).

“Small and mid-sized farms are not only a key part of Maine’s agricultural heritage, but are also a major driver of our economy and help .ensure we have a diverse, resilient food supply chain,” said Congresswoman Pingree (D), a long-time organic farmer who serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and the House Agriculture Committee. “As farmers cope with continued uncertainity brought on by the pandemic and consumers increasingly seek out locally produced foods, Federal support is more important than ever.  I’m proud to have advocated for the program that made the investment possible now and for years to come so our agricultural markets can grow and thrive.”