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Winthrop Chamber Meeting to Showcase Local Foods Buying Club

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The Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting on Thursday, March 7, 2013, will feature Gina Lamarche and Anne Trenholm of the Maranacook Local Foods Buying Club. Lamarche and Trenholm will share information about this innovative initiative to help area families buy nutritious, healthy, and affordable foods, and help area farmers and other vendors sell more products in a more organized, collective way. The Maranacook Local Foods Buying Club is a convenient way to purchase Maine-made and -grown foods and provisions, including local baked goods, dairy products, meats, preserves, soaps, and vegetables.

The Maranacook Local Foods Buying Club was started in September 2011 as a pilot for the Farm Fresh for ME initiative, which supported the development of food buying clubs throughout Maine. These food buying clubs pool the demand of several households, allowing them to purchase larger quantities of food. The Maranacook Local Foods Buying Club—initially supported by grant funding from the US Department of Agriculture and the Maine Department of Agriculture in collaboration with Western Mountains Alliance—was established in Readfield where Maranacook Area School’s support enabled student involvement, as well as a distribution site at Maranacook Middle School.

In the time since its formation, the Maranacook Local Foods Buying Club has appointed a board of directors, developed membership and volunteer options, and worked toward becoming self-sustaining. The club is supported by membership dues, member volunteer time, and collaborative efforts with Maranacook Schools and local farmers and other vendors. The club now has nearly 50 active members.

“We just had our annual meeting and community potluck,” shared Lamarche, who serves as club coordinator. “It was a great event, attended by board members, current and prospective club members, and people who wanted to come and share a good meal.”

“Members are welcome to attend our bi-monthly board meetings,” added Trenholm, who serves as board chair for the club. “We encourage them to submit ideas and suggestions as part of the agenda, and guide the direction of the club. The most popular meetings happen informally on pickup day and at community potlucks.”

Lamarche got involved due to her past experience starting a buying club and local produce box pickup. She works as Program Director of the Kennebec Land Trust, lives in Wayne with her husband and two children, and enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, outdoor activities, and spending time with her family.

Trenholm is a third-generation farm and food promoter. She grew up on the same family farm, Wholesome Holmstead in Winthrop, where she now helps her family market and sell the local dairy and meat products from genetics they’ve “kept” over three generations.

The Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting on Thursday, March 7, 2013, will be held at the Winthrop Area Federal Credit Union (located at the intersection of Route 202 and Highland Avenue in Winthrop). The cost is $5 per person, to be paid at the door. A light breakfast will be provided beginning at 7:15 am and the meeting will start at 7:30 am and end promptly at 8:30 am. The meeting, which is generously sponsored by Brian S. Berry & Associates, CPAs, is open to the public. No reservations are required.