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A celebration of farm viability at Ripley Farm June 27

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — Come celebrate thriving farms at “Root Down: A Farm Viability Party” hosted by Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) at Ripley Farm on the Merrills Mills Road from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, June 27. Guests can take a tour of the farm, enjoy snacks from Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen, a cash bar with local beer and wine from Bissell Brothers and wine from Oyster River Winegrowers, learn about MFT’s Farm Viability work to help farms thrive and hear what the farmers at Ripley Farm are doing to grow their business.

MFT has long held Forever Farm parties to highlight and celebrate farms that decided to protect their land from future development with an agricultural easement. But protecting farmland with easements is just one facet of MFT’s work to keep land in farming. MFT also offers Farm Viability programming, aimed at helping farmers grow strong businesses and be financially viable.

MFT’s Farming for Wholesale program is one example of how the Trust is supporting farm viability. The farmers at Ripley Farm recently completed MFT’s Farming for Wholesale program, which helps farmers participate in, or scale up for, wholesale markets through ongoing farm business planning assistance. The program connects farmers with businesses, financial and marketing advisors, as well as other farmers, to hone financial record keeping, analyze scenarios for scaling up their business, and write a strong business plan that reflects their goals. Farmers who complete Farming for Wholesale are eligible to submit their business plan to compete for an implementation grant of up to $50,000.

“It’s not easy to successfully run a small business, and running a farm business has it’s own unique challenges,” said Ellen Sabina at Maine Farmland Trust. “Ripley Farm is a great example of a farm that’s proactively working to figure out how to grow a sustainable business that meets their financial and lifestyle goals, and that’s something we should all celebrate.”

The event is free and open to all, but please no dogs. Please RSVP at mainefarmlandtrust.org — walk-ins are welcome too.

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