VAN BUREN, Maine — When Leah Cook and her family moved to the St. John Valley 15 years ago and took up organic gardening and raising animals on their Grand Isle farm, she said more than one resident dismissed them as “hippy farmers.”
Years later, Leah and her sister Marada Cook have taken all they learned on that family farm, applied 21st century technology and business practices and created Northern Girl to sell local produce to niche markets around New England and along the Atlantic seaboard.
With an action-packed three days of learning and five impressive pitches from participating entrepreneurs, the second annual Fair Food Business Boot Camp was a great success.
2014 Boot Camp Participants & Mentors
Farmers markets fill many roles in U.S. communities: They serve as a neighborhood hub, put farmers face-to-face with consumers and connect shoppers with fresh locally, grown produce.
Over the past six years, many markets have also played another larger role: providing fruits and vegetables to low-income Americans via the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.