Maine Farmland Trust
mail: 97 Main Street, Belfast, Maine 04915
call: (207) 338 – 6575
fax: (207) 338 – 6024
Belfast & Gallery: 97 Main St, Belfast, ME 04915
Unity: 38 School Street, Unity, ME 04988
Portland: 48 Union Wharf, Portland, ME 04101
Gallery and offices are open Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm
LEADERSHIP & ADMINISTRATION
OUTREACH & PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
William Bell, Saco
Bill Bell, a magna cum laude graduate of Yale, is an experienced association manager specializing in agricultural issues. He has served as the executive of groups ranging from the New England Grain and Feed Council to the Maine Association of Conservation Districts. He has also been an owner-operator of a large organic farm in southern Maine and has served as president of the Agricultural Council of Maine and of Maine Farmland Trust board.
Franklin Miles, Secretary, Cape Elizabeth
Frank Miles is a retired public school teacher and administrator. With a lifelong interest in agriculture, Frank is one of the founding board members of MFT and has served as board Secretary, President, and Treasurer, and currently serves on both the Executive Committee and the Lands Committee. He has represented MFT on the Agricultural Council of Maine since 2005, and has served as Vice-president, President and currently Treasurer of AGCOM.
Jason Bolton, Orono
Jason Bolton, Ph.D. is the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Food Safety Specialist, Associate Extension Professor, where he works with food companies in Maine/U.S. on facility design, HACCP implementation, thermal process validation, regulation interpretation and new product development. He is a cooperating faculty member with the University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture, where he performs research in the areas of food processing and brewing sciences and teaches courses on commercial brewing and food safety. Dr. Bolton provides process services in the areas of seafood, meat and poultry and acidified canned food products and offers industry courses on Meat and Poultry HACCP, Seafood HACCP, Better Process Control School, FSMA, and Sanitation.
Dave Colson, Durham
Dave currently leads MOFGA’s Agricultural Services Program, after nearly 3 decades of farming. In the early 1980’s, he bought land in Durham and began farming with his parents, and was joined by his wife Chris a few years later. Eventually his parents retired from farming, and he and Chris kept the operation going strong, raising a variety of produce for many of Southern Maine’s leading restaurants and independent retailers. Since taking the position of Agricultural Services Director at MOFGA, New Leaf Farm has scaled back to a haying and green manure operation, but Dave continues to mentor and educate many new and established farmers throughout Maine each year.
Stacy Brenner, Scarborough
Stacy Brenner lives and farms at Broadturn Farm in Scarborough with her husband, John Bliss and two daughters, Emma and Flora. They raise vegetables and flowers, host weddings and operate a summer day camp that focuses on connecting a young community with where nutritious and sustainable food comes from. Stacy is devoted to understanding and improving farmland preservation, farmland tenancy arrangements and organic agriculture as an economic driver for the state of Maine. Her resume includes work as a barista, an orchid greenhouse caretaker, a cotton farmer and a nurse-midwife. She holds a BS in Agriculture from the University of Arizona, and BSN and an MSN in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. She’s been settled in Maine since 2002.
Meredith Eilers, Bowdoinham
Originally from Long Island, NY, Meredith got involved with farming while at Dartmouth College, working on the school’s farm. Later, she and her husband, Dave, moved to California, where she worked for the California Wilderness Coalition. During these transformational years, she witnessed every step of the process to designate federal land in California as wilderness, from grassroots organizing to drafting congressional legislation. She also learned that she might like to be a lawyer, which then took her to the Vermont Law School, and eventually to working at Bernstein Shur, where she focuses on business litigation and construction law. In 2014, Meredith’s family purchased what is now Blue Bell Farm in Bowdoinham (MFT holds a conservation easement on the property). Meredith and Dave have two daughters, Eleanor and Margaret, and feel like they are living the dream.
Susan Morris, Vice Chair, Waldoboro
Susan Morris grew up amongst horses, cows, hens, pigs, and authors (her father was a publisher) in Massachusetts. After she returned from serving in the Peace Corps in India, she married her husband John, taught and studied in Philadelphia, and moved to Maine in 1970. Susan has been managing her family’s organic blueberry farm in Waldoboro since 1970. She is a founder of Medomak Valley Land Trust and continues to serve on its board. Susan was also a founding member of MFT’s board.
Neil Crane, Exeter
Neil is a full time, third generation potato and grain farmer in the Exeter, East Corinth area. His farm developed a potato marketing relationship with Frito-Lay in the early 60’s and continues to sell to the company. Neil spends a lot of time helping with farm work during summer months, though the fourth and fifth generation are now actively managing the farm business. Neil has played an active role in many potato and agricultural organizations, and has served in several capacities on town committees and on the local school board for many years.
Walter Fletcher, Pittsfield
Walter grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Westford, Massachusetts. In 1980 he and his wife, Edna, purchased a rundown farm in Pittsfield, Maine and now manage a herd of 240 milk cows and 225 calves and heifers. In 2009, Walter’s son Austin returned to the family farm and is a full partner and farm manager today. Walter has been actively involved with Eastern Breeders Cooperative, Massachusetts Farm Bureau, Maine Farm Bureau, Agway, Yankee Milk Co-op, Agri-Mark Milk Co-op and Maine Dairy Industry Association. He is currently a member of the Agri-Mark Board of Directors.
Taylor Mudge, Chair, Camden
Taylor Mudge is a hop farmer in Lincolnville. Originally from Pittsburg, PA, Taylor bought his farm in 1970 and raised 300 ewes from meat and wool, as well as research animals for Yale Medical School. He founded the State of Maine Cheese Company in Rockland in 1984, where he made cheddar cheese with milk from local dairy farms. After selling the business, he moved into consulting and founded a production company. Taylor currently serves as a board member for the Maine 4H Foundation, Tanglewood and Blueberry Cove Camps, and is the board chair at MFT.
Eleanor Kinney, Bremen
Eleanor is an organic farmer, impact investor and mother of three. Her focus is on building local, sustainable food systems, and she invests in farms and food businesses across the state. Eleanor serves on the steering committee of Slow Money Maine, and the Impact Investment Committee of Maine Community Foundation. She is passionate about growing food, raising awareness, and aligning her investments with her values.
Jon Olson, Mount Vernon
Jon Olson is the former executive director of Maine Farm Bureau, a position he held for 35 years until his retirement. He has a B.A. degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a M. Div degree from Bangor Theological Seminary. He resides in Mt. Vernon with his wife, Alice.
Stephen Page, Searsmont
Steve Page is a farmer and entrepreneur. He planted his first apple orchard on a homestead in Knox County in 1974. In 1990 he planted a commercial orchard in Waldo County, and protected his farm with an agricultural conservation easement in 1997. To support his farming habit, Steve has started several small businesses, worked for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and has been a leader in Maine’s aquaculture industry, pioneering sustainable offshore aquaculture. He is now back on land raising a few cows and planting trees.
James Lawrence, Rockport
A graduate of Harvard University, James has a strong background in finance, investments, and strategy consulting developed over almost two decades in the fields of investment banking and private-equity investing. He has acted as an advisor and consultant to public and private companies and non-profit organizations in the United States and Europe. His family runs Allandale Farm in Boston, MA, the last working farm operating within metropolitan city limits in the United States.
Henry Whittemore, Treasurer, Readfield
Henry Whittemore is Principal of Crow’s Nest Collaborative, a global forestry investment and management services consultancy, and has more than twenty-five years of global timberland management experience. Prior to establishing his own company, he was senior director of an international timberland investment fund and the regional manager for a large timberland investment management organization. Early in his career, he worked with landowners in New Hampshire to develop conservation strategies for farms and forestland permanently protected through conservation easements. He holds a BA from Williams College and a Masters in Forestry from Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.