Sustainable Food Internship in Maine

1. Organizational description:
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is a nonprofit lender and investor specializing in rural business development and financing. One of the nation’s premier Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), CEI was founded in 1977 to help create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. CEI supports small and medium-sized businesses, natural resource-based industries including the farm, fish and forest sectors, community facilities, renewable energy, commercial real estate, eco-tourism, and affordable housing. CEI serves communities in Maine, New England, and rural regions throughout the U.S.
Our website URL is:

2. Internship opportunities available in our Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program:
The Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program at CEI is seeking up to three interns for summer 2016. The Ag Program provides business counseling and financial assistance to farms and food-related businesses in Maine and the northeast, and engages in numerous initiatives that enhance the growth and success of the sector. The intern would support the Ag Program team on project research and analysis, project coordination and networking, outreach and convening of stakeholders and project partners. The positions will be based in Brunswick with limited travel needs. Typically, the intern will be able to commute with staff to any meetings. Depending on the project there is the opportunity for field work, meeting with farm/food system operators/stakeholders. Interns are exposed to the work of the broader organization, including attendance at loan group and staff meetings.

The intern would work on one of the following potential projects:

· Climate adaptation strategies for Maine food producers. CEI is helping to develop a train-the-trainers model curriculum for business counselors working with farm and food system businesses throughout Maine, so that they can help their clients integrate climate adaptation strategies into their business models and ensure ongoing success in the face of climate change. The training program will be built around 3 core components: 1) understanding climate shifts, 2) demonstrating impact on farm and food businesses, and 3) identifying business-level solutions to address climate change. Intern would both gather and conduct research on climate change and agriculture; coordinate meetings with project partners and stakeholders; assist in curriculum design and development of the training program.
· Ethnic produce value chain development. The goal of this pilot project is to show the economic viability of growing ethnic produce in Maine to meet local and regional (Boston) markets. The intern would work with program staff as well as value-chain participants in the pilot project. Possible work includes interviewing participating farmers, distributors and retailers to assess feasibility of the project; track and evaluate production and sales data; create briefs/reports on lessons learned, best practices, and pitfalls. This may involve research into the gaps in the food value chain, such as the ‘missing middle’ in Maine’s local food system: processing and distribution infrastructure businesses. Access to a car and ability to work from Portland a plus.

· Program Expansion: Explore the nexus of food, smart growth, and the “maker economy” in rural Maine. Conduct market assessment of the business development and financial needs of artists and makers, identify service and product gaps, quantify pipeline, and think about how CEI or other collaborators might help fill some of these needs. What would it take to capitalize the maker resurgence? Develop the rational for a thoughtful entrance into this market.

3. Number of weeks = 10, depending on interns’ academic schedule

4. Supervisor = Daniel Wallace, Associate Director, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems

5. Background/profile= self-directed, strong written and verbal skills, critical thinking, data analysis, strong technical acumen, strong interest in our industry; specifically sustainable agriculture and food systems.

6. Transportation = required, but will be limited in scope. If this is an issue, we can look at alternative arrangements for transportation.

7. Location = Brunswick, Maine

8. Housing = intern responsible for securing own housing—check Maine Craigslist as well as Bowdoin College may have housing opportunities for the summer

9. How to apply:

a. Email current resume and cover letter to: Colleen Ippolito, HR Director [email protected]
We will conduct interviews with qualified applicants—if the applicant is not able to be here in person, we can arrange via Skype or some other type of video-chat option.