Off Campus Opportunity: Maine Food System Innovation Challenge- Join the Bowdoin Team!

Contact Eleanor Paasche ( if would like more information about joining the Bowdoin Team.

2017 Maine Food System Innovation Challenge
College Track
November 10-12, 2017
Saint Joseph’s College, Standish, ME

 College Challenge: How might we create products, services, apps or organizations that supports the expansion of production, distribution, processing and consumption of local, sustainably produced food and seafood.

Consider products or services that address one or more of the following:
* Helping food producers become resilient in light of climate change.
* Applying big data to small-scale production.
* Utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) to bring efficiency to small producers and harvesters.
* Providing equal access and ability to purchase healthy food to all.
* Reducing or repurposing food waste.
* Making the food supply chain transparent to all.
* Reducing or conserving inputs – like water – in the production of healthy, sustainably produced food.
* Using drones to improve the efficiency of small, diversified farms.
* Integrating aquaponics, hydroponics or land based aquaculture into the food system.
The food system is vast and complex system and this is by no means a complete list. We are looking for innovative and sustainable idea stage enterprise that could become startup ventures.

Important Dates for College Teams
* Monday, May 1st: College Team Registration Opens. Team contact is required for your submission. You may submit additional team member names at any time. Register here.
* Monday, October 2 at midnight (or when the 8 team limit has been reached): College Team Registration Closes
* Friday-Sunday, November 10 – 12: College Challenge Weekend at Saint Joseph’s College

Eligibility – College Team
All entries must:

  • Be a new (pre-launch idea stage) initiative.
  • Present an innovative solution to the many challenges facing the New England Regional Food System.
  • Demonstrate a sustainable idea stage business model – profit or non – profit (both financial and ecological) offering a fair return to the farmer or fisherman with fair pay to the employees at a fair price to the buyer, while minimizing their carbon footprint.
  • College teams must have a minimum of 2 members and maximum of 5 members and members enrolled in a degree program.
  • Teams must be in attendance at the Challenge Weekend November 10-12 at Saint Joseph’s College.
  • Participants must register by October 2, 2017. We strongly suggest teams register ASAP as the registration will be cut off as soon as 8 qualified teams are selected.

Challenge Weekend Agenda and Logistics
The Challenge will run from Friday, November 10, 2017 at 4:00PM to Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 4PM. Meals will be provided to teams on Friday through Sunday.  Several resource people will be available on Saturday to advise teams and there will be two short workshops on the Business Model Canvas and Creating a Pitch. Teams will have access to wireless Internet and a printer. Teams should bring their own laptops. Dress is casual.

  • Housing
    The Host Committee has arranged for a limited amount of overnight accommodations at no cost for teams traveling a long distance. Contact us at if your team will require overnight accommodations.
  • Meals
    Meals will be provided Friday evening through lunch on Sunday.
  • Technical Advisors, Resource People & Mentors
    The Challenge will have several advisors available to teams during the day on Saturday. Advisors are professionals working in the field of food & agriculture, legal, finance, sustainability, food retailing and business systems. They will be available to meet with teams, advise, react and comment on team proposals.

Judging Criteria – College Track
Judges will use several criteria in evaluating submissions. The criteria have been carefully designed to be consistent with the nature of this Challenge: that is one that seeks initial concepts or proposals, not fully developed business plans. The five criteria are:

  • Clarity of the Value Proposition – 20%
  • Originality, Uniqueness or Appropriateness of the Proposed Innovation – 20%
  • Impact Potential – Local or Regional (replicable or scalable) – 20%
  • Sustainability – Financially & Ecologically -20%
  • Quality of Final Presentation – The Pitch – 20%

Cash Awards – College Track
Judges will select 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.
First Place Award – TBA
Second Place Award – TBA
Third Place Award – TBA

Judges – College Track
There will be five Judges. Teams will make their Pitches to the Judges on Sunday afternoon with winners announced at 3:30. Judges to date:

Mike Sobol, Lead Judge
Co-founder, Venture Hall, Portland, ME

Terms & Conditions – College Track
In order to enter and compete in the Maine Food System Innovation Challenge, participants must agree to the following:

    • College Teams pay a registration fee of $150/per team.
    • Participate in the Challenge Weekend at Saint Joseph’s College, November 10 -12.
    • Agree to allow all submission materials to appear on the Challenge website.
    • Certify that you own, or have the owner’s permission to use/present; all intellectual property utilized in your entry materials, including any technology.
    • Agree to allow participant names, description of your entry, photos of your team and video footage of your presentation from the Challenge Weekend to be used on the Challenge website and in future publicity, including social media.

Follow us on Facebook at for regular basis for updates and news about the Challenge.

Off Campus Volunteer Opportunity: The Maine Conservation Corps

The Maine Conservation Corps is looking for Volunteers!

MCC welcomes volunteers to join our AmeriCorps National Service Members and Teams on projects throughout the state. Individuals and groups are invited to help with projects like trail construction & maintenance, watershed surveys, invasive species removal, and many other conservation efforts.

No prior trail work experience or minimum time commitment is required. Safety equipment is required and any necessary safety equipment and training is provided by MCC. Volunteers receive discounts on name-brand outdoor gear, among other benefits. Everyone is welcome!

Current volunteer opportunities are posted on our webpage!

For more information email or call (207) 624-6092.

Off Campus Event: Seed Clam Relocation Project (Sunday 9/24 in Brunswick)

The Brunswick Marine Resources Committee is undertaking a seed clam relocation project.  It’s going to be held on Sunday, September 24 with folks showing up as early as 8 AM but I think a later start time would be fine.  If we have enough people, we will also be trying to assess population size and potentially remove some of the green crabs from the rocky outcropping where they tend to congregate as the weather gets colder.  The location will be at Thomas Point Beach over by Cook’s Corner.

All volunteers are welcome.  This is an opportunity to get hands-on experience in shellfish fishery management.  Feel free to give my name out as a contact and I’ll facilitate transportation if there is enough interest.


Marko Melendy
IBC Administrator
IACUC Administrator
Bowdoin College Science Center
Office 207-725-3517
Cell 207-712-6176

Off Campus Event: Maine Hunger (in October)

Maine Hunger Dialogues
Be part of  Bowdoin Team!

Jamie Ptacek. ’17 writes:

Hey all of you ES people,
I apologize in advance for the length of this email. . .but will be BEYOND thrilled if you make it through the whole thing.

I am writing you because through my ES fellowship this summer I came in contact with a lovely man by the name of Frank Wertheim, who is an Associate Extension Professor of Agriculture/Horticulture with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the statewide coordinator of the Maine Harvest for Hunger Program (a pretty big deal). He is also the chair of the Maine Hunger Dialogues, an event that engages Maine college students and campus communities in the fight against hunger by providing a platform that: 1) raises awareness of the issue, and 2) provides opportunities for students to actively work to address hunger on their campuses and communities in collaborative partnerships with their institutions. Students, staff and faculty from Maine universities and colleges come together and learn about food insecurity issues and student skill building around themes such as project development, outreach and communications and project sustainability. Prepared with these new skills, campus teams have a chance to apply for a $500 mini-grant as seed money to start up a hunger prevention initiative on their campus or in their community. 

Whoa, I know what you’re thinking, and, yes, this is very cool stuff.

Anyways, when I was interviewing Frank he spent a lot of time trying to convince me to get a group of Bowdoin students together to attend the 2017 Hunger Dialogue, where the focus will be on Food Waste Recovery. The Dialogue will be held at UMaine Presque Isle from October 20-21.  To my knowledge, no one from Bowdoin has ever participated in this event, a trend that seems long overdue to be broken.

I know that many of you may have an interest in issues surrounding hunger and food insecurity, so I am sending out an email to gauge initial interest in attending the Hunger Dialogues this year.

The registration fee is $25 a person, which includes hotel accommodations, food, and conference activities. However, I have spoken with Sarah Seames at the McKeen Center and they have agreed to cover the costs of attendance for Bowdoin students if we can get a group of people together.

So, if you think that you may have an interest/be able to attend the 2017 Maine Hunger Dialogues this year, fill out this Google form by the end of the week (this is not a firm commitment, I just want to gauge interest). I am meeting with Sarah next week to discuss the details of attending the Dialogues and I want to have a good idea of how many Bowdoin people may be interested in attending before that meeting.

I really think this could be an amazing opportunity to engage with each other and other college students from across Maine in thinking about an issue that affects far too many Maine residents. . . .and Aroostook County is a pretty wild place to visit.

Please let me know if you have any questions! And if you know of anyone who may want to come, please forward this along to them.

Here is the link to the Google Form again:

Ok, congratulations, you made it through.


Fellowship Opportunity: Obama Foundation Fellowship

Obama Foundation Fellowship Opportunity

The Obama Foundation Fellowship program seeks to support outstanding civic innovators from around the world in order to amplify the impact of their work and to inspire a wave of civic innovation.

The Obama Foundation Fellows will be a diverse set of community-minded rising stars – organizers, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, and more – who are altering the civic engagement landscape. By engaging their fellow citizens to work together in new and meaningful ways, Obama Foundation Fellows will model how any individual can become an active citizen in their community.

The inaugural class of 20 Fellows will be integral to shaping the program and the community of Fellows for future years. For this first class, we’re seeking participants who are especially excited about helping us design, test, and refine the Fellowship.

Our two-year, non-residential Fellowship will offer hands-on training, resources, and leadership development. Fellows will also participate in four multi-day gatherings where they will collaborate with each other, connect with potential partners, and collectively push their work forward. Throughout the program, each Fellow will pursue a personalized plan to leverage Fellowship resources to take their work to the next level.
The minimum age to apply is 18 years

Volunteer Opportunity: Facilitate STEM activities in local schools

Support your local community: facilitate STEM activities in local schools!

Every year, 4-H recruits, trains and places undergraduate and graduate students in local schools, libraries and afterschool programs to facilitate experiential STEM activities with youth (grades 3 – 8).  We provide all the training, support, and materials for these students to be successful, and our host sites provide supervision to take care of any behavior issues.  In short, we set students up for a successful, enjoyable time helping local youth learn science while having fun!

We generally have three times as many requests as we do students to fill them.  I’d appreciate it if you’d announce this opportunity to students in your classes, or allow me to come for 5 – 10 minutes early this semester to do so.

Trainings for fall will be held the second and third weeks of September.  Several training times and locations will be available at both UMaine and UMaine Augusta.

Interested? Email Laura Wilson  at for more information.  The 4-H STEM Ambassador program is part of the UMaine Engaged Black Bear Initiative, and digital badges are awarded to all who complete the semester requirements.  More information is available at

Thank you for supporting this program and our efforts to reach youth with experiential science, technology, engineering and math activities!

Best, Laura

Laura Wilson
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
4-H Science Professional
4-H STEM Ambassadors Program
103A Libby Hall, Orono, ME
(207) 581-2971; mobile: (207) 949-2167