Tours will leave the Holiday Inn at 12:00 pm and return around 5:00 p.m. so that everyone can attend the Welcome Reception at 5 p.m

Please note: Tickets for the Co-op Tours are completely SOLD OUT. We will have a physical waitlist sign up sheet at the registration table on Thursday. If seats are open at the time of loading the buses, we will include those on the waitlist on a first come-first serve basis.

On April 30 at 1p.m. CT, we will email those who have tour tickets to select their tour of choice.

Tour 1: Food for Thought: Portland Area Food Systems

Tour Hosts: Tootie’s Tempeh and Portland Food Co-op

Get ready to see what the Portland area has to offer. This tour will begin at Tootie’s Tempeh production facility to see how the fermented plant protein tempeh is made and learn about the co-op’s values and journey to becoming the most sustainably made tempeh in the U.S. The group will also hear about how a food producing worker-owned co-op works, then enjoy sampling some tasty tempeh treats.

After that, the group will journey to Fork Food Lab to meet with Ron Adams of the Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative, a co-op that helps to bring healthy and local foods to Maine people through schools and institutions. Learn about their history, current initiatives, and collaborations, as well as taste their latest food project, a marinara sauce made from gleaned vegetables from Maine farmers.

Finally, the tour will move to the brand new 20,000 square foot facility that includes shared kitchens, food production equipment, dry, cold, and frozen storage, shipping, and pop-up space for over 75 food businesses that produce foods for stores, food trucks, restaurants, and consumers from Maine, New England, and beyond. Hear the history of how this food hub came to be and how it is helping to support and transform the food systems in Maine. Overall, this tour promises to be both educational and delicious, highlighting the diverse initiatives and collaborations driving positive change in Portland’s food scene.

Tour 2: Rising Tide Co-op: Lifting Community for Over 45 Years

Tour Host: Rising Tide Co-op

Are you interested in exploring how the tides do raise all boats in Maine? Rising Tide Co-op invites you to learn more about the role we play in our community and how our partners work together to increase the vitality of the broader population through food access and the local food economy. Located in Damariscotta, Maine, we will kick off the tour at Rising Tide Co-op where you will see the store, the community kitchen space, as well as spend time under our Tasting Tent enjoying cooperatively- and Maine-sourced foods and beverages.

After Rising Tide, you will head to Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust (CRCT)/Twin Villages Foodbank Farm(TVFF) and the Community Food Storage Hub. While here, tour the Food Storage Hub and learn more about this inspiring resource and the partnerships that make it possible. The co-founders from TVFF and the executive director of CRCT will tell you about their vision and how they work together to make this program successful.

Finally head to Twin Villages Foodbank Farm. Also housed on CRCT property, this stop is at the growing fields for the Farm. Learn more about the space they call home and enjoy the beautiful views from this historic farmland hillside that has been protected and is being used to feed people in need.

This tour showcases the power of cooperation and collaboration in addressing food access and promoting local food economies in Maine. It’s a testament to how cooperatives like Rising Tide Co-op and its partners contribute to the vitality and resilience of communities across the state.

Tour 3: Norway Community Collaboration Tour: Exploring Sustainability and Social Impact

Tour Hosts: Fare Share Food Co-op & Cooperative Maine Business Alliance

Embark on a journey to Fare Share Cooperative in Norway, Maine, where community and sustainability intersect. Enjoy lunch provided by Alan Day Community Garden while discussing how cooperatives, non-profits, and Main Street businesses have impacted the area and work together to create a community that we all love to live in. You will hear from seven different community perspectives on the impact of Maine street businesses.

  • Spoke Folks is a worker-owned, bicycle-powered cooperative that provides trash, recycling and compost pickup.
  • Alan Day Community Garden is a non-profit providing opportunities to build relationships, learn and grow food together
  • Norway Equitable Housing Cooperative is a limited equity housing cooperative that will provide 12-18 units that are energy efficient and affordable.
  • Wheeler Insurance Company is an employee-owned cooperative that offers personal and commercial insurance.
  • Center for an Ecology-Based Economy is a non-profit dedicated to engaging the community in addressing the climate emergency.
  • Norway Downtown is a non-profit organization working with local people to build on the assets of a unique and treasured Main Street.
  • Fare Share Food Co-op – a consumer-owned natural food cooperative founded in 1976 on Main Street.

Finally, the group will tour Norway’s historic Opera House. The Norway Opera House was constructed in 1894 after a great fire swept through parts of town, leaving much of the downtown burned to the ground. It is now on the forefront of Norway’s Main Street revitalization efforts. While there, the group will discuss tipping points in the fabric of our community.