A Few of our Favorite Things: Businesses Doing Better
In our next installment of Our Favorite Things with the Island Institute, we are featuring six for-profit businesses with a mission or purpose-driven focus. From a wild Maine blueberry company that supports their community to nostalgic Maine treasures that give back with each purchase, we're big fans of these companies' products and their overall mission.
We love Wyman's for their wild Maine blueberries, and their mission to help the world eat more fruit — flavorful, nutritious berries that we love in everything from pie, to cocktails, or just simply on their own. But more than that, they're consistently doing good in their community by partnering with organizations who share their vision for healthier communities today and for future generations. They support a number of initiatives geared towards ensuring the viability of our regions, including: Maine Seacoast Mission, Gateway Milbridge Theater project, Women’s Health Resource Library (including 3,000 lbs of free produce to the Milbridge Community as part of the Incredible Edible Gardens) and the Emergency Department expansion for Downeast Community Hospital. Wyman’s has been the employer of many multi-generational families throughout their 140-plus-year history, and continue to support future generations in DownEast Maine — both as employees and community members – by providing annual scholarships to high school seniors. Find your nearest Wyman's Famous Wild Blueberries
Box of Maine
Box of Maine is a small family-owned business founded in 2015, who packs "the essence of Maine" in gift boxes to Mainers who have moved out of state and Maine lovers everywhere. Their boxes are full of nostalgic treasures like Whoopie Pies, Red Hot Dogs, Humpty Dumpty BBQ chips, Moxie, and more Maine favorites. If that wasn't enough, we love Box of Maine for their commitment to giving back. Each month they have a designated nonprofit which they donate $1 of proceeds of each of their 5-item, 7-item, and 10-item gift boxes to. We love a small family-owned business and one that reaches back out to and supports their community.
The Boat Yard
PC: Island Institute
Located in Yarmouth, Maine, The Boat Yard offers a variety of products and services for fishermen, aquaculturists, and those working on the water, including boat storage, boat repair, and electric boat motors for purchase, retail, and demonstration. With a goal of becoming carbon neutral in the next 10 years, the company recently used an Island Institute Spark! Grant to purchase electric outboards and charging units for two working skiffs that they will use as prototypes for local shellfish and seaweed growers to test out. By allowing aquaculturists to use the skiffs while tending farms and for short runs back and forth to boatyards, the company hopes that growers will see the benefits and reliability of these systems and invest in them for their own operations. By investing in and promoting energy efficient equipment and operations on the working waterfront, The Boat Yard’s ongoing efforts will help reduce carbon emissions and water pollution, support aquaculturists in exploring new technology, and create a more resilient coast.
Atlantic Sea Farms
PC: Island Institute/Nicole Wolf
In 2009, the founders of Atlantic Sea Farms created the first commercially viable seaweed farm in the United States with the goal of diversifying how Maine’s coastal waters are used. Today, under new leadership, the company works with fishermen up and down the Maine coast to grow kelp—a delicious and mineral-rich sea vegetable--and represents the vast majority of cultivated seaweed in the U.S. By cultivating this regenerative crop here in Maine, Atlantic Sea Farms and their partner farmers are creating positive change by finding new ways for lobstermen to work on the water while improving the health of our oceans. Through the harvesting and processing of Maine kelp, the company is helping to diversify coastal incomes, reduce ocean acidification, and grow a sustainable food source that positively impacts the economic and environmental health of our coastal communities. Atlantic Sea Farms sells a variety of tasty products, in restaurants and retailers nationwide, including Kelp Cubes (which are excellent in smoothies), Sea-Chi, fermented seaweed salad, and more. Learn more about Atlantic Sea Farms.
Launched in 2015 by Ben Waxman and Whitney Reynolds Waxman, American Roots is a 100% American-made and Union-made textile and apparel company that specializes in direct retail and business-to-business sales. Its story started with a vision of creating quality apparel and products in the U.S., including every step from fiber harvesting to dyeing to the last stitch sewn at its factory in Maine. In order to assemble and grow a workforce to support locally based manufacturing, American Roots partnered with Old Port Wool & Textile to develop a training program for stitchers. This program, now known as Common Threads of Maine, has grown into the leading program for Maine manufacturing companies to source their workforces. Even with its continued growth, this family-run textile business remains grounded in community and is committed to providing livable wages and benefits for its employees. Their mission is to create jobs that are meaningful, fair, and good-paying and rebuild American manufacturing in a more just and sustainable way. Learn more about American Roots and their products.
Passamaquoddy Maple is a 100% tribally owned business that sustainably harvests and sells organic, pure maple syrup from the deep woods of Maine. Harvesting maple syrup reaches back to the tribe’s early ancestral roots. While their methods have evolved, the desire for the Passamaquoddy people to be with nature has not. Since their operation began in 2014, the Passamaquoddy Tribe has tapped over 10,000 trees, produced over a thousand gallons of maple syrup, and created seasonal and full-time jobs for the Passamaquoddy people. The mission of Passamaquoddy Maple is to produce a high-end, small batch product that not only sustains tribal land but creates ongoing job opportunities for the Passamaquoddy people. Find their syrup and other maple treats.