Abby Leethy NW Gourmet Girl crpdA $20,000 grant from the Northern Forest Center is helping entrepreneur Abby Freethy expand Northwoods Gourmet Girl from its origins as a producer of all-natural pantry staples into a full lifestyle brand. 

Freethy founded Northwoods Gourmet Girl in Greenville, Maine, in 2005 to produce healthy alternatives to common items such as ketchup, mustard, relish, jam, preserves and desert sauces. She’s ready to grow her business, for herself and for Greenville.

The matching grant from the Center will help Freethy launch a new line of branded, food-oriented home goods ranging from dinnerware, glassware, and pottery to kitchen islands, farm tables, chairs, benches, and bookshelves. All products are based on proprietary designs and most are produced by Maine-based woodworkers and craftspeople.

 “I want people to experience the food in the environment in which they would enjoy it, for instance by sitting at the farm table,” said Freethy. She’s making this possible by converting the first floor of her home into a destination where people can experience her food products in a home-like setting furnished with Northwood Gourmet Girl-branded home goods.

The Northern Forest Center recently awarded $14,000 in matching grants to enable nine businesses in downtown Greenville, Maine, to improve the facades of their buildings. The matching grants leveraged more than $35,000 of private investment in downtown Greenville—the heart of the Moosehead Lake region. 

Greenville facade grants program map

Automated Wood Heat brings great community and economic benefits to communities over time, but the upfront cost of purchasing a state-of-the-art pellet boiler is higher than a common propane or oil burner. That makes it tough for some people to make the switch, so we’re fortunate that all the Northern Forest states offer incentives for systems that meet standards for efficiency, automation, and performance. 

Incentives have been available for more than five year, and Vermont recently added a state sales tax exemption for pellet boilers. Here is a round-up of current incentives and links to detailed information about programs in each state: 


Thanks to consistent effort from Renewable Energy Vermont and several of its business members, Gov. Phil Scott recently signed into law a bill that exempts wood pellet boilers from state sales tax. That’s on top of several other cost-cutting options for Vermonters, including Efficiency Vermont and Clean Energy Development Fund incentives and additional rebates tied to certain locations, utility providers, or income levels. Check out the VT Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation’s website for information on all the incentives. Vermont incentive information.

Maura Borderlands MEMBA 2018 web

The MTB Collaborative introduced itself to the mountain biking world at NEMBAfest in June! This major mountain biking festival, held at Kingdom Trails in East Burke, VT, drew 4,300 people from 41 states (read more about it).

NEMBAfest was the perfect place for MTB Collaborative members to talk about their vision for The Borderlands: a 3-state, 2-country region full of great mountain bike trails and communities. Members of the group chatted with hundreds of people at The Borderlands tent all weekend. In the photo at above, Northern Forest Center Program Director Maura Adams wears a hot-off-the-press T-shirt featuring the brand-new Borderlands logo while she works the booth at NEMBAfest. 

Read more about the Center's work with the MTB Collaborative, and check back for updates in the coming months.