Local Sprouts Cooperative started in June of 2007, although our roots extend back to the start of the People’s Free Space in Portland in 2002. Organizers with the People’s Free Space started Local Sprouts to build a sustainable local food cooperative. We incorporated as worker-owned cooperative in July of 2008 and have grown into a dynamic member of the local foods movement in Portland and Maine.
Local Sprouts Cooperative is based at our Cafe at 649 Congress St. in Portland. We have a large commercial kitchen, offices and our community cafe. In 2010, Local Sprouts with the help of close to 200 volunteers renovated the Cafe, which was a former University of Southern Maine Cafeteria.
Local Sprouts Cooperative focuses on cooking local food and connecting people through sharing food, mutual support, and knowledge and developing local self-reliance. We have four branches: Local Sprouts Cafe, Catering, Bakery and Community Learning Programs.
Local Sprouts Cafe: Local Sprouts Cafe opened in June of 2010 and is a place for people to enjoy delicious local food, get a drink, work on projects, access free wi-fi, purchase local food products and enjoy community programs and
entertainment. In the past 3 years, Local Sprouts Cafe has become a home for local foods and community in Portland.
Catering: Our Catering provides delicious, creative, local and organic food for events, weddings, conferences,
meetings, dinners, parties, trainings, gatherings and more. Our Catering started in August 2007 and has continued to grow since that time serving over 100 non-profits, businesses, foundations, governments and individuals in the Portland area.
Bakery: Local Sprouts Bakery started in 2012 and offers traditional and vegan baked goods prepared according to the same Maine-grown, seasonal, made-from-scratch philosophy as our cafe menu. We are committed to using Maine-grown and Maine-produced ingredients, as well as fair-trade and organic whenever possible.
Community Learning: Local Sprouts connect people through providing local foods, organizing community meals, and creating learning opportunities. We work with schools and organizations to create local foods dinners, programs, and classes that teach cooking, entrepreneurship, geography, math, reading, and organizing in a holistic environment. We also support people in creating cooperatives and offer a variety of workshops on starting worker-owned cooperatives. Since 2008, we have taught local foods programs to over 500 people in the Portland area.
Arts and Music: Our Cafe provides a space for our community to share art and music. Many nights a week we have music and community events and we host monthly art shows featuring many local artists.
We are advocating for a strong local foods system and providing delicious cooked food to organizations and people throughout Maine. We are also one of Portland’s first worker-owned cooperatives- as workers we own the business together and make decisions democratically that benefit our workers and our community.