Our Story
A Worker-Owned Cooperative

Local Sprouts is a worker-owned cooperative that provides local and organic food and holistic learning through cooking food for our community. We strive to be leaders in a more just and sustainable food and service economy with the intention of creating a non-exploitative workplace by hosting an anti-oppressive, accessible space for our community and our workers.

Local Sprouts Cooperative | Worker-Owned | Portland ME

Our Values

Local Sprouts aspires to transparency, accessibility mutual support, community engagement, and the promotion of anti-oppressive public social and work spaces. We rely heavily on the traditional cooperative principles of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and care in our work and we look to the values of the cooperative movement to ground our policies and decisions.

What Does It Mean To Be A Worker-Owned Cooperative?

Local Sprouts is a worker-owned cooperative. This means that every worker, in any position, has the ability to invest in the business, participate in its operation, and receive a share of its profits. There is no one worker-owner with more power than any other. Every worker receives one vote in every consensus-based decision. In this way, we’ve eliminated a top-down hierarchy, where one or a few business owners control and reap all the rewards of their employees’ work. Instead, all of the workers who make Local Sprouts possible are compensated equally and fairly.

As A Local, Worker-Owned Cooperative Restaurant, We Are Directly Addressing The Injustice Of The Industrialized Food System Right Here In Portland, Maine.

It can be incredibly hard to make a living growing food on a small-scale, and incredibly hard to find healthy food you can feel good about on a modest budget. These are among the greatest cruelties of our industrialized food system.

Portland Maine Restaurant | Local Sprouts Cooperative

Equality & Profit-Sharing

Because every worker is collaborating on every aspect of the business, from day-to-day workplace decisions to major financial debates, it would only makes sense that they receive the fruits of their labor. Instead of a single owner profiting off the backs of many workers, many workers have the ability to profit off of our own labor. Every worker is entitled to an equal share of the profits of Local Sprouts no matter what work they do. From dishwashers to line cooks to administrative coordinators, everyone receives an equal distribution.

Local Sprouts Cooperative | Worker-Owned | Portland ME
Local Sprouts Cooperative | Worker-Owned | Portland ME

Consensus & Cooperation

In many restaurants, workers are given little say over their work environment. Everything from schedules, customer interactions, menu items, sourcing details, and more is dictated by a distant or autocratic owner. At Local Sprouts, we’ve carefully implemented a consensus-based, cooperative business structure that grants every worker an equal voice in the goings-on of their workplace. Even big decisions must receive unanimous approval from all worker-owners to move forward.

A Safe Space

Because we hold ourselves to this standard, we also expect our community to abide by the boundaries of our safer space policy, which is posted and available in the cafe´. Our safer space policy mimics the safer space policies of other cafe´s and venues around the world and clearly delineates what we consider to be unacceptable language and behavior. We’ve instituted these policies in a concerted stance to make our cafe´ and our workplace accessible to as many people as possible.

Local Sprouts Cooperative | Worker-Owned | Portland ME
Local Sprouts Cooperative | Worker-Owned | Portland ME

Anti-Oppression & Mutual Care

Local Sprouts is grounded by a culture of anti-oppression and mutual care. We make every effort to be vigilant about oppressive behavior and oppressive work dynamics, taking particular care to resist the cultural environments that make kitchens and restaurants unsafe places for oppressed groups, like trans people, queer people, women, and more. Many workers point out that our workplace is exceptional in comparison to the more combative, violent, and openly oppressive kitchens they’ve worked in before.

Local Food & Fair Prices

The extra work necessary to build and maintain a local, seasonal menu is often solely in the realm of possibility for fine-dining establishments with high-priced menus, not everyday cafes and bakeries. We strive to support both our local growers and our customers with fair prices and a deeply held commitment to sourcing absolutely as many products as possible from Maine growers, producers and distributors, while maintaining a menu that is accessible — to our farmers, to our workers, and to our community.

Local Sprouts Cooperative | Worker-Owned | Portland ME

Portland Maine Restaurant | Local Sprouts Cooperative

Our Local Farmers & Suppliers

  • Laughing Stock Farm
    Freeport, ME
    greens & vegetables
  • Allagash Brewing Company
    Portland, ME
    beer
  • Stonecipher Farm
    Bowdoinham, ME
    vegetables
  • Peak Organic Brewing Co
    Portland, ME
    beer
  • A Wee Bit Farm
    Orland, ME
    beef & pork
  • Baxter Brewing Company
    Lewiston, ME
    beer
  • Rick Tibbets
    Scarborough, ME
    mushrooms
  • Urban Farm Fermentory
    Portland, ME
    hard cider
  • Pineland Farms
    New Gloucester, ME
    specialty cheeses
  • Ricker Hill Orchards
    Turner, ME
    cider & apples
  • Olivia’s Garden
    New Gloucester, ME
    basil
  • The Apple Farm
    Fairfield, ME
    fresh cider & apples
  • Winslow Farm
    Falmouth, ME
    produce
  • Lalibela Farm
    Bowdoinham, ME
    tempeh
  • Sunset Acres Farm
    Brooksville, ME
    goat cheese
  • Winter Hill Farm
    Freeport, ME
    specialty cheeses
  • Cabot Creamery
    Cabot, VT
    cheese & butter
  • South Paw Farm
    Freedom, ME
    vegetables & potatoes
  • Associated Buyers
    Barrington, NH
    specialty dry goods
  • Morse’s Sauerkraut
    Waldoboro, ME
    sauerkraut & pickles
  • Rosemont Bakery
    Portland, ME
    bread
  • Heiwa Soy Beanery
    Belfast, ME
    tofu & soymilk
  • Banded Horn Brewing
    Biddeford, ME
    beer
  • Maine Beer Company
    Freeport, ME
    beer
  • Bunker Brewing Co
    Portland, ME
    beer
  • Full Circle Farm
    East Vassalboro, ME
    fruit & produce
  • Narragansett Brewing
    Cranston, RI
    beer
  • The Milkhouse
    South China, ME
    dairy
  • Maine Root
    Portland, ME
    soda & lemonade
  • Backyard Farms
    Madison, ME
    tomatoes
  • Green Bee Beverages
    Brunswick, ME
    soda
  • Harbor Fish
    Portland, ME
    seafood
  • Bouchard Family Farms
    Fort Kent, ME
    ployes
  • The Beanery
    Exeter, ME
    beans
  • Sonnental Dairy Farm
    Smyrna, ME
    specialty cheeses
  • Sun Oriental Market
    Portland, ME
    specialty goods
  • Hahn’s End
    Phippsburg, ME
    specialty cheeses
  • Matt’s Wood Roasted Coffee
    Portland, ME
    coffee
  • Broadturn Farm
    Scarborough, ME
    vegetables
  • Equal Exchange
    West Bridgewater, MA
    chocolate & tea
  • Morgan’s Mills
    Union, ME
    flours & oats
  • Terra Cotta Pasta Company
    South Portland, ME
    pasta
  • Bowden’s Egg Farm
    Waldoboro, ME
    eggs
  • Raye’s Mustard
    Eastport, ME
    mustard
  • Dandelion Spring Farm / Straw Farm
    Newcastle, ME
    vegetables & eggs
  • Mother’s Mountain
    Falmouth, ME
    ketchup & hot sauce
  • Beast Feast Maine
    Bridgton, ME
    hot sauce
  • Aroostook Valley Honey
    Fort Fairfield, ME
    honey
  • Silvery Moon Creamery
    Westbrook, ME
    specialty cheeses
  • Swan’s Honey
    Albion, ME
    honey
  • Living Nutz
    Bowdoinham, ME
    nuts & raw snacks
  • Bam-Bam Bakery
    Portland, ME
    gluten-free bread & sweets
  • South Portland Wine Co
    South Portland, ME
    wine
  • Twenty 2 Vodka
    Brewer, ME
    spirits
  • Little Lad’s
    Corinth, ME
    popcorn
  • Allen’s Coffee Brandy
    Somerville, MA
    spirits
  • Kids Gone Raw
    Portland, ME
    raw snacks
  • Maine Distilleries
    Freeport, ME
    spirits
  • Fox Family Potato Chips
    Mapleton, ME
    potato chips
  • New England Distilling Co
    Portland, ME
    spirits
  • Micucci Grocery & Wholesale
    Portland, ME
    pasta & specialty goods
  • Crow Medicine
    Portland, ME
    tea & herbal goods
  • Ameera Bread
    Portland, ME
    specialty breads
  • Strawberry Hill Farms
    Skowhegan, ME
    maple syrup
  • Merrill Blueberry Farms
    Hancock, ME
    blueberries
  • Chai Wallahs of Maine
    Brooksville, ME
    chai tea
  • Blue Barrens Farm
    Columbia, ME
    blueberries
  • Native Maine
    Westbrook, ME
    specialty dry goods
  • Six River Farm
    Bowdoinham, ME
    vegetables
  • Farm Fresh Connection
    Portland, ME
    produce
  • Wealden Farm
    Freeport, ME
    produce
  • Crown of Maine Cooperative
    North Vassalboro, ME
    produce & dry goods
  • Union Bagel Company
    Portland, ME
    bagels
  • Portland Paper Goods
    Portland, ME
    paper goods
  • R. Belanger & Sons Farms
    Lewiston, ME
    produce & potatoes
  • Serendipity Acres
    North Yarmouth, ME
    chicken
  • Rising Tide Brewing Company
    Portland, ME
    beer
  • Jordan’s Farm
    Cape Elizabeth, ME
    vegetables
  • Fresh Start Farms / Cultivating Community
    Portland, ME
    vegetables
  • State of Maine Cheese Co
    Rockport, ME
    specialty cheeses
  • Nature’s Circle Farm
    Ludlow, ME
    vegetables
  • Checkerberry Farm
    Parkman, ME
    vegetables
  • Aurora Mills & Farm
    Linneus, ME
    flour & grains
  • Frontier Co-op
    Norway, IA
    spices
  • Maine Sea Salt Company
    Marshfield, ME
    salt
  • Levesque’s Organic Farm
    Leeds, ME
    vegetables
  • Flying Pond Farm
    Vienna, ME
    greens
  • Terranian Farm
    Troy, ME
    vegetables
  • Maine Grains
    Skowhegan, ME
    grains & oats
  • Three Rivers Farm
    Milo, ME
    beans
  • Oakhurst Dairy
    Portland, ME
    dairy
  • Sunset Farm
    Lyman, ME
    greens