Funding Opportunities to Support Farmers

Learn more about the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center’s current requests for application (RFAs) to support aquaculture innovations driven by Maine farmers! All Maine aquaculture farmers are eligible to apply for grant funding. 

Investing in our Aquaculture Community

The Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center (MAIC) supports new and existing aquaculture farms along the coast of Maine by providing opportunities for social, economic, and technological innovation in aquaculture spaces. One avenue for generating new ideas in Maine’s aquaculture industry that MAIC has found to be particularly valuable is providing funding for aquaculture farmers to do their own growth, learning, and outreach. With this in mind, MAIC has helped create funding opportunities for Maine aquaculture farmers to connect with other farmers around the world as well as members of their local communities to inspire aquaculture innovations of every variety.

Current requests for applications (RFAs) that MAIC supports include:

  1. **NEW**Farmer Community Engagement Grants
  2. Funding for Farmer to Farmer Exchanges

You can learn more about the application process for each of these funding opportunities below. Please reach out to MAIC at with additional questions.

1. **NEW** Farmer Community Engagement Grant

Call for Applications:

The Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, with support from the World Wildlife Fund, is excited to pilot a new Farmer Community Engagement Grant Program. The goal of this pilot program is to support growers in building social license for their farms by providing financial support for community engagement events.

Proposals will be evaluated based on anticipated return on investment with respect to impact of the proposed event on increasing community awareness and public education of aquaculture.

Funding Available:

Farmers will be reimbursed for up to $650 for direct costs associated with hosting a community event. The award will only cover direct costs associated with hosting the event. This can include costs of the venue, non-alcoholic refreshments, speakers (for educational events), or educational materials.

    • Applicants must be Maine aquaculture growers
    • Applicants must be willing to complete a debriefing survey after the event is held where they will be asked about event participation, content and outcomes

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis (monthly) until October 31, 2024. Community engagement events must be held before December 31, 2024.

2. Funding for Farmer to Farmer Exchange

Call for Applications:

The Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, with support from Maine Sea Grant, NOAA Sea Grant and the Northeast Aquaculture Conference & Exposition, is excited to support a farmer-to-farmer exchange program. The goal of this exchange program is to enable Maine’s aquaculturists to undertake technology and knowledge transfer by visiting farmers elsewhere in the U.S. or internationally. Participants will be expected to share what they learn with the greater Maine aquaculture community. For the purposes of this Call for Applications, we define “industry” to include both growers and companies that provide goods and services to industry.

Proposals will be evaluated based on anticipated return on investment with respect to impact of the new knowledge/technology on Maine’s aquaculture sector.

Funding Available:

We anticipate the majority of awards will not exceed $3,000 per person, and that only 1-2 people per business will travel. To be considered, groups greater than 2 people should provide detail on why each person provides unique value to the transfer of knowledge and/or technology to Maine. There is only a limited amount of funding available for international travel. We anticipate the majority of awards being made for farmer exchanges within the U.S.

    • Applicants must be members of the Maine aquaculture industry
    • Applicants must be willing to present the skills/innovations/knowledge that they acquire

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis (monthly). All travel must be completed within 12 months.  Applications will be reviewed monthly at the beginning of each month.

Curious about how people have used farmer funding opportunities in the past?

Learn more about the experiences a few of the 2023 participants in the Farmer to Farmer Exchange program below!

Building Wholesale Oyster Relationships with the Gulf Coast

Libby Davis from Lady Shuckers traveled to the Gulf Coast of the United States where she:

    • Met with follow raw-bar owners to generate culinary inspiration
    • Explored development of wholesale shipping from Maine to the Gulf Coast
    • Reviewed business models for raw-bars in different regions
    • Experienced southern seafood traditions and culture
Lessons from Down Under: Exploring Auatrailia’s Growing Aquaculture Scene

Alicia Gaiero from Nauti Sister’s Sea Farm and Jaqueline Clark from SoPo Seafood traveled down under to see how Australian oyster farms are using gear innovation. They learned about:

    • Adopting semi-automatic farming systems and grading technology
    • Scaling back on physical farm  footprint and labor requirements.
    • Quality checks for vertically-integrated multi-faceted aquaculture businesses
    • Crafting a cohesive marketing and brand strategy for multiple farms
From Maine to Washington State and Back Again: A Shellfish Tale

Kyle Pepperman from the Downeast Institute and Evan Young from Blue Hill Bay Mussels traveled to Washington State to explore bivalve shellfish growth strategies. Shellfish is big business in Washington with many small and large farms growing a diverse assortment of bivalves in the intertidal and subtidal. They learned how those farms have become vertically integrated and remained resilient in a changing environment and social landscape.

Gloved hand holding farmed oysters on a boat