Food Systems Innovation

The Institute for
Local Food Systems Innovation 

The Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation (ILFSI) is changing the way learners engage with the food industry by building an education system around social entrepreneurship, workforce development, year-round local food and beverage production, and the tradition of radical hospitality. 

Through a closely connected network of enterprises built around the shared goals of producing local food and educating future industry leaders, ILFSI strives to create a holistic system that pushes forward innovation across the food industry, positively impacting the state of Maine and providing replicable and scalable enterprise models. 

“As a young farmer, you are in the right place at the absolute right time. The products you can grow will change our systems, and the very act of farming and providing food to consumers will be the basis of how we push new policies.”

US Representative Chellie Pingree, Letter to a Young Farmer

ILFSI Enterprise Network 

The Stone Barn 

The Stone Barn at Sebago Lake is a food, agriculture, community, and event hub for agritourism events in Cumberland County. Situated on an 18-acre farm nestled in the center of a 474-acre wooded campus on the shore of Sebago Lake, the Stone Barn site features our historic and newly renovated barn, lakefront, and pastures. As our primary outward-facing establishment, the Stone Barn pushes forward the interactive and educational offerings of the Sebago Center by welcoming community members in a variety of ways. Combining educational opportunities with sustainable, radical hospitality allows us to host concerts, seated dinners, cookouts, workshops, private events, weddings, and more. All facilities are accessible through our Sebago Center activities and are available for private rentals and community events.

Hydroponic Farm 

Our 16,800-square-foot Hydroponic Farm launching in 2020, will have the production capacity to replace 420,000 heads of lettuce and 40,000 pounds of tomatoes worth of non-regionally grown produce a year. The farm mission is a direct response to the “50 by 60” goals set forth by the New England Food Vision report, which calls for greater access to produce grown in New England and increased workforce development around the growing controlled-climate farming industry. As a state-of-the-art growing facility, the hydroponic farm will serve as both a high-production farm as well as a learning lab. Customers include our own food services, the food distributors to which we will be selling product, learners of all ages looking to develop skills to transition to a new industry or support their current professional skills, and corporate hiring partners with whom we will create a pipeline of trained hy­­­droponic farmer graduates.

The Freight Farm 

The Freight Farm is a student-managed hydroponic production operated out of a shipping container outfitted by Freight Farms. This “Leafy Green Machine” is staffed by part-time student employees and produces an average of 2,800 pounds of lettuce a year. One hundred percent of the product grown in the freight farm is served directly to our campus community through our dining services, direct sales, and at events.

The Hannaford Food Venture Center

The production of scalable, shelf-stable products is crucial to the financial development of food systems in regions with short growing seasons. The Hannaford Food Venture Center opening in 2021, will be a 3,400-square-foot processing facility built out with food-safe storage as well as large-scale processing and packaging equipment. Serving as a production kitchen for farms and entrepreneurs looking to create value-added products, the Food Venture Center will create jobs, sellable products, and scalable, impact-driven businesses. 

Dining Services 

Dining Services at Saint Joseph’s College includes Pearson’s Cafe, a traditional dining hall; Baggot Street, cafe-style dining; and Brewed Awakenings, a student-run snack shack in the primary academic building. Together, these locations serve 9,000 meals a week and allow maximum direct impact on our food system by serving foods made and grown on campus and locally.


Interested in partnering with us?       


To learn more about the Institute for Local Food System Innovation or to schedule a visit to our campus, please contact:

Maya Atlas, Enterprise Start Up Specialist and Operations Manager
P: 207.893.6624