Sited through a collaborative process and extensive local engagement
February 3, 2016

Communities matter in offshore wind development

Like moths to a flame, the press was all over the start of construction on the Block Island Wind Farm last July.  After a decade-plus of starts and lawsuit-induced stops, America’s first offshore wind project was finally being built.  The stories covered the prerequisite details: size of the project, cost, technology being used, and of course the politics behind it.  Absent from most discussions, however, were voices from the project’s host community, Block Island.
Suzanne MacDonald
Chickens on Vinalhaven's Sparkplug Farm
January 29, 2016

Commercial Currents: Island farms find success through networks

The Island Institute’s Economic Development staff welcome you to this series of blog posts, a resource for island and coastal small businesses. To easily find future posts, go to the blog home page and select “economic development” from the drop down menu to filter blog posts by this topic, or go to
Stephenie MacLagan
Maddey with a resident at the Ivan Calderwood Homestead
January 28, 2016

From a 23-year-old: what is it like to live at Vinalhaven Eldercare?

Maddey Gates is the eldercare Island Fellow. She has lived and worked on eldercare initatives on Chebeague, North Haven, Swan's Island, and now Vinalhaven during her fellowship.    Close your eyes.  When I say “eldercare,” what comes to your mind?  What do you see, smell, and feel when I say “seniors,” “elders,” “nursing home,” or “residential care”? 
Maddey Gates
Susie Arnold explaining how instruments work at Paul Dobbins’ kelp farm off of Chebeague Island.
January 25, 2016

Can growing sugar kelp locally reduce ocean acidification in Maine’s waters?

The Island Institute is partnering with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and Ocean Approved, the country’s first company to grow kelp for food, on an exciting new project with potentially big implications. As it grows, the kelp on Ocean Approved’s rafts in Casco Bay may capture enough CO2 to reduce the acidity of surrounding water and make shellfish grow better. The instruments measuring ocean chemistry were put in and outside of the farm a couple of weeks ago, and the first reading of CO2 levels is very promising.
Susie Arnold, Ph. D.
Scott gets a shot in Kodiak
January 20, 2016

Climate of Change films: behind the scenes

2012 was a big moment in the Maine lobster industry, with an overabundance of lobster and a price crash in response. We started filming in 2013 and, at that point, we noticed that there was a lot more communication starting to happen between fishermen and scientists about changes they were seeing out on the water. The idea was to start capturing some of that, using the Climate of Change Workshop that the Island Institute hosted that summer as a jumping off point.
Maren Granstrom|Scott Sell
Potts Harbor Lobster gets 44% of their electricity from solar power
January 11, 2016

Commercial Currents: Addressing high energy costs

In order to save money, Maine’s island and remote coastal businesses seek energy efficiency. Potts Harbor Lobster of Harpswell gets 44% of their energy from solar panels.
Stephenie MacLagan|Harry Podolsky
Ben Algeo with over 2
December 22, 2015

What islands can teach the world about how to tackle climate change

Islands are often the first to feel negative effects of climate change. But we can also look to islands to find inspiration for lowering emissions on a community scale.
Brooks Winner
December 21, 2015

Fisherman and farmer, too? The aquaculture cohort weighs their options

Who wants to grow mussels, kelp, or oysters in Maine’s waters? Quite a few people, it turns out. On December 10th, 20 members of the Island Institute’s Aquaculture Business Development Program (or Cohort) met for the first time in Rockland to learn about growing kelp, oysters, or mussels. Over the next six months, the group will get support in starting small-scale aquaculture businesses. The goal? Add diversified income options and start reducing the coast’s reliance on lobster.
Maren Granstrom
Island Institute's Karen Burns and Heather Deese (center) visited Beaver Island in September
December 8, 2015

Islanders are Islanders: 5 Lessons from Great Lakes visitors

Beaver Island, Michigan is one of 26 year round island communities in the Great Lakes. It is 32 miles offshore and requires a 2 1/2 hour ferry ride or 15 minute flight in a small plane. This month, the Island Institute hosted an information exchange with five guests from Beaver Island and two guests from the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes. Prior to their visit, residents of Beaver Island identified five priority areas for their island communities’ sustainability.  During their visit, the Beaver Island delegation focused on learning what Maine islands are doing to address these very issues. The list was strikingly familiar to those of us working at the Island Institute: economic diversification (including broadband), K-12 education, marketing/tourism and emergency services.
Karen Burns
November 25, 2015

Support Weatherization on #GivingTuesday

Since the first Weatherization Week on Vinalhaven in 2012, we have held a Weatherization Week on 13 of 15 year-round Maine islands and reached more than 350 homes. This work saves Maine island homeowners $122,500 per year, reducing energy bills by about $350 per home every year. With your support we hope to raise funds to support two Weatherization Weeks and surpass 400 homes weatherized on Maine islands.
Jlynn Frazier