Amber Lambke

Founder of Maine Grains, executive director and co-founder of the Maine Grain Alliance and Kneading Conference

Amber Lambke helped start the Kneading Conference in 2007 to bring farmers, millers, bread bakers, and researchers together to reinvigorate Maine’s grain economy. The conference now attracts hundreds of people every year interested in local grain production, milling, and bread making. After seeing a need for processing infrastructure in central Maine, Lambke and her business partner, Michael Scholz, founded Maine Grains. To house the production facility, they purchased and renovated a former jailhouse in downtown Skowhegan, converting it into the Somerset Grist Mill. Maine Grains processes around 650 tons of grain a year, sourcing it from 24 farmers in central and northern Maine and selling to customers from Maine to New York City. Maine Grains, which has ten employees, will be buying $300,000 worth of equipment over the next year, including oat processing equipment to scale up oat production and additional millstones to diversify the types of grains that can be processed. “I believe that rural areas like Skowhegan need to create their jobs of the future,” Lambke says. “One of our greatest assets in rural central Maine is our land and natural resources. If we use them responsibly to create economic opportunities, we stand to create new jobs, feed people, and steward the beautiful farmland and recreational destinations we have here.”

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