Love Maine Radio #330: Mitchell Lench and Jessie Dowling + Sam May

In the first half of the show, Dr. Lisa Belisle speaks with Mitchell Lench, founder of Treetops Capital, which invests in sustainable agriculture and aquaculture businesses in Maine. In the second half, she interviews Jessie Dowling, owner of Fuzzy Udder Creamery and president of the Maine Cheese Guild, and Sam May, advisory board chair at the Maine Harvest Credit Project.


Jessie Dowling, Fuzzy Udder Creamery + Sam May, Maine Harvest Credit Project

Jessie Dowling is a cheesemaker whose company, Fuzzy Udder Creamery, is based in Whitefield. She is also president of the Maine Cheese Guild and has a master’s degree in food policy.

Sam May is advisory board chair at Maine Harvest Credit Project, an organization aiming to open a credit union supporting small farms and food businesses. Sam grew up in midcoast Maine, where he co-founded Smith and May in West Rockport and helped his brother start Peter Ott’s, a restaurant in Camden. After earning an MBA in international business, he worked in Silicon Valley as an equity research analyst and managing director at Piper Jaffray Companies covering technology stocks worldwide. In 2005, he moved to Hong Kong and helped Chinese companies navigate US capital markets until his return to Maine in 2011. Sam currently serves on the board of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), where he sits on the executive, finance, and fundraising committees. He also serves on the steering committee of Slow Money Maine.

Mitchell Lench, Treetops Capital

Mitchell Lench founded Treetops Capital in 2008 to help small businesses succeed. He runs Treetops Capital’s fund management businesses in sustainable agriculture and aquaculture. Lench is also responsible for co-management of the Gawa Microfinance Fund, which invests in rural and agricultural-focused microfinance and financial institutions focused on small and medium enterprises across the developing world. Prior to founding Treetops Capital, he was managing director in the structured finance group at Bank of America’s investment bank in London. He then joined Credit Suisse in New York where he ran global syndicate and a multi-billion dollar trading book. He earned a master’s degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a BS from the State University of New York at Binghamton. More recently, he served as an advisor at the 2015 Fish 2.0 conference in San Francisco, where he helped select and pool viable, impact-oriented seafood businesses for investors to consider for investment. He moved to Maine in 2010 and lives in Cape Elizabeth with his wife, two children, and their dog, Skylar.