On June 23, 2015 Antioch University New England MBA in Sustainability alumnus, David “Sieg” Siegfried, presented on a panel at the Maine Startup and Create Week conference titled “New Grocery Models.” Sieg shared that there was a great audience and discussion focused mainly on the local food economy and how new retail models are changing to engage and connect more parts of the food system.
The entrepreneur audience was about 80% producers and 20% retailers who mainly wanted to understand better how to market their products and interact with wholesalers and retailers. The prevailing themes of the discussion seemed to reflect the panelists’ personal and professional perspectives: consumers want to be more engaged with their food and food systems, so making the stories of the business and products meaningful to consumers will support that desire. What better way to do that than through local food, local producers, and local impact.
Sieg works as a program evaluator for the Institute for Broadening Participation Pathways to Science, and continues to pursue his passion for community-based change initiatives. He has been involved in food co-ops since the ’90s, becoming store manager at the Boston Food Co-op (now Harvest Cooperative Supermarkets). He participated in the grass-roots effort to open a food co-op in Portland, Maine, which opened last year. He has served as Portland Food Co-op president, and continues to support strategic planning and development efforts. In 2011, Sieg and MBA in Sustainability alumna Sasha Purpura co-founded and launched a local food distribution business called Dig It Local, that helped extend farmers markets for Massachusetts producers and introduced new consumers to locally grown produce and value-added products.