GrowSmart Maine expands with two new hires to spearhead farmland and broadband initiatives

GrowSmart Maine announces the addition of two new members to its team, Harald Bredesen and Hildie Lipson. 

Harald Bredesen (photo courtesy of Harald Bredesen)

Harald Bredesen’s role is Thought Leadership Program Director and he will support communities navigating change by convening to action, sharing thought leadership, and advocating in line with smart growth principles. His work will include leading community outreach to integrate smart growth principles in key growth sectors such as broadband and farmland protection. A priority will be Planning for Ag, an initiative in partnership with American Farmland Trust, to make information and tools available to municipalities and organizations to plan and implement long-term, sustainable solutions supporting farmland protection and farm viability. 

Bredesen earned his Master’s degree in organizational and social psychology at the London School of Economics and has 15-plus years of experience at the United Nations working with donors, national governments, and local partners to address development needs and build resilient communities. Since moving to Maine in 2018, Bredesen has established a diversified farm serving local markets and is the president of the nonprofit Neighbors Driving Neighbors. Bredesen lives in Mount Vernon with his family.

Bredesen says, “I have been amazed at the capacity of small towns in Maine for organizing and addressing challenges, big and small, in their own communities. GrowSmart Maine plays a key role in this—as a driving force for policies and local smart growth development solutions and as a convener of expertise and perspectives that can be brought to bear on specific challenges. I look forward to being part of GrowSmart Maine and greatly appreciate the opportunity to support and promote thriving communities across Maine.”

Hildie Lipson (photo courtesy of Hildie Lipson)

Hildie Lipson joins GrowSmart as the Kennebec Broadband Partnership Coordinator. Lipson will build on existing and establish new relationships to build and lead digital inclusion efforts while providing support for community and regional-scale broadband infrastructure solutions and investments as part of GrowSmart’s Regional & Tribal Broadband Partnership, an initiative of the Maine Connectivity Authority. This initiative supports community-driven broadband solutions that ensure universal connectivity by strengthening and growing the number of partners thinking about digital equity and inclusion and creating alignment and coordination between communities, regions, and the state. Lipson lives in Wayne and has spent her professional career leading nonprofits working to increase economic, racial, and environmental justice such as Maine Equal Justice, Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting (The Maine Monitor), and MaineShare.

Lipson says, “I’m thrilled to be part of Maine’s digital inclusion effort. I look forward to working with people in Kennebec County to help bring broadband infrastructure to towns in our region and to support broadband investments for all communities.”

Nancy Smith, Chief Executive Officer, is thrilled with the ability to expand GrowSmart’s team.

Smith says, “GrowSmart Maine has been supporting communities for twenty years. With the addition of Hildie and Harald, we will provide deeper community-level resources as Mainers navigate change in their hometowns.”