Annual Summits

2019 Summit

Smart Growth Builds Wellness

Sparking a new dialogue to align planning and development with personal, community & global health

Host cities: Biddeford and Saco

sessions held in the
Pepperell Mill, Biddeford, ME
Thursday, October 24, 2019

Renewed understanding and research on the importance of physical, mental and social well-being are emphasizing the connection between personal, community and planet health and land use planning.  Join us to hear from and engage with national and local leaders …

Zoe Reich Margarites – VP, Market Solutions, International Well
Building Institute

Christopher Coes – VP, Land Use and Development, Smart Growth America

 … on bridging these connections for Maine people and communities. By collaborating we can start to address how environments are structured at a personal, community and world wide scale to make the places we live healthy, prosperous, inclusive and resilient.  We will also be presenting GrowSmart Maine’s 2019 Smart Growth Awards.

Link to Register


8:00a  Registration & Networking Breakfast

8:30a  GrowSmart Maine Welcome & Annual Meeting
Current GrowSmart Maine members vote on board nominees.

9:00a  Featured Presentations: Smart Growth Builds Wellness

11:00a Break Out Sessions

  1. Equity, Access, and Connectivity: Common Threads in Transportation and Broadband Infrastructure
  2. Municipal Housing Took Kit: Housing for Healthy Communities
  3. What Role can Health Systems Play in Fostering a Built Environment that Supports Health in the Era of Climate Change
  4. Food Insecurity and Sustainable Food Waste Systems

12:00p Unlunch at Saco and Biddeford Restaurants

1:00p  Biddeford/Saco Experience Sessions

  1. Riverwalk- Building a Healthy Downtown
  2. Discover Biddeford’s Food Eco-System
  3. Solar Energy of Pepperell Mill and Maine
  4. Growing Community Through the Arts: Greater Health through Social Cohesion- Cultural Tour of Biddeford
  5. What’s the Scoop with Saco?- Main Street, Downtown Projects, and What Ice Cream Has to Do With it
  6. Cutts Ave Housing Project Tour and Saco’s Rezoning Initiative

3:00p  Journalism, Truth and Healthy Communities
Healthy people, healthy businesses, healthy governments — healthy communities — are all best informed and engaged by independent community journalists who examine school budgets, expose scandals, question practices and politics, scrutinize environmental practices, who champion good and who dare to challenge fear and falsehoods.

The work we do in our newsrooms enhances community life, it exposes mental and social health care problems and brings solutions forward, it relentlessly exposes overspending in our governments, and highlights the great people who live and work all around us.  Communities are healthier, more engaged, more resilient and better able to thrive when informed by truth.

3:20p   Maine Smart Growth Awards Celebration
Witness the announcement of the five award winners, including projects and people demonstrating statewide significance in smart growth. Presented by Ethan Boxer-Macomber, Anew Development and GrowSmart Maine Board Chair

3:50p  Speak from Your Seat 
Impressions of the day and next steps

4-5:00p  Reception

Refreshments provided

Details about the day:

Pepperell Mill is located at 40 Main Street, Biddeford, ME.

Parking is available at the long-term Amtrak Lot, 138 Main St & Saco Island on Main Street, Saco and if that if full at the Chinburg Lot, Mill Building #4, 120 Main St, Saco. Link for walking directions from Amtrak and Chinburg.   It will be about a 10 minute walk. If you are traveling from afar, consider connecting with those near you and ride sharing.

A light breakfast will be served during the Summit from 8a – 8:45a.

We have arranged for an “Un-Lunch” in which you will be given the name of one of numerous restaurants in Saco and Biddeford, where you’ll be joined by other Summit attendees as shared tables.  This is a terrific chance to network with folks you may not know, but who are drawn to the event with similar interests. The cost will be $10 plus your beverage and gratuity.  At registration you will be assigned a restaurant and will pay at the restaurant.

At the end of the day, join presenters, attendees and award winners for the Reception from 4-5p. Food and a complimentary drink for each attendee over the legal drinking age will be provided. Additional drinks are available at the cash bar.

GrowSmart Maine Policies and Accessibility Information:

  • Appropriate Conduct at GrowSmart Maine Summit: To provide all participants — speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, staff, and volunteers—the opportunity to benefit from the conference, GSM is committed to providing a harassment-free environment for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, physical appearance, ethnicity, religion, or other group identity.
  • Accessibility Information: The GrowSmart Maine Summit will be held on the second floor of the Pepperell Mill in Biddeford. There is an elevator to reach the event space (second floor) and an ADA restroom on the second floor. There are limited handicapped parking spaces directly out front of the building.
  • Accessible Presentations: GrowSmart Maine encourages all speakers to make their presentations accessible to the best of their abilities for all attendees including using large font and fewer words per slide, high contrast colors and limited jargon and acronyms.
  • Anti-Harassment Policy: GrowSmart Maine is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate for any conference venue, including sessions and networking events. Conference participants violating these rules may be expelled from the conference (without a refund) at the discretion of the conference organizers.
  • Children at the Conference: Children under the age of 18 are permitted and encouraged, however, they must have completed registration and wear registration badge. The Pepperell Mill venue is not outfitted to be childproof, however, so parents are required to keep their children in close proximity. While GrowSmart Maine does not provide child care services, here’s a list of child care a few providers in the area: St. Louis Child Development Center, Pool Street, Biddeford; Miles of Smiles Childcare Center, Elm Street, Biddeford; and Carousel World Childcare Center, Pool Street.
  • Food Allergies & Dietary Restrictions: GrowSmart Maine is working with local partners to host the Summit lunch at various locations around downtown Biddeford. Please alert event organizers if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies that should be communicated to your restaurant host.
  • All Gender Bathrooms: At the event venue, Pepperell Mill Campus, there are both gender specific bathrooms and gender neutral bathrooms available within easy walking distance of the event space.
  • Prayer Room & Nursing Mothers Space: If you need access to a space to pray during the Summit or a space to nurse, please notify event staff by Wednesday October 16th and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Lastly, but not least, we will start our conference with recognizing the territory of the indigenous community lead by local partners.


The Nature Conservancy in Maine
Bangor Savings Bank
Anew Development
Bingham Program
Fathom Companies
J.B. Browns and Sons
SMRT Architects
Maine Housing
Camden National Bank
Maine Magazine
Sewall Foundation

Food for Thought Tours
Morris Communication
Insource Renewables
The Dowtown Center (a program of Maine Development Foundation)
Nothern Insurance/World Insurance Associates, Inc.

Maine Farmland Trust
rbouvier Consulting
3Degrees/Maine Green Power
Metta Yoga Studio
Pepperell Mill
City of Biddeford
City of Saco

GrowSmart Maine holds an Annual Summit each fall in a featured Maine community

Summit Collage

Summits & Annual Meetings

2018 Summit ‘The Power of Localism: Tapping into a Maine Tradition’, Bangor

2017 Summit ‘First, Build a Bridge’, Westbrook

2016 Summit ‘Leaning Into Change: Maine-Grown Solutions’, Waterville

2015 Summit ‘Community Solutions to a Changing Climate’, Biddeford

2014 Summit ‘The Dollars and $ense of Smart Growth’, Augusta

2013 Annual Meeting ‘Ten Years of Smart Growth & GrowSmart Maine’

2012 Summit ‘Economy, Environment, Community’, Augusta

2011 Annual Meeting ‘Check in on Sprawl’ – Evan Richert