2021 Summit

Turning Climate Action into Economic Opportunity:

Smart Growth Guidance for Maine Communities

November 4, 2021

Anchor City: Biddeford

Hosted in Partnership with: 

Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments
  Community Concepts Finance Corp
Covert Co-working Space
Eastern Maine Development Corporation 
Envision Rumford and Hope Association
Heart of Biddeford
Northern Maine Development Commission
Saddleback Mountain
Snow Pond Center for the Arts
Sunrise County Economic Council


Climate Change; Economic Pandemic Disruption; Federal Stimulus Dollars –  Conflicts and opportunities abound right now for Maine’s diverse regions, iconic industries, and economies. In this environment, how will Maine ensure lasting positive impact from recent federal initiatives while activating our new Climate Action Plan and 10-year economic plan

Smart growth strategies can help turn risks to opportunity. At GrowSmart’s 2021 Summit you will hear success stories and learn the essential steps your community can take to stay ahead.

Keynote Speakers

 “Rural America is key to the success of U.S. climate policy. Rural communities are already facing increasingly severe impacts from climate change. At the same time, these communities are also a critical part of any solution, be it through investments in renewable energy, more efficient use of energy, or agricultural practices that sequester carbon. These investments can create jobs and boost economic growth while ensuring that benefits in transitioning to a net-zero economy support rural as well as urban and suburban communities.”

– Dr. Devashree Saha

Dr. Devashree SahaSenior Associate, World Resources Institute

 Devashree Saha is a Senior Associate at WRI United States. In this role, she supports state, city, and federal policymakers as they work to develop and implement policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support clean energy. This includes analysis of the economics of climate action, and work to develop policies to enable an equitable transition to a low-carbon economy and ensure fairness for workers and communities adversely impacted by phase down of fossil fuels.
 Prior to joining WRI, Devashree led the Council of State Government’s (CSG) energy and environmental policy work where she was responsible for directing research and providing policy analysis and technical assistance to state legislators and executive branch officials. Before joining CSG, Devashree worked at the Brookings Institution where her research focused on a wide array of clean energy topics, including examining clean energy innovation trends at the U.S. sub-national level, identifying promising clean energy financing mechanisms, and estimating the employment size, nature and spatial geography of the U.S. clean economy. Earlier in her career, she worked for the National Governors Association, providing governors and their staff with data and guidance on best practices affecting the energy sector. Over her career, she has authored several publications on clean energy that have informed state and city policymaking.
 Devashree holds a Ph.D in public policy from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in political science from Purdue University.

Read : America’s New Climate Economy: A Comprehensive Guide to the Economic Benefits of Climate Policy in the United States, coauthored by Dr. Saha.

Devashree Saha Headshot

“Municipal leaders are often called upon to find and implement solutions to challenges that result from a variety of different factors.

Such challenges as affordable housing, reliable broadband service, and the ability to adapt to climate change and economic challenges are addressed with local ingenuity and can-do attitudes of elected and appointed municipal leaders, often leading to the implementation of lasting solutions. 

That said, the over-reliance on property taxpayers to resolve issues of statewide significance is an unsustainable practice. All Maine residents must work together to make the best use of limited resources and provide support to the entity best suited to implement solutions at the local, regional and state levels.”

– Kate Dufour 

Kate Dufour: Director, State & Federal Relations, Maine Municipal Association

Kate has worked for MMA since 1995 and served as the Director of the State and Federal Relations Department since 2017, which is charged with representing municipal interest before the Maine State Legislature.  Her areas of focus include taxation, labor and State appropriations. Kate received her BA degree in Political Science from the University of Southern Maine and Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Maine. Kate is also a member of the Hallowell City Council.


Read: State-Municipal Partnership Programs: Past, Present and Future


Municipal Issues Paper 2018, Reestablishing the State Municipal Partnership

co-authored by Kate Dufour 

Format & Guidelines

After the success of last year’s multiple location + hybrid virtual model, and thanks to our sponsors and partners, we will be hosting from our anchor site in Biddeford, with satellite locations in:

Bangor, Calais, Caribou, Machias, and Sidney.

Proof of vaccination at the door and masks are required to attend the Summit at our anchor site in Biddeford.

Each satellite location will have their own masking requirements. Additional information to come.

If you register to attend any site in person, and later change your mind and wish to attend virtually, OR we are required to shift the summit to a fully virtual model, after the summit we can refund the difference in your ticket price, or you may opt to donate the difference in your ticket price to GrowSmart Maine. 

Thank you for joining us virtually if you are exhibiting symptoms. 

For updated detailed information about Covid-19 symptoms and guidelines please visit the CDC website.

Post Summit Forum

Wednesday, November 10th, 1 – 230 PM

We added this new component to the 2020 Summit as part off the COVID adaptation, and due to it’s success in continuing the conversations ignited during the Summit, GrowSmart Maine will host a Post-Summit forum again in 2021. All Summit attendees are encouraged to participate.

The Post Summit Forum is a 90 minute virtual session one week after the Summit. The week time lapse allows for participants to think through the discussions and issues raised by our keynote speakers,  to dive deeper into Summit analysis, and identify 3 key opportunities or actionable items for climate action and economic opportunities within Maine communities.

We’d like to give thanks to the sponsors of 2021 GrowSmart Maine Summit:

We’d like to give thanks to our satellite venue partners for making possible 

the multiple locations across the state for people to come together in small groups

to engage in the Summit together!

Time until 2021 Summit









Keynote Speakers:

Colin Woodard: Home Rule in a former Massachusetts colony: The roots of local control in Maine and how it’s shaped our past, present, and future

Anthony Flint:  A symbiotic view of regionalism and local control  


930a Welcome, GrowSmart Maine Annual Meeting
945a Keynote 1: Colin Woodard: Home Rule in a former Massachusetts colony: The roots of local control in Maine and how it’s shaped our past, present, and future
1015a Keynote 2: Anthony Flint: A symbiotic view of regionalism and local control
1045a Keynote Speakers’ Conversation and Audience Q&A
1130a Local Breakout Groups
1230p Meal break, Board Elections, and Main Smart Growth Awards
130p Closing 

Post Summit Forum 

A new component added to the Summit as part of the COVID adaptation. The six location+hybrid event provided a chance to do something we hadn’t before. GrowSmart Maine hosted a 90 minute virtual session one week after the Summit. The week time lapse allowed participants to think through discussions and issues raised by our keynote speakers. The forum allowed participants to dive deeper into Summit discussions, and identify three key areas as being prime for regional approaches. 

Post Summit Forum Notes

Read the Executive Summary from the Post Summit Forum. We will continue to update with ongoing actions.

Do you want to be a part of the action? Contact us with:

  • your best contact email address and phone number
  • the key area you want to work on
  • any ideas you would like to share