Amber Lambke is the president of the Somerset Grist Mill, LLC and its Maine Grains label, which is carried by specialty food stores and used by fine restaurants and bakeries throughout Northeastern US. She is also the executive director of the Maine Grain Alliance. Amber has worked with local business leaders and community members to successfully bring the cultivation and processing of heritage grains back to Skowhegan, Maine, which is a driving force behind Maine’s sustainable foods movement. Her efforts through the Maine Grain Alliance have generated a broader understanding and appreciation of the nutritional and economic value of heritage grains and oats, as well as their exceptional flavor. The alliance’s Kneading Conference, co-founded by Amber, now draws thousands of attendees from across North America each year and has spawned similar conferences across the country.
Amber began to volunteer with an organization called, Main Street, from 2005-2007. Her mindset was focused on recruiting someone to start a business to help her town. Amber never considered that someone would be her.
Amber’s wake up call was recognizing the power of a project to unite people around a common cause. Leadership has been her biggest wake up call.
Amber leads by example. She likes to engage in a task with her eyes wide open in order to see who else could do it before they realize it, so she can bring more to the table.
Maine Grains is now 3 years into their launch and is recognizing the increasing demand for their rolled oats. New equipment has been purchased from Germany and Amber is excited to start upping their production to reach out to new businesses.
Amber always tries to keep her own thoughts in check and saying the right things to herself to be stronger.
Amber would tell her younger self to trust her instincts earlier. She always had a vision in business, and she didn’t know where it came from. Amber believes that everyone has intuition about where their life is headed.
“You need to have an affection for place, and people and animals; and you need to have an affection for hard work and the soil and all of the things that come together to make a successful and productive life.”