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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Pingree Reintroducing bill to support local food movement

Pingree Reintroducing bill to support local food movement

Jennifer M.
Scarborough, ME
Post #: 44
From an email newsletter available here :

Earlier today [4-9-13] I was thrilled to reintroduce the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act in Congress with the help of two very special guests, Top Chef host Tom Colicchio and Maine farmer Sarah Smith.

Like the legislation I introduced in the last Congress, the bill takes steps to better meet the needs of farmers involved in local and regional agriculture, increase access to healthy, local foods for consumers, and provide secure funding for programs that support the kind of diversified farms we have in Maine. I'm pleased that Sherrod Brown is once again introducing a companion bill in the Senate.

You can find out more about the bill at

Despite federal policy that has favored big ag, there has been incredible growth in smaller-scale food systems in recent years. When I began running a farm in Maine in the 1970s, farmers markets were few and far between. Today there are nearly 8,000 nationwide. Isn’t it time federal policy catches up so it can help this movement reach its full potential and help our economy?

Please keep in touch as we move forward with this legislation.

David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 919
It's a good idea to stay abreast of bills presented within this state. A food sovereignty bill was presented recently by Rep. Craig Hickman D-Winthrop. I am working closely with Craig on some policy issues and bills.

I testified before the Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Committee on food sovereignty. I said the following:

Maine people should have the right to define their own food systems.

It's easy to become wary of food security. We have, as a nation, bought in to the “corporate food regime” at the expense of the Maine farmers, the people of Maine and the Maine economy. If corporate farming should fail we all fail. Such highly concentrated distribution of economic power means that they can run up the price of food as they choose just like the fossil fuel industry does.

Big agriculture may be producing more food but it has not managed to reduce hunger because it has not addressed the problems of access.

According to the USDA (for Maine)
• Food insecurity rate: 14.7 percent of households, or approximately 200,000 people
• Maine ranks 18th in the nation and 2nd in New England in terms of food insecurity
• Child food insecurity rate: 23 percent, or nearly 1 in every 4 children, are food insecure (61,020 children)
• Maine ranks 22nd in the nation, 1st in New England in terms of child food insecurity
• Since 2004 there has been a 50 percent increase in the number of Mainers facing hunger

Big agriculture often poisons people. You see it on the news all the time. Bad hamburger, bad salad greens, bad peanuts and other products.

The small farmers are paying for the problems big agriculture often creates with more regulation leading to higher expenses.

If small farmers did not have to follow all the rules imposed by the failures and political influence of big agriculture they could deliver better products at a better price on the local level where lower income people could more easily access and afford them.

Family farms rely on personal accountability. The buck stops there. They know they can and should produce a fresher higher quality product. Their business and reputation relies on it. You can't buy food produced or picked the same day at the supermarket. Anybody knows that a tomato fresh off the farm is far better than any tomato you can buy at the supermarket.

We should allow local communities to produce, process, sell, purchase and consume local foods.

We should ensure the preservation of family farms.

It would certainly enhance the economic, environmental and social wealth of Maine's local communities.

Eating Maine food means you will be far less likely to consume GMOs. Although Monsanto and big agriculture may say GMOs are just fine, GMOs have not co-evolved with people or the environment and may, in fact, damage the ecological web in unintended ways.

If we can choose to ignore federal marijuana laws, we can choose to ignore federal food laws. In spite of what some may think, food is more important than marijuana. Access to good local food at a fair price is good for Maine and the Maine economy.


Craig has also submitted a bill to create edible landscaping in Capitol Park which I will be working on with him if it passes.

I have gotten the wheels turning on edible landscaping in my town of Washington as well.

David Spahr
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 920
Dang! This bill did not make it out of committee. Craig Hickman is one of the people you really should want to know about. Read about him here: http://hickmanintheho...­
Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,297
I'm a big Craig Hickman fan.
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