Spotlight: Mary Turner

Q: What is your job title and location?

A: Community Resource Representative, MidCoast Maine, Good Shepherd Food Bank

Q: For you personally, or for your work, how do you interact with the local food system?

A: I've had the pleasure of working with the Merrymeeting Food Council since their inception and am active on the Food Security Work Group helping with the creation of the Merrymeeting Gleaners and am a member of the Steering Committee.  I have also been a member of the Cumberland County Food Security Council for several years and participated in the Maine Network of Community Food Councils.

Q:  For you personally, or for your work, what do you see as some strengths of our local food system? Weaknesses?

A: The beauty of the size of Maine is that our farmers, fishermen and food producers are our neighbors.  They are invested in the physical and economic health of our communities.  We also have many organizations working to improve everyone's health through increased access to local, nutritional food.

This area lacks sufficient processing facilities to create secondary markets for excess produce.

Q: What are the most important things that should be happening in the region to support increased production, consumption, and access to local foods?

A: From a charitable food standpoint, increased SNAP benefits through federal funding, assistance in enrolling for SNAP benefits, availability of the use of SNAP and incentive programs at Farmers' Markets and through Community Supported Agriculture would increase consumption of local foods. 

Q: What's for dinner tonight?

A: Depends on what's in my CSA!  Probably a chicken couscous salad with fresh peas.