The Merrymeeting Food Council will be co-leading three sessions at the Maine Network of Community Food Council’s Annual Summit
The Merrymeeting Food Council (MFC) was formed in 2015 to meet the diverse needs of the Merrymeeting Bay Region's food system. Since its inception, MFC has been working directly to address food systems needs with programs like the Merrymeeting Gleaners, which donated over 70,000 pounds of locally gleaned food in 2018, but also in more indirect ways by acting as a network of problem solving organizations. In 2018, MFC partners Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program worked together to run a pilot program where Maine seafood, bought at a low cost from the Portland Fish Exchange with grant funds, and processed by Harbor Fish Market, was donated to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. This type of collaboration increases access to Maine seafood and provides a much needed protein source for food insecure families. In the past year, MFC also brought together Good Shepherd Food Bank, Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, and Mid Coast Hospital to pilot food security screening for all patients at the Brunswick walk-in clinic and provide emergency food supplies for those in need. Last month, MFC worked with the Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative on their Focus on Farmers roundtable, a curated conversation about the needs of the community’s farmers.
At the upcoming Annual Summit of the Maine Network of Community Food Councils on April 26th in Belfast, Maine MFC will be co-leading three sessions with other organizations; Jumpstarting a Gleaning Program in Your Community, Integrating Seafood and Fisheries in Local Food Systems, and Local Food and Community Health. There will be 11 sessions offered at the summit which runs from 9-4pm. The summit is intended for anyone working on, or interested in, food system issues. The purpose of each session is to provide a roadmap for other food councils, communities, or food system organizations to implement similar initiatives and to foster collaboration. “These sorts of collaborations and info sharing are critical to seeing the changes we want in Maine’s food economy” says Jamie Pacheco, MFC Wellness Coordinator, “and further, they exemplify the sorts of community driven solutions we need”.
The Merrymeeting Food Council was founded in 2015 by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust and Brunswick Topsham Land Trust as a forum for diverse stakeholders in Maine's Merrymeeting Region food system to learn, collaborate, and take action to increase the production and consumption of local, healthy food. The council’s work is done through strong partnerships between area organizations and with the help of dedicated volunteers. In 2016, the Merrymeeting Gleaners were formed as a project of MFC, a volunteer powered group addressing food insecurity and food waste. To learn more or get involved, please visit us at www.merrymeetingfoodcouncil.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.