- FOOD ACCESS & HEALTH:
The USDA’s Economic Research Service recently released a report on Household Food Security in the United States in 2018. Read more here.
- FARMS & FOOD PRODUCERS:
MFC is beginning to look at innovative solutions to the labor challenges faced by local farms and will be hosting a community conversation about this in early winter. If you would like to be involved in planning, please reach out! To put the local labor discussion in a statewide context, here are two Maine Calling pieces that aired on MPR earlier this summer. The first is with Commissioner Laura Fortman from the Maine Department of Labor, and in the second piece you can hear about the workforce shortage from a broader panel. MFC would love to hear from you! What innovative ideas do you think might work in our region?
Farms and other food system businesses can promote their businesses through the Maine Office of Tourism…learn more here.
- FOOD TO INSTITUTIONS:
A report, “Regional Trends in New England Farm to Institution Procurement Policy,” was released in August which provides an overview of policies in place in each New England state which encourage or require institutional purchases of local foods. The report is from the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law School and Farm to Institution New England (FINE). Read the full report to compare New England state policies or just a snapshot of the Maine Policies.
Maine’s DOE opened a new Culinary Classroom in Augusta in September to train and educate food system workers. See a short video about it here. See a schedule of upcoming professional development and training events from DOE here.
Maine DOE's Harvest of the Month program for schools was piloted last Spring with 165 schools and the full roll out of the program began this Fall. For more information, contact: Stephanie Stambach, Child Nutrition Consultant (207-624-6732), or visit www.maine.gov/doe/harvestofthemonth/.
Read about sourcing of sustainable seafood at two UMaine campuses from GMRI.
Learn about the USDA’s proposed changes to the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The public comment period ends on September 23rd. Read the proposed changes and news coverage here.
Summer federal policy roundup from the Food Research and Action Center is here.
Existing food system bills and new laws:
LD 541: Resolve, To Reduce Food Waste in Schools.
LD 497: An Act Regarding the Providing of Human Food Waste to Swine Producers.
LD 454: An Act To Encourage the Purchase of Local Produce for Public Schools.
LD 786: An Act To Reduce Hunger and Promote Maine Agriculture.
LD 1159: Resolve, To End Hunger in Maine by 2030.
Food system bills being prepared:
LD 1531: An Act To Establish the Maine Food System Investment Program To Create Quality Jobs and Support Farms, Fisheries and Food-related Businesses.
LD 1679: An Act To Promote Clean Energy Jobs and To Establish the Maine Climate Council.
LD 400: An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue for Food Processing Infrastructure in Targeted Areas of the State.
LD 1167: An Act To Increase Consumption of Maine Foods in State Institutions.
- STATEWIDE PLANNING & ASSESSMENT:
Learn more in this recent story by Maine Food Strategy about building the story of food system change in Maine. Do you or someone you know have a case study to contribute?
Check out Maine Food Strategy’s new website and learn more about their work as a statewide food system planning entity.
Interested in how Maine compares to other states in terms of a range of food system characteristics? Check out these two interactive maps: Food Environment Atlas, and Food Access Research Atlas from the USDA - you can select what data you are interested in and view it at the county and census track level respectively.
A report on how to shift power dynamics within grassroots work was recently released by the New England Grassroots Environment Fund.