The Maine Food Strategy is Off and Running! (Don't get left behind!)

We've researched the many ways that food system planning has happened in the past (in Maine and in lots of other places) so that we don't repeat the mistakes of the past.  We've enjoyed the wisdom of a superlative Process Design Committee made up of businesses, individuals and organizations from around the state 
who have a stake in our food system.  This creates a solid foundation for a collaborative statewide effort.

We've established core values around transparency, inclusivity and participatory engagement in our future statewide food system and economy.  Dozens of interviews, meetings, presentations, feedback requests and site visits have been logged.  

Now a Steering Committee is emerging, a Research Committee is tackling tough questions and the bones of working groups and working "links" to existing efforts are forming.  Our communications and social media engine are firing up...

And, yet...

Strengthening the existing network of food system participants, bridging the gaps in that network, convening all parties in various ways to agree on shared goals and work plans, and charting a strategic course to a thriving food future for Maine is a really big job.  This can only be done in a truly collaborative and cooperative way.

We invite businesses, farmers, fishermen, agencies, investors, non-profits, consumers and others to join together in charting a course for the future of Maine's food future and food economy.

Why is it important to work on a statewide strategy?
Who's involved?
What does The Maine Food Strategy add to this work?
Connect your group to this work or register your interest!
Find out what's going on in other states.
Follow us online via Facebook and Twitter

Also happening!

A very brief sample of what's gong on with The Maine Food Strategy!
  • Members of the Maine Food Strategy project team and members of its Process Design Committee were among the delegates at this month's New England Food Summit here in Portland.
  • Lisa Fernandes is participating in the Portland Mayor's Initiative for Healthy and Sustainable Food, with a special focus on Urban food production.  She is also supporting outreach and engagement efforts for The Maine Food Strategy.
  • Amanda Beal continues to coordinate the work of the Research Committee.  Get in touch with her if you think there is a pressing need for a certain type of food system data or research so that we can make more progress on strengthening our food system and economy.
  • Mark Lapping shared his wisdom on food system planning with our neighbors on Prince Edward Island and at other locations around the region.
  • Monique Coombs continues fisheries outreach as well as her coordinating efforts over at the Eat Local Foods Coalition and her work with the Maine Seafood Marketing Network and with Penobscot East Resource Center.
  • Tanya Swain and Amanda Beal were invited to present at this months annual Maine Association of Planners conference in Belfast.  The event carried a big focus on food.
  • Our Process Design Committee is preparing to hand the baton to a new project Steering Committee.
  • We continue to be enormously grateful to the many private funders who are supporting the work of strengthening our statewide food system and food economy (more on this soon).

What's Coming up Next?

  1. Follow the right column of our web site for an upcoming events listing and for our blog blog post/project updates.  Also like our Facebook page to track news and relevant food system information.
  2. Invite us to speak with your group, business or organization including some facilitated discussion of what The Maine Food Strategy means to you and how your involvement can create leverage for your group.
  3. Get ready for a Maine Food Summit (co-sponsored by The Maine Food Strategy and other groups) late fall or early winter - details coming soon!
  4. More convenings are being planned in order to bring our strengths and creativity together, forge some shared goals and accelerate progress on all our food system work in Maine.
  5. We're getting set up to formalize some project partner "working links" to food system efforts already happening in Maine as well as support the creation of some Working Groups where there are gaps.  We'll be looking for participants!

Get Maine Food Strategy Updates on Facebook!
Get Maine Food Strategy Updates on Facebook!

The Maine Food Strategy is an initiative to create a broader and more strongly connected network of organizations, agencies, businesses and individuals contributing to the food system in Maine. The initiative seeks to convene a statewide participatory process that will identify and advance shared goals to support a robust food economy and a thriving natural resource base in our state.

Why is this important?

Featured Project Partner: The Eat Local Foods Coalition (ELFC)

So many of the food systems projects and programs around the state have been incubated around the ELFC table over the past decade! ELFC continues to be the most open and inclusive food-oriented coalition in our state, and a model of collaboration and networking for those in other states.  To learn more about ELFC, check out the Eat Maine Foods! web site (and use it to schedule events and connect with others) and read about their compelling story at the Maine Network Partners site.

Get Involved!  

Be part of the conversation, the participatory process that will knit together Maine's food future.  Might you want to be part of a working group?  What are you already working on that The Maine Food Strategy can link with?  A "food system" can feel like a big, unwieldy thing, but only by connecting all the good work can we achieve our shared goals more quickly and successfully.