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The "Good Things in Maine" Campaign

Each month the Maine Food Strategy will be highlighting a program, organization, or event that represents the positive changes and good work happening throughout the state in Maine's food system.

“This cooperation, I hope it can be contagious.” - Richard East

Many people have worried over the years about the distribution and transportation problems for moving Maine products to different markets. Well, Richard East - who with his wife Judy runs Growing Concern Farm and Nursery in Calais -  is hoping to alleviate that problem for his and other Washington County farms. East, along with his daughter (pictured below), flew to Texas this winter to purchase a refrigerated truck with chest freezer capable of holding over 9,000lbs of product.

How it works: For a small fee (much smaller than trucking solo), producers can load their wares onto East’s truck and see their products more efficiently reach new markets. By having consistent and quality products, these producers can [fingers crossed] reach new restaurants, grocery stores, buying clubs, and more. Hopefully,” says East, “it will make these farms grow.” Rather than investing in the truck, these people can invest in their farms and in themselves. Ideally, having access to the new markets will boost farms into expanding their operations. And things are looking good – a local grocery has already promised cooler spaces dedicated to local products. Cool!!

The truck will be on the road the week of April 15th. It’s a big leap of faith, but it can be just the ticket rural Washington County needs to move product beyond its borders. We think it’s an innovative and community-building solution to a complicated problem. Best of luck to Richard and the farmers!

Contact Richard East for questions, reast@growingconcern.me, or to buy/sell product on the truck! 


BONUS: The Good Food Council of Lewiston/Auburn released its Good Food Charter as a way to highlight L-A’s community food values and build support for a more sustainable local food system. A Food Charter is a "values statement that helps set the stage for local food policy; it is a way to ground our community decisions and actions in set of principles about good food."

This is first charter of its kind in the state. Way to go GFCLA and the community supporters! FMI or to sign, visit the GFCLA website.

Thank you to all of the participants in the 
Facebook to tag and brag campaign!
There are so many Maine businesses doing such good work. Thumbs up!

In the spotlight - check out what the enthusiasts are saying:
  • The Maine Pie Co. "makes the best gluten-free pies, tarts, and cookies I've found in Maine — or anywhere! This women-run company operates out of the Pepperell Mill in Biddeford, and their frozen treats make delicious freshly baked goodies."
  • Circle B Farms in Caribou "sells frozen Highbush Blueberries in 8 Hannaford stores Lincoln, Old Town, Bangor, Brewer, to Machias. Plus Whole Foods, Portland coop & Belfast coop and many stores in between."
  • The Portland Food Co-op is "a member owned food store (3500 members strong) that brings local producers and consumers together in a member-owned marketplace to grow a healthier community and a more sustainable food system. PFC works with over 250 Maine farmers and producers to bring their products to the Portland market. In 2015, our customers purchased close to $2 million in Maine produced food." "Come by the Portland Food Co-op and see how many local farmers it supports! Something to really brag about!"
  • "Wow, the Maine Farm and Sea Cooperative is ramping up to change the local food to institution culture here in Maine. Nice work!"
  • Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery "uses over 70,000 pounds of Maine grown fruit and grain each year! We love our Maine farmers!"
Visit our Facebook Page to continue bragging about the good works of businesses in Maine!


X Marks the Spot
Maine Food Atlas Wants to Put your Work on the Map!

The Maine Food Atlas is a virtual map of food operators – growers, processors, farm to school groups, distributors and many others – involved in Maine's food system.
The Atlas is
  • for communities interested in understanding where food is produced and how it moves through their area;  
  • for economic developers looking at where gaps in processing or distribution capacity may exist; 
  • for public health and nutrition education groups who want to find similar programs operating in Maine; or
  • for markets or businesses interested in locating food producers within a geographical area.
  • for food operations of all types from farms, to processors, to distributors, to cafeterias, to waste managers to tell their stories rich with information and photos.
It's a tool with a wide range of applications and it needs your input to be effective. Users can establish free accounts, which allow them to describe their work, load photos, and independently manage their postings over time. The Maine Food Atlas is a project of the Maine Network of Community Food Councils working closely with the Center for Community GIS – check it out at www.mainefoodatlas.com.

Subcommittee Updates -
Get Connected to Get Involved

FMI: Connect with the Economic Development Subcommittee
FMI: Connect with the Vibrant Communities Subcommittee
FMI: Connect with the Healthy Maine Environment Subcommittee
FMI: Connect with the Healthy Food For All Subcommittee
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