What's inside: New Steering Committee and The Maine Food Summit
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Maine Food Summit

Standing-room only best describes our debut at the Maine Food Summit last month. Tanya Swain and Amanda Beal mapped out how the Strategy is organized; described its goal to build networks amongst organizations, businesses, volunteers and students; and called for organizations within the farm, fisheries and food sectors to join the conversation.

A vibrant discussion occurred during the Q&A session. Questions ranged from food insecurity to the Strategy’s legislative agenda. Initiative coordinators reiterated that the strategy is still in a development phase where coordinators are looking to stakeholders to identify shared goals before any legislative agenda is developed.

“We want the process to define the goals and objectives,” said Tanya Swain of the Maine Food Strategy. “Through collaboration and cooperation, Maine-made food systems benefit.”

Thanks to the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension for coordinating the event planning committee and hosting the Summit. We anticipate a planning committee for the next summit will be organized soon.

The Draft Policy Summary of the 126th Legislature

Food Policy was the featured topic during our two afternoon sessions. Members of the legislature joined Gianna Short and Sara Randall, co-authors of the draft policy summary, Food-Related Agriculture & Commercial Fisheries Policy Summary for the First Session of the 126th Maine Legislature.

The policy summary is unique in that it includes fisheries as well as agriculture legislation. The merger between the Department of Conservation and the Department of Agriculture and legislation focusing on genetically modified organisms (GMO); poultry slaughter regulations and local food sovereignty rounded out the list of highlights.
Sen. Chris Johnson, Somerville; Rep. Ralph Chapman, Brooksville; Rep. Jim Dill, Old Town; and Rep. Craig Hickman, Winthrop spoke passionately about their commitment to promoting Maine-grown, raised and harvested food. The Maine Food Strategy appreciates their participation on the panel.

We want to hear from you!

We received thoughtful feedback on the report following the Maine Food Summit and encourage you to read the report and submit comments online. We’re extending the deadline for newsletter recipients until Friday, January 17, 2014. The draft legislative report is online at

The Maine Food Strategy would like to thank members of the Research Committee for providing preliminary input into the report. Our sincere appreciation go out to committee volunteers  Molly Anderson, College of the Atlantic; John Jemison, University of Maine Cooperative Extension; Mark Lapping, University of Southern Maine; Al Leighton, University of Southern Maine; Dana Morse, University of Maine; and Tim Waring, University of Maine.

MFS Steering Committee

We are pleased to announce the Steering Committee held its inaugural meeting Thursday, December 19. This dynamic and engaged group of professionals will lay the foundation for goal-setting and how the Initiative is organized to support implementation projects. Their charge is to focus energy on areas where a statewide initiative can accelerate the wheels already in motion to increase opportunities for producers, sellers, and eaters of Maine foods.

Introducing the MFS Steering Committee:
Molly Anderson teaches sustainable food systems at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. read more
Heron Breen has worked in various roles at Fedco Seeds spanning 16 years. read more
Deborah Burd is the Grants Manager for St. Mary’s Health System’s Development Office in Lewiston. read more
Robert Dorsey is the President of the Aroostook Partnership for Progress. read more
Mark Dvorozniak developed and implemented marketing initiatives at Barber Foods for 19 years. read more
Bill Eldridge was involved with the Interim Advisory Committee that launched the idea for a food systems planning effort in Maine. read more
Mark Hews recently joined the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society as its new executive director. read more
Caldwell Jackson is the Economic Development Specialist with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and formerly served as director of the department’s Agriculture Resource Development Division. read more
John Jemison is an educator with UMaine Cooperative Extension, serves on the Maine Board of Pesticides Control and Eat Local Food Coalition. read more
Penelope Jordan works alongside her brother Bill Jordan, Jr. and sisters, Carol Anne Jordan and Pam Butterfield on their farm, Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth. read more
Ben Martens is the Executive Director of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association where he focuses on bridging the gap between fishermen, the policies that impact them, and the ecosystem on which they rely. read more
Dana Morse’s work is varied, but currently targets improvements in aquaculture production for shellfish and seaweed. read more
John Piotti of Unity has served as CEO of Maine Farmland Trust since 2006. Prior to his work at Maine Farmland Trust, he managed farm programs for Coastal Enterprises, Inc. read more
Ted Quaday is the Executive Director at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. read more
Anne Trenholm is a third generation farmer and food promoter whose family farm, Wholesome Holmstead, features dairy products and meat, and ag tourism opportunities. read more
Sara Trunzo is Unity College's Farm and Food Projects Coordinator and  co-manager of Veggies For All food-bank farm. read more
Rosie Vanadestine is executive director of the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments (KVCOG) which covers Somerset, Kennebec and western Waldo counties. read more
Daniel Wallace is a sustainable agriculture program developer for Coastal Enterprises, Inc., providing  business development and finance assistance for agriculture and food value-chain businesses across Maine. read more
Lisa Webster is a farmer, a gardener and believer in the values of a full life. read more

Look for these coming announcements:

    •    Consumer Survey
    •    Findings Report
    •    Advisory Council update
    •    A candid interview with Courtney Bourns, senior program office with the   
         Kendall Foundation. The Kendall Foundation is a funder of the Maine
         Food Strategy.

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.  
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