Free Resources Available to New Farmers

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Nationally, Maine ranks second only to Vermont, in terms of a commitment to healthy local food.

2015 Locavore Index


New to Farming? Check out these Free Resources!

It's dawn. You're heading to work. The barn door swings open to reveal a daily "to do" list. Where do you find time to track down answers to questions, or resources, especially if you are new to farming? 

We've noted a couple of great resources:

The Beginning Farmer Resource Network is a coalition of agriculture agencies and organizations working together to connect aspiring, beginning and transitioning farmers to resources for farm business success: 
FMI: University of Maine 
Agriculture Associations: Maine also has dozens of traditional agricultural associations whose members share information on resources and best practices, as well as camaraderie.  Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry keeps a great list on the Get Real Maine website.
FMI: Get Real. Get Maine! 

Stay Informed: 127th Legislature Bill Tracker

Expanding bandwidth, particularly to rural areas is a commanding issue this legislative session.

Legislation Impacting Maine Fishermen and Farmers

The 127th Maine Legislature is underway and a range of issues are being reviewed by the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee including an act to restore farmlands and improve watersheds; an act to compensate beekeepers for hive losses; an act to establish a fund for the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension Animal and Plant Disease and Insect Control Laboratory.  

There are 35 bills dealing with broadband expansion in Maine. One bill, LD 826 focuses on promoting connectivity to rural family farms.  Mid-March the House of Representatives and Senate referred it to the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee. Another bill, LD 1063 is gaining visibility due to a coalition of businesses, municipalities and non-profit organizations mobilizing for its passage. 

Anyone who follows the legislative process in Augusta knows things change daily. We've included a link below to help you track bills.
Stay Informed: Track ACF-Related Legislation

Steering Committee members met in Augusta this April to set priorities and map out next steps.

Bonus! Anne Trenholm brought cheese samples from her Wholesome Holmstead farm. (Thank you, Anne!)

Steering Committee Update


Over the past year, information from a review of state food plans and input from numerous public events and outreach has coalesced around four broad goal areas for Maine’s food system: economic development; the adaptability of the food system to changing environmental conditions; the ability of the food system to feed Maine people; and the important connection between food production and the heritage and vitality of Maine communities.

Earlier this year, people from across the state and sectors offered input on these areas, and their ideas for strengthening Maine’s food system.  Dozens of suggestions for specific activities, resources and programs have been proposed over the past year and Steering Committee members are asking other organizations and individuals to look more closely at specific ideas and next steps.

Watch for details in upcoming e-newsletters.

2015 Source Award Recipients

The Maine Sunday Telegram handed out Source Awards to acknowledge individuals and organizations supporting the agriculture and fisheries sustainability within our economy. MST Food Editor Peggy Grodinsky said six judges reviewed more than 200 nominations and remarked how the quality of nominees made final decisions difficult!

Educator: The Ecology School
Elder: Steward Smith
Good Neighbor: Garbage to Garden
Healthy Food Champion: Eliot Coleman
Innovator: Robin Alden
Newcomer Award: The Farm Stand
Pollinator: Hannaford
Storyteller: Maine Farmland Trust

FMI: View recipient profiles, visit the Maine Sunday Telegram.


Congratulations to all the recipients of The Source Awards. It's rewarding to see locally-sourced food and fish elevated to new heights of recognition.

A special note of congratulations to Penny Jordan, of The Farm Stand; John Piotti with Maine Farmland Trust and Robin Alden of Penobscot East Resource Center. We are proud to say they are involved with the Maine Food Strategy.

Here's to a successful season!

Barbi Ives & Tanya Swain
MFS Co-Directors

Copyright © 2014 Maine Food Strategy at Muskie School of Public Services, All rights reserved.
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