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 month: All the research!

Each year in May the University of Maine’s office of the Vice President for Research, with funding from the Maine Economic Investment Fund, gives money to support research through the Food and Agriculture Center. Members of the Center submit proposals to conduct new or build upon past research to benefit Maine’s farming and food system. Proposals are submitted in March, and are selected by May 1. Research is then conducted and published by September of the following year. Seven proposals were granted this cycle. Below are some highlights:

  • “Identifying Profitable Vegetable and Small Fruit Varieties for Maine Farmers”
    • A survey from the Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers association indicated that research on crops varietals is among their highest priorities. Researchers at the University will test different small fruits and veggies this season for suitability in the Maine climate, potential commercial value, and pest tolerance. This information will give farmers reliable purchasing information, improved crop success, and expanded market opportunities.
  • “Exploring Change in a Local Sustainable Food System”
    • Somerset County in Maine ranks 16th for county health behaviors, the lowest in the state. The county also has the highest obesity rate, and more than 33 percent of the population lives more than 10 miles from a grocery store. This study will conduct surveys to research what it would take to encourage the eating of more fresh, local fruits and vegetables, and the barriers for independent grocers to carry such foods.

Other endeavors include:

  • Feasibility of strip tillage to increase crop yields
  • Artificial insemination for increased animal health and farm profit
  • Development of Elderberry varietals that best support a successful Elderberry industry
  • Lyme disease and vector prevalence on Maine farms
  • Trials on sources and resistances to blackleg disease in Maine potatoes

For more information, visit the Maine Food and Agriculture Center's website.

Something's been cooking at the Maine Food Strategy...

Over the past two years, the Maine Food Strategy has been soliciting input from food systems stakeholders on priorities and actions to strengthen and connect Maine's food system. We are now ready to release the results of that work, which has been vetted and edited by representatives from government, production, NGOs, businesses, and other members of food system organizations. We now need you.

Expected to be released in June, this document provides information on areas of work that stakeholders felt would have the greatest impact on strengthening food systems in Maine. It also suggests opportunities for collaboration and provides information on potential partners.
This summer, the Maine Food Strategy will host several sessions to showcase the document and engage partners in implementation. Your participation is paramount.

Attend a briefing session this summer, and find ways you or your organization can maximize your role in strengthening Maine's food system. Details about these sessions are being developed. For the most up-to-date information, check our Facebook page. We will be posting information as well on our website, and through email.
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES If your organization has meetings or upcoming conferences, please send them along for inclusion and promotion!

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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