Maine Fare 2015
9 Things about Food in New England
Healthy Food For All - July 10 Meeting

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The Healthy Food For All goal group will host its second meeting to review revised goal language that incorporates feedback from the first gathering. No worries if you didn’t attend the initial meeting. Your input is important and needed!

Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP so the group can plan accordingly.

Date: July 10, noon – 2:00 pm
Location: Natural Resources Council of Maine
3 Wade Street, Augusta
FMI: RSVP by June 30 to Sara Trunzo

Meet The Innovators: The people and ideas transforming our food future

The success of local food depends on passionate entrepreneurs and organizations  working on the edge, cooking up new ideas to create positive change—and good business.

Join Maine Fare for a day-long forum with innovative people who are pushing boundaries, employing new models and technologies, and changing the way we think about our food.

Date: Friday, June 26, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Belfast Boathouse
34 Commercial Street, Belfast
FMI: Maine Fare Website

9 Things About Food in New England

Farm-to-table. Boat-to-plate. Buy local. It's an exciting, dramatic time for Maine businesses in the local food and seafood sectors.

In May, we attended the New England Data Gathering organized by Food Solutions New England and Vermont Farm to Plate.  There, experts shared the latest national and state-level food data to provide a snapshot of benchmark indicators. 

Let's look at our top 9 takeaways from the USDA, New England Food Vision, NOAA and Vermont Farm to Plate.

1. Aquaculture is growing: The Northeast Region is the second largest producing region for aquaculture products in the U.S. and produced 32% of the volume nationally in 2013. During the last census period (2007 to 2012) the value of aquaculture sales in Maine rose over 185% to total over $75 million in 2012.

2. The United States imports about 90% of the seafood consumed here, as measured in edible weight. A significant portion of imported seafood is actually caught by American fishermen, exported overseas for processing and then sent back to the U.S.

3. In 2012, the percentage of land in Maine in production (cropland or pastureland) was just under 3%, virtually unchanged since 2007. During the same period, farms put 10% less land in cropland and increased pastureland by over 30%. (USDA)

4. Agriculture Trends: Nationally the number of farms has decreased. New England is the only major region east of the Mississippi River outside of Florida that continued to see an increase in the number of farms between 2007 and 2012.

5. In 2013, US commercial landings were 9.9 billion pounds, up nearly 3% from the previous year. The value of these landings was $5.5 billion dollars, up close to 8% from the previous year.

6. Seafood disconnect: The average American should consume 8 ounces of seafood a week, according to the USDA. Yet, overall food production levels of seafood in New England average about 2.5 ounces per person. This disconnect illustrates the need to examine issues to balance dietary recommendations for seafood consumption.

7. Historically speaking, New England has a high percentage of women operators in agriculture compared to national statistics. Maine ranks second behind New Hampshire.

8. Maine ranks fifth in the nation in the number of farms with direct market sales. Just over 28% percent of Maine farms are accessing these types of markets. York County had the highest value of direct market sales in Maine at $3.3 million in 2012.

9. Net Gains? In 2012, less than half of U.S. farms reported a net gain in income. The average net gain nationally was $43,750 while in New England, it was just over $10,500. Sixty-five percent of New England principal operators consider themselves as "Retired" or consider an occupation other than farming as their primary occupation.

FMI: What's happening in your business sector? We'd like to hear from you. Drop us an email today!

Thank you, John Olson, Maine Farm Bureau

After many years of dedicated service, John Olson is retiring as the executive secretary at the Maine Farm Bureau. We would like to thank John for his dedication to advancing the conversations around Maine's local food economy, supporting the livelihood of farmers and being a champion for all things agriculture.

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