MAINE TOWN PASSES LANDMARK LOCAL FOOD ORDINANCE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 7, 2011

MAINE TOWN PASSES LANDMARK LOCAL FOOD ORDINANCE
Sedgwick becomes first town in Maine to adopt protections

SEDGWICK, MAINE – On Saturday, March 5, residents of a small coastal town in Maine voted unanimously to adopt the Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance, setting a precedent for other towns looking to preserve small-scale farming and food processing. Sedgwick, located on the Blue Hill Peninsula in Western Hancock County, became the first town in Maine, and perhaps the nation, to exempt direct farm sales from state and federal licensing and inspection. The ordinance also exempts foods made in the home kitchen, similar to the Michigan Cottage Food Law passed last year, but without caps on gross sales or restrictions on types of exempt foods.

Local farmer Bob St.Peter noted the importance of this ordinance for beginning farmers and cottage producers. “This ordinance creates favorable conditions for beginning farmers and cottage-scale food processors to try out new products, and to make the most of each season’s bounty,” said St.Peter. “My family is already working on some ideas we can do from home to help pay the bills and get our farm going.”

Mia Strong, Sedgwick resident and local farm patron, was overwhelmed by the support of her town. “Tears of joy welled in my eyes as my town voted to adopt this ordinance,” said Strong. “I am so proud of my community. They made a stand for local food and our fundamental rights as citizens to choose that food.”

St.Peter, who serves on the board of the National Family Farm Coalition based in Washington, DC, sees this as a model ordinance for economic development in rural areas. “It’s tough making a go of it in rural America,” said St.Peter. “Rural working people have always had to do a little of this and a little of that to make ends meet. But up until the last couple generations, we didn’t need a special license or new facility each time we wanted to sell something to our neighbors. Small farmers and producers have been getting squeezed out in the name of food safety, yet it’s the industrial food that is causing food borne illness, not us.”

“And every food dollar that leaves our community is one more dollar we don’t have to pay for our rural schools or to provide decent care for our elders,” adds St.Peter. “We need the money more than corporate agribusiness.”

Three other towns in Western Hancock County will be voting on the ordinance at or ahead of their town meetings in the coming weeks. Penobscot, Brooksville, and Blue Hill all have the ordinance on their warrants.

Click here to view a copy of the Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance of 2011.

Contact:

Bob St.Peter
Saving Seeds Farm
Sedgwick, Maine
207-244-0908
bobstpeter@gmail.com

Mia Strong
Local Stock Food Cooperative
Sedgwick, Maine
207-359-8572
meezermia@gmail.com

18 Responses to MAINE TOWN PASSES LANDMARK LOCAL FOOD ORDINANCE

  1. Phillip Schmidt says:

    Thank You to the people of this town. I hope this spreads like wild fire across the United States.

  2. Peter says:

    This is an important step in giving local agriculture a legal support when GAPS programs continue to erode away at small farm economics. Hoping the rest of the state and eventually New England will move on this legeslation to strengthen support for local Ag producers…one small step away from oil dependence!!

  3. […] MAINE TOWN PASSES LANDMARK LOCAL FOOD ORDINANCE […]

  4. […] Food for Maine’s Future (read full article here) SEDGWICK, MAINE – On Saturday, March 5, residents of a small coastal town in Maine voted […]

  5. Kelly says:

    This piece was linked in a comment on my blog. I am so impressed! It would be wonderful if this caught on. I can’t imagine the work and organizing that went into this… but I’m just really thrilled to hear it.

  6. I am proud of your town. My son is farming in Trenton and would welcome this ordinance as would we here on the seacoast of NH. Dick Wollmar, AgCom, North Hampton,NH

  7. […] tax incentives for small, integrated farms committed to selling within their own community, […]

  8. Harvey says:

    Thank God someone is standing up to these idiots in Washington that are trying to control our every move
    we need to TAKE THIS COUNTRY BACK !!!!!!!!!!!

  9. […] Maine town passes a Local Food Ordinance check it out here. […]

  10. […] is only fitting that Sedgwick, ME, the first town in Maine to pass the landmark Local Food Ordinance, is where the Food & Farm Activist Retreat, held by Food for Maine’s Future, will take […]

  11. […] MAINE TOWN PASSES LANDMARK LOCAL FOOD ORDINANCE « Food for Maine’s Future. […]

    • savingseeds says:

      Thank you for sharing this on your site! Your efforts are appreciated!

      • Michele says:

        Sure would like to see something like this in more small towns, such as Deer Isle. Are there any plans to get something like this underway in neighboring towns?

      • savingseeds says:

        Michele, If you send me your email I can send you a copy of the ordinance and you can get it in your town warrant. Probably too late for this year but as any Red Sox fan knows, there’s always next year. Betsy

  12. […] tax incentives for small, integrated farms committed to selling within their own community, […]

  13. […] a cider press,  and a flour mill.  And residents of Sedgwick, Maine recently voted to adopt a Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance, setting a precedent for other towns looking to preserve small-scale farming and food processing.  […]

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