Food for Maine’s Future (FMF) was formed in the fall of 2006 after a merger between two groups, GE Free Maine and the Independent Food Project. GE Free Maine was founded in 2004 as an off-shoot of the Institute for Social Ecology Biotechnology Project. In its first two years, GE Free Maine developed an extensive contact list, hosted numerous educational events and speaking tours and assisted three communities working to pass local resolutions against genetic engineering. The Independent Food Project (IFP) was formed in spring 2005 to improve food security through increased local production and skill building. IFP sponsored events to raise awareness about the problems with the industrial food system and to introduce the concept of food sovereignty. IFP also helped organize two community gardens, offered garden workshops and tours of IFP’s demonstration gardens, and organized a volunteer project to provide fresh vegetables to the food pantry in Blue Hill, Maine.
In 2006, GE Free Maine and IFP co-founded the state-wide Local and Sustainable Food Conference, which FMF continues to host annually. FMF and its predecessor organizations have hosted more than 200 public events, distributed nearly 50,000 copies our biannual newspaper, Saving Seeds, and maintained email and social networking lists of 2,500 people throughout Maine.
Food for Maine’s Future is part of a growing international movement for food sovereignty. Our work is informed and strengthened through relationships with our allies in La Via Campesina. FMF is working to build solidarity and alliances between rural people in Maine and around the world. We are pushing the local foods movement to incorporate issues like land reform, ending patents, and the need for political organizing to push back against the well-funded agribusiness lobby.
FMF is a member of the National Family Farm Coalition. It this through this membership that we are aligned with La Via Campesina. FMF staff serve on board committees and attend regular NFFC meetings and actions. Our involvement in NFFC has connected us with farmers throughout the U.S. working on food justice and sovereignty issues, genetic engineering, and federal agricultural policy. We in turn report on challenges and successes of family farmers here in Maine.
Anti-racist and Anti-oppression Values and Practice
The Green Revolution and its progeny the Biotechnology Revolution insist the only solution to hunger is for the Global South to adopt the technologies of the developed world. Discounted are local and indigenous knowledge and overlooked is people’s ability to feed themselves and their communities when free from forced deprivation. The Green/Biotech Revolution paradigm also dismisses the real root causes of hunger; lack of access to land, water, seeds, appropriate technology, and a fair distribution of wealth. Instead hunger is blamed on uncontrolled population growth in non-white countries and theft by corrupt foreign governments.
Globalization of the food supply is recolonizing poor countries predominated by people of color. In the names of free-trade and development, localized food economies and traditional food ways are being dismantled and replaced by a monoculture whose primary benefit is profit for transnational corporations. The U.S. continues to undermine the self-determination of people of color — and all people — by refusing to eliminate corporate subsidies and end the dumping of cheap grain (often patented GMO) into Africa and throughout the Global South.
Food for Maine’s Future has aligned ourselves with the 200,000,000 members of La Via Campesina from 69 countries because we share common struggles: Protecting the interests of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth, and agricultural workers; Stopping the expropriation of knowledge, land, and our collective seed heritage for privatization, patents, and profit; and Preserving a rural way of life that is economically, socially, and culturally vibrant.
As a widely-distributed voice for the food sovereignty movement in Maine, the content of Saving Seeds influences and shapes the debate around our key issues. Providing this forum for our partners in the Global South is crucial to accurately representing the breadth and diversity of this critical global movement. Food for Maine’s Future has hosted farmers from Bangladesh, Colombia, and Mexico for speaking tours and events in Maine and the Northeast, and FMF staff have participated in Via Campesina activities and actions in Mexico and Mozambique.
Food for Maine’s Future is fiscally-sponsored by Sustainable Harvest International.