Local Food Rules Harvest Meal Hosted by Food for Maine’s Future

November 5, 2013

You are all invited to attend a potluck, harvest bounty swap and strategy session at the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast.

Saturday, November 16th from 11:30 to 1:30 at the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast.

Please bring yourselves, anyone else you know who is interested in the important food sovereignty work we are doing, a pot luck dish to share, you own picnic ware and an item from your own personal food bounty to place on the swap table.
And a good, productive time will be had by all!

Contact Betsy at hgarrold@yahoo.com with any questions.   See the event listing on our Facebook page.


Yale Food Sovereignty Conference

September 9, 2013

Bob St. Peter and Heather Retberg, board members of Food for Maine’s Future will be traveling to Yale this week to speak at an academic conference on the food sovereignty issue.   Here is a synopsis of the conference and then the short version of the paper that Heather participated in writing.   Very exciting and heady stuff.

“Sponsored by the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University and

the *Journal of Peasant Studies*, and co-organized by Food First, Initiatives in

Critical Agrarian Studies (ICAS) and the International Institute of Social

Studies (ISS) in The Hague, Yale Sustainable Food Project, as well as the

Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute (TNI), the conference “Food

Sovereignty: A Critical Dialogue” will be held at Yale University on

September 14–15, 2013. The event will bring together leading scholars and

political activists who are advocates of and sympathetic to the idea of

food sovereignty, as well as those who are skeptical to the concept of food

sovereignty to foster a critical and productive dialogue on the issue. The

purpose of the meeting is to examine what food sovereignty might mean, how

it might be variously construed, and what policies (e.g. of land use,

commodity policy, and food subsidies) it implies. Moreover, such a dialogue

aims at exploring whether the subject of food sovereignty has an

“intellectual future” in critical agrarian studies and, if so, on what



Conference Paper # 40: Community Autonomy and Local Food: Seeking Food

Sovereignty in Maine, by Hilda E. Kurtz in collaboration with Heather

Retberg and Bonnie Preston*


In 2011, a group of food and farmer activists in Maine set off a maelstrom

of political activity in and around the food sovereignty movement when they

drafted and placed on town meeting warrants a Local Food and Community

Self-Governance Ordinance. Intended to maintain the viability of small

farms in a struggling rural economy, these ordinances exempt direct

transactions of farm food from licensure and inspection. Their goal is to

maintain control of food at the local level by asserting the right to

remain autonomous from the corporate industrial food system. Conceptually,

they draw on a populist ethos and the town meeting tradition to invite

broad democratic participation in pressing claims for food sovereignty.

This paper traces the ordinance strategy and its effects through activist

networks and into the halls of the state capitol, where the governing and

the governed have wrestled over the last two years with fundamental and

difficult issues facing food systems. Recognizing the play of multiple food

sovereignties in different settings, we suggest that this work offers

insight into possible trajectories of food sovereignty as a movement for

radical change in the food system by reasserting the right to define a

local food system and drawing a protective boundary around traditional

foodways. The concept of food sovereignty – democratic control of the food

system, and the right of all people to define their own agrifood systems

(US Social Forum 2010) – implies a re-scaling of food production and trade

regimes, away from industrial scale production for international trade to

food systems organized at local and regional scales. Beyond such a

re-scaling, however, food sovereignty discourse is ambiguous if not

ambivalent about the geographic scales at which food sovereignty can and

should be achieved. Main ordinance advocates engage with the scale problem

directly by arguing for the need for scale appropriate regulations for

small scale production for direct sale; in addition, they draw on Maine’s

tradition of Home Rule to frame perhaps the first legible spatial

expression of food sovereignty in the United States. This paper examines

the ordinance strategy and its ripple effects as a politics of scale, in

which different expressions of geographic scale shape both the form and the

content of political debate. The stakes in this struggle are high,

concerning intersections of life and livelihood, autonomy and its absence,

and bases for knowing and for evaluating risk. We view these stakes as

biopolitics, or struggle over the exercise of biopower. In the exertion of

biopower, states (and other actors) manage population health through the

use of vital statistics and other technologies. Foucault demonstrates that

as new forms of knowledge and regimes of truth made population health

knowable, biological experience shaping individual and collective life,

like dietary practices, became linked to the exercise of state power. The

paper traces how the food sovereigntists of Maine use politics of scale to

face off against biopower as exercised through corporate influence over

food and farm regulations.”

Goat Milk is not a Crime!

August 30, 2013

Please come out and show your support for young mother Alorah and her
baby Carson. Faced with a threat from DHHS that Carson could be taken
away because the family fed him a homemade goat’s milk formula from
their own goats, this family has reached out to the broader community
for support.

Help us encircle them, support them and rally around them at 11:00 am September  5th in Cascade Park, State Street, Bangor.

From the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance which aims
to protect citizens from just this sort of agency overreach:

“Section 5.2. Right to Access and Produce Food. Name of Town citizens
possess the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume
local foods of their choosing.

Section 5.3. Right to Self-Governance. All citizens of Name of Town
possess the right to a form of governance which recognizes that all
power is inherent in the people, that all free governments are founded
on the people?s authority and consent.

Section 5.4. Right to Enforce. Name of Town citizens possess the right
to adopt measures which prevent the violation of the rights enumerated
in this Ordinance.”

Standing together protects us all! Hope to see you next Thursday in Bangor!

Blessings on your day!

Press Conference, Rally and Public Hearing Tomorrow in Augusta

May 6, 2013


PRESS CONFERENCE comes on the heels of Blue Hill farmer Dan Brown losing case against the Maine Department of Agriculture and State of Maine for unlicensed food sales.

Tuesday, May 7: Press Conference hosted by Food for Maine’s Future at 12:00pm in the State House, Welcome Center

Scheduled to speak:
Rep. Craig Hickman, Winthrop
Farmer and small business owner. Sponsor of LD1287 An Act to Deregulate Face-to-Face Transactions between the People and Small Farms and Small Food Producers.

Emma Simanton, Brooksville
Licensed dairy farmer and co-coordinator of Blue Hill’s Local Food Exchange.

Rep. Brian Jones, Freedom
Co-sponsor of LD 1287 and LD 475 An Act to Increase Food Sovereignty in Local Communities

Farmers, patrons, legislators, and representatives of Maine towns that have passed Local Food & Community Self-Governance Ordinances, TBA

Followed by public hearings in Room 214 of the Cross Bldg.:

Tuesday, May 7: Public Hearing on LD-1287 An Act to Deregulate Face-to-Face Transactions between the People and Small Farms and Small Food Producers will begin at 1pm in Cross Building, Room 214.
Bill Summary: This bill facilitates direct sales between Maine farmers and consumers. It allows persons preparing food in their own homes to sell directly to consumers or to offer homemade food at certain events without being licensed as food establishments.

Public Hearing on LD-1282 An Act To Help Small Farmers in Selling Raw Milk and Homemade Food Products

Bill Summary: This bill exempts from state licensing and inspection requirements homestead food operations and raw milk producers who sell small quantities of certain food products or raw milk products made or produced at the person’s residence or farm if the food products or raw milk products are sold directly from the person’s home or farm or farm stand or at a farmers’ market within the State.

Fast for Fair Food – Breaking the Fast – Day 6

March 10, 2012

Day Five of the Fast for Fair Food has winded down and an update of “fast postcards” pictorial has been posted.  It has been a week of high energy, spiritual bonding, a shared struggle for peace and justice.  As we head into Day Six, the eve of which we will break fast, there is tireless commitment, and relentless hope that the end of the fast will see also the end of the fight with Publix for “a penny a pound” and signing of Publix to the Fair Food Program.  Read the rest of this entry »

Fast for Fair Food – Day 3

March 8, 2012

Greetings from Immokalee, Florida! Since Monday I have been fasting alongside the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their allies in support of justice and dignity for Florida farmworkers in front of grocery giant Publix in Lakeland, Florida. It has been an honor sharing this time with the CIW, members of the Student Farmworker Alliance, numerous clergy from many faiths, and supporters from around Florida and the U.S.. Our fast is going well and everyone is in high spirits. We take strength from knowing that it is not a question as to “if” Publix will sign the Fair Food Agreement and help end poverty and abuse of Florida farmworkers, but “when”. Over the past year Food for Maine’s Future has marched and protested in solidarity with the CIW and I am often asked, “what does it have to do with us here in Maine?” Well, if you’ve eaten a tomato, an orange, or a strawberry this winter you can thank CIW members and others who work in the fields tending and harvesting these crops, because it’s likely come from Florida and even possibly from here in Immokalee, where I sit awaiting the weekly meeting at CIW headquarters. Food for Maine’s Future’s growing alliance with the CIW is bringing together the shared struggle of farmworkers and family farmers, because we understand that it is the same agricultural policies, the same foreign policies, and the same corporations who keep family farmers and farmworkers in poverty and prevent us from creating the kind of food system we know is fair, sustainable, and just. Standing together we will win justice and dignity for all who work to feed us, from seed to table. Please take a moment to share the CIW’s inspiring story with friends and family. Here’s a link to video of Day One of our 5 day Fast for Fair Food — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPd_ttxDwx0&feature=youtu.be

In peace and solidarity,

“Fast for Fair Food” – Supporting Coalition of Immokalee Workers

March 5, 2012

Today is day one of the “Fast for Fair Food” in support of Coalition of Immokalee Workers 150 participants, who include Food For Maine’s Future Executive Director, Bob St. Peter, are fasting in front of Publix’s Headquarters in Lakeland, FL. Fasters will have “daily medical check-ups, music, presentations, and standing in witness to the daily struggle for survival of their fellow farmworkers in the fields of Florida.” Support is coming in from all over the world. Many are holding their own fast where they live in solidarity for the workers.

Read the rest of this entry »