The Maine Food Strategy is an initiative to create a broader and more strongly connected network of organizations, agencies, businesses and individuals contributing to the food system in Maine. The initiative seeks to convene a statewide participatory process that will identify and advance shared goals to support a robust food economy and a thriving natural resource base in our state.
Food plans and policies are not new to Maine, several having been developed or partially developed over the years for different parts of our food system. The Maine Food Strategy seeks to learn from those past efforts while building out a stronger network of engaged participants in order to increase the chances of making real positive and measurable change for as many sectors as possible.
At the same time, all of New England is starting to engage in a discussion of how the six states could, in fact, meet the majority of their food needs from within their own borders by the year 2060. This is a broad conversation, creating a “vision” of what is possible and, in that vision, Maine plays a large role as a food producer not just for itself but also for neighboring states. This represents an important opportunity for our food economy in Maine. Read more about the New England Food Vision here.
What is a “Food System?”
The term “food system” is used frequently in discussions about nutrition, food, health, economic development, food security, farming and fishing. A food system includes all processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: growing or harvesting, processing, packaging, aggregation, distribution, transportation, marketing, consumption and disposal/recycling of food and food-related items. It also includes the inputs needed and outputs generated at each of these steps. A food system operates within and is influenced by social, political, economic and environmental contexts. It also requires human resources that provide labor, research and education.