Maine Food Strategy Network Agreement

The following outlines responsibilities and expectations for the Maine Food Strategy and individuals and groups working in partnership with the initiative to advance the values and goals described below. This document was created in June 2016 and will be revisited by network members and the Maine Food Strategy Steering Committee by the 2nd quarter of 2017.

Overview of the Initiative

The Maine Food Strategy is an initiative to create a broader and more strongly connected network of organizations and individuals contributing to the food system Maine. The initiative is working to advance statewide collaboration around a set of goals identified through a participatory planning process.

Maine Food Strategy Values

The Maine Food Strategy is committed to promoting activities that:
◾Provide economic opportunity for Maine people and Maine businesses
◾Build recognition for the important role food production plays in the health and vitality of Maine communities.
◾Ensure access to healthy food for all
◾Support a healthy environment

Network Structure and Staffing

The Maine Food Strategy is a network initiative whose fiscal sponsor is Third Sector New England, a Boston-based organization that provides administrative and other support for nonprofits and community groups.

Steering Committee & Leadership Team

The initiative is guided by a 15 to 19-member Steering Committee selected through an annual nomination process with volunteer members committing to two-year terms. The Steering Committee works with a 3 to 5-member Leadership Team elected annually from its ranks to provide support and leadership on administrative and operational issues and decisions.

Subcommittees

The initiative works with four subcommittees organized around the areas of economic development, food security, environmental interests and community development. Steering Committee members are expected to sit on at least one of the subcommittees and to date have provided the initial leadership of the subcommittees.

The purpose of the subcommittees is to identify, advance and (when needed) seek funding for collaborative activities that advance the initiative’s values, and the goals and objectives in its planning framework.

Subcommittees are supported by Maine Food Strategy staff with leadership provided by elected subcommittee chairs who are provided a stipend to perform leadership duties defined by their subcommittee and formalized in a contract with Third Sector New England.

Communication within the Network

Steering Committee & Leadership Team

The Maine Food Strategy Steering Committee meets the third Wednesday of every month or as needed; its Leadership Team meets the first Wednesday of every month as needed.

Subcommittees

Subcommittees meet quarterly and in between meetings on an as needed basis. Ongoing communications is expected between subcommittees and staff. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Maine Food Strategy and the subcommittees exists to clarify each entity’s responsibilities. Subcommittee participation is open to any individual or organization that agrees with the terms in the Subcommittee MOU.

The Network

The Maine Food Strategy hosts an annual network gathering each year in late fall or early December. The event agenda is informed by the Maine Food Strategy Steering Committee with input from subcommittees. The Gathering is open to all Network Members free of charge and to interested parties for a nominal registration fee.

Funding and Information on the Initiative

The Maine Food Strategy has been and continues to be supported by a variety of state, regional and national funders. The initiative is staffed by a part-time director and full-time project assistant. Information on the Maine Food Strategy can be found at www.mainefoodstrategy.org

Network Partners

Network Partners agree:

  • To work as part of a collaborative initiative to advance the values, goals and objectives of the Maine Food Strategy;
  • To contribute in one or more of the following ways:
    • Serving on the Steering Committee; Serving on a subcommittee;
    • Assisting with a specific activity or project connected to a subcommittee or the larger Initiative;
    • Providing space or resources to the initiative or its subcommittees to do their work; or, Assisting in organizing or contributing resources to the annual Network Gathering.
  • To respect the diversity of experiences and backgrounds of Network Members and commit to respectful discourse in meetings and discussions;
  • To prioritize the highest and best use of all resources available to the network including financial resources and relationships to support the greatest outcomes for Maine’s food system;
  • To share information from your organization that is relevant to the network (progress updates, data, etc.);
  • To share and promote information and resources of others involved in the Network that support or advance the initiative’s collective goals; and
  • To participate on behalf of your organization AND the Network as a whole.

By signing onto this agreement, I acknowledge that I and/or my organization, business or agency supports the Maine Food Strategy values, and the spirit and intent of the initiative’s planning framework and agree to fulfill to the best of my ability the commitments outlined above