Local, Sustainable Maine Food
Maine is on the cusp of an agricultural revival -- one in which local, sustainable farms, not factory farms, feed our state and beyond. That's why we're working to bring the local foods movement to scale.
Despite Maine’s proud agricultural and fishing tradition that carries on to this day, our state imports more of its food than any other state in the continental United States, meaning we rely heavily on our nation’s industrial agricultural system. For many of the same reasons this system is unsustainable, it also is vulnerable, especially to climate change.
In addition, one-third of Maine’s best farmland will change hands in the next 10 years, and land affordability is an issue with young farmers, so the viability of small family farms also is a critical conservation issue.
Enormous potential for growth
The good news is that Maine has the potential to feed much more of our state and even be the breadbasket for New England.
And we're on the right track. From 2002 to 2012, bucking the national trend, the number of farms in Maine increased by 13.5 percent, with much of the growth in small farms that sell directly to consumers such as through farmers markets.
Yet, that market is nearing saturation.
For farming to continue to grow in Maine, we need to help largely small farms scale up and reach bigger markets—where most people get most of their food.
Together, we can grow the local foods movement
This year, we're working to pass a bill in Augusta to lay the groundwork for Maine farmers, fishermen, and entrepreneurs to access the resources they need to reach bigger markets. We also worked to convince the University of Maine to obtain a portion of the food it provides students from local farms and fishermen. Currently 21% of thier food and beverage purchases are from local sources.
- Up to 90% of the food consumed by the average Mainer is produced out of state.
- Agriculture currently consumes nearly one-fifth of all fossil fuels used in America.
- Nearly 40% of Maine’s farms use sustainable practices to produce their food. We can do much more to expand the market for Maine’s sustainable farms.