Monday April 30, 2012 | 10:13 AM

There will be snacks, but don't expect any bottles of Poland Spring water at Tuesday's first meeting of the Food & Water Watch Portland Group. That's because one of the group's main initiatives will be to lobby for state legislation that would remove Maine's groundwater from the control of corporations. And in Maine when you talk about corporate control of groundwater much of the conversation surrounds Nestle Waters North America, which owns Poland Spring.

Nisha Swinton, who is the Maine coordinator for the DC-based consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch, explained that Maine's groundwater is governed by absolute dominion. This legal doctrine gives landowners unlimited rights to the groundwater flowing under the land's surface. In contrast, surface water is treated as a public resource and governed accordingly.

"Most states except for Maine and Texas have gotten rid of absolute dominion," Nisha said.

The group will also launch a campaign to require genetically modified foods to be labeled and "promote a local, sustainable regional food system."

In coming months, similar groups will be formed in Bangor, Lewiston, Fryeburg, the Midcoast and York County. Going forward, the Portland group plans to meet on the first Tuesday of each month.

Food & Water Watch Portland Group
Tuesday, May 1
7 to 8:30 p.m.
Think Tank, 533 Congress St., Portland
For more info & to register, visit:




About the Author

Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.

Meredith can be contacted at 791-6332 or
On Twitter: @meredithgoad

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