January 23, 2013

Natural Foodie: Maine Food Strategy reaching out to reap ideas

By Avery Yale Kamila akamila@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

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John and Ramona Snell of Snell Family Farm in Buxton harvest red potatoes last summer. Getting more Maine-grown vegetables onto local dinner plates is a goal of the Maine Food Strategy.

2012 File Photo/John Patriquin

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Lobstermen Peter Pray, left, and son Eric sort lobsters on Lady Catherine while docked at Harbor Fish Market in Portland last summer. The Maine Food Strategy will include plans to help commercial fishermen and sea vegetable harvesters.

2012 File Photo/Tim Greenway

Additional Photos Below

THE MAINE FOOD STRATEGY

AN ACTION PLAN for strengthening Maine's farming, fishing and food economy.

INFO: mainefoodstrategy.org

Achieving these objectives will require an understanding of existing challenges and opportunities.

Shelley Doak, another Maine Food Strategy participant and executive director of the Maine Grocers Association, said one way to help farmers and food processors get their products on store shelves is by continuing the mentoring programs offered by association members.

"What we've been trying to do is to provide education to food entrepreneurs and informing them of food safety standards, labeling requirements, production and distribution," Doak said. "Helping them understand what the criteria is for getting their products from the production facility to the retailer, and that can often mean to the wholesaler who distributes to the retailers. It's helping them follow the correct course."

Doak said another promising initiative is the Market Ready Program launched last September by the Maine Food Producers Alliance.

The program aims to assist food processors in addressing regulatory and logistical issues, such as product safety testing and purchasing electricity on the industrial market.

People or organizations who want to be involved in the process are encouraged to visit mainefoodstrategy.org, where they can sign up for email updates, contact the project team with suggestions, volunteer to host a stakeholder meeting or join a working group.

"Our future food security ought to be one of the most important things to us," Beal said. "We all need to eat. We know we want to eat well and be healthy and have good quality of life. This is the time we can be thinking forward to the opportunities that are ahead of us and ones we're in the midst of."

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: akamila@pressherald.com

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila

 

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Additional Photos

20121024_FarMarket
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Mary Ellen Chad of Green Spark Farm in Cape Elizabeth bags baby bok choy, chard and tat soi for Nicole Pelkey of Portland at the farmers market in Portland’s Monument Square. The Maine Food Strategy aims to increase shoppers’ access to local food.

2012 File Photo/Gordon Chibroski

  


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