Undeterred by monthly snowstorms, the 19-member Maine Food Strategy Steering Committee has been meeting throughout the winter to develop consensus around a set of draft goals for the initiative. Committee member Penny Jordan of Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth said she expected to be challenged by the process:
“When I decided to become part of the Steering Committee, I knew that the work would challenge me and my patience, but I knew if we brought together a committed group of informed people that embody Maine values and believe in possibilities, through our collective networks and relationships, we can influence the evolution of a food system that is dynamic and responsive,” Penny said.
Penny recently joined fellow committee members Mark Hews of M.E. Hews and Company and John Jemison, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension faculty member in looking at how the initiative can connect with more individuals and groups as it seeks both input and partners.
“As a member of the Maine Food Strategy, I appreciate the willingness of such a diverse group of people to tackle the very real challenge of balancing the larger food policy issues of developing a sustainable food system with the practical, on the ground, solutions that food producers are implementing every day,” said Mark Hews. “Finding a way to juggle process with action is never an easy road.”
On March 12th, a day-long workshop featuring the “You Get What You Measure” curriculum was facilitated by Samantha Dunne of Yellow Wood Associates, and Molly Anderson, a steering committee member trained in the process. Energized committee members work through the early steps of framing a strategy with measurable goals.
Over the coming month, the committee will look at what conditions need to be changed or created to support a set of broad goals aimed at strengthening Maine’s food system. The initiative anticipates releasing information for input from stakeholders later this spring.