Many businesses, people, agencies and groups in Maine are already working on food, food systems, food security, food economic development and more, right?
What does The Maine Food Strategy add to this mix that isn’t already there?
An inclusive, participatory process that convenes all the folks already working in the food system world but that, also, strives to ensure authentic, primary voices are heard, especially from those who haven’t been able to easily participate in the past.
The ability to facilitate the creation of a statewide food strategy and action plan by and for the producers, businesses and communities of Maine, rather than produce a plan in an inaccessible way.
A neutral, apolitical and non-governmental effort undertaking broad public service without public funding (though many government agency folks are around The Maine Food Strategy table, of course).
A deep respect for the dozens of agencies, organizations, businesses and individuals already working doggedly at improving the food system in their own unique and powerful ways.
The ability to hold a broad – and often complex – vision that explicitly includes both land and sea-based food production systems, production for local consumption as well as production to feed the broader region. The food system in Maine is related to the economy, land use, health and nutrition, labor, culture, food security, investment and more. This is big.
Functional and fruitful connections to a New England-wide food system planning and visioning effort that will allow us to surface unique opportunities for Maine producers.
Research capacity to address the many questions we have about how our current food system and food economy work in Maine, as well as to get real numbers around the potential for growing this sector and enhancing how well we do at strengthening our food system.
An understanding that the process of connecting the many nodes in our network (based on true collaboration, shared goals and resources, aligned to accelerate achievement) is just as important as the product (of creating a “Plan” or strategy and sets of goals and work plans).
An antidote to a historical pattern of disconnected or poorly connected efforts across the state that compete for resources and often duplicate work and create inefficiencies. This project encourages an ethos of “We’re all in this together” so that we can champion one another’s strengths and leverage our own.