Ten Awesome Food Organizations in Maine
Launched by Food Tank and the James Beard Foundation, the first annual Good Food Org Guide identifies and celebrates more than five hundred U.S.-based groups including ten from Maine who are cultivating a better food system.
Cultivating Community is a Portland, ME nonprofit that supports environmental and social justice by growing food in their urban community and school gardens. They train new leaders and farmers and fight hunger by building sustainable communities.
Focus on Agriculture in Rural Maine Schools (FARMS) has built sustainable communities since 2004 through educational programs such as Harvest Lunches and garden-based curricula in area schools. Their initiatives emphasize nutrition, gardening, cooking, and bringing local food to school cafeterias.
Food and Medicine brings together unions, farmers, community groups, small businesses, and faith-based organizations to advocate for local food in Brewer, ME. Their mission also encompasses education and advocacy on labor issues, such as wage theft and unemployment.
Food for Maine’s Future pursues a mission to give people control of their own food systems through community organizing, politics, and policy around food issues. The group is founded on anti-oppression values and connects issues in Maine’s food system, such as genetic engineering and seed saving, to global reform movements.
Good Shepherd Food Bank redistributes millions of pounds of surplus food from local farmers and manufacturers within Maine’s local food industry to low-income residents across the state. The organization also engages in advocacy, nutrition education, and strategic partnerships to address the root causes of hunger.
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative works with harvesters, processors, retailers, and conservation organizations to ensure the ecological and economic stability of Maine’s coastal seafood industries. They created the “Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested” food label, which helps consumers make sustainable choices and creates a system that rewards seafood companies committed to reducing their ecological impacts.
The Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center (MAIC) was formed with the support of the Maine State Legislature in 1988 and is housed in the University of Maine’s office in Orono. MAIC supports applied aquaculture research, assists in policy research and advocacy, and acts as a clearinghouse for aquaculture information.
The Maine Grain Alliance (MGA) in Skowhegan, ME preserves and promotes the production and use of grains. By coordinating annual conferences and celebrations, MGA brings together farmers, chefs, bakers, and academics to share knowledge about growing grains and baking breads.
The Maine Lobstermen’s Association represents 1,200 lobstermen on the east coast of Maine and strives to protect fishing traditions and the lobster resource. The MLA advocates for the rights of lobstermen and keeps members up-todate on the latest policy developments and sustainable fishing practices.
Washington County Food and Fuel Alliance in eastern Maine promotes access to healthy food and networking for a more secure food system. They connect food pantries in the area and currently have a campaign to help families, schools, and commercial farmers build greenhouses.