Tag Archives: Maine

The Future of Maine Food Sovereignty Movement | Instant News

The increasing popularity of municipal regulations on food production in Maine can attract federal preemption challenges.

For nearly a decade, in response to the growing food sovereignty movement by small-scale farmers, Maine has done so experimenting in a radical self-government over food production. During this time state efforts had clashed with the federal food safety regulatory regime that was overseen by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Despite the movement for food sovereignty growth and success, the potential for federal preemption that always exists threatens its long-term survival.

The Maine food sovereignty movement secured its first major policy victory in 2011, when, in response to grassroots pressure on the state to protect its small-scale farmers, the Legislature of Maine passed joint resolution “to oppose any federal law, law or regulation that seeks to threaten our human rights to save seeds and grow, process, consume and exchange food and agricultural products” within the state. Joint resolution is not a law but more than that express “Special recognition or opinion” —in this case, vocal differences of opinion with the federal government.

That same year, the municipality began to adopt food sovereignty regulations (FSO). FSO model stated that his authority derives from “inherent, irrevocable, and fundamental rights of the citizens of the city for self-government,” as well Maine Constitution and house rules Constitution. Some FSO go furthermore, adding that “it is against the law for any law or regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the rights recognized by this regulation.”

Legal commentators in general is assumed that this procedure will be preceded by state and federal law but will still provide a strong expressive function. Four months later, Maine suing Farmer Brown, a small dairy farmer for selling raw milk without a license, testing legality of the FSO. Maine Supreme Court avoided determine whether the state law precedes the FSO and decides against farmers for other reasons.

Despite a joint resolution, without state authorization, the specter of state preemption remains – that is, until 2017 when grassroots pressure makes the governor sign the law. Maine Food Sovereignty Act (MFSA). Action allowed municipalities to adopt FSO which will replace state and federal regulations, are subject to certain conditions which are not heavy.

But the state is not the highest authority in regulating food. Although states adopt their own food regulations in accordance with and in accordance with federal regulations, federal law requires states to ensure that state and local requirements are at least as stringent as federal requirements. Country can, too operate their own meat and poultry inspection program if they meet and enforce “at least the same” requirements imposed by the federal government. Maine is one of 27 states that have USDA make it possible to inspect smaller meat processing facilities.

Because of the federal supervisory regime’s expansive authority over food, the MFSA surprisingly ruffled the USDA’s fur. A few weeks before the country’s laws take effect, the USDA shipped letter to the governor threatening to transfer meat and poultry control from the state to federal inspectors. USDA debate that Maine cannot ensure that its state and local requirements will be as stringent as federal regulations, bearing in mind that Maine, by applying the MFSA, has declared municipal sovereignty over food regulations. If the USDA is followed up with the threat, only the USDA facility will be legal, which is this farmer debate, will prohibit the sale of processed meat at current state-licensed facilities, force state facilities to close, and paralyze many state family farms.

To avoid such results, state legislatures was called in emergency session to change MFSA. The amended version substantially eroded the power of cities by stipulating that the state would continue to request state inspections and licenses in accordance with federal laws for meat and poultry. MFSA now limit local control over products to situations that involve face-to-face interactions at actual food production – agricultural sites, not farmers’ markets.

This year, 73 cities in Maine have adopted FSO, affecting about 187,260 people. Twenty-six of these cities passed such procedures in 2019 alone, and many others is expected follow. The USDA and FDA have so far remained silent, despite legal scholars to debate that the specter of federal preemption still appears in the background.

However, federal silence provides an opportunity for the movement for food sovereignty grow across Maine and even expand to another state – at least for now. The amended MFSA no longer clashes with the USDA authority, and only the FDA had been authority over products entering trade between countries. However, if the movement for food sovereignty continues to grow, it will probably reach the point where intrastate trade is effective Becomes trade between countries. Decree of the US Supreme Court in 1942 in Wickard v. Philburn, followed by a 2005 decision in Jakarta Gonzales v. Raich, both support the FDA’s authority over intrastate activities that substantially affect trade between countries. If enough parents buy their food from farmers covered by the FSO, they can have such an effect.

Consistent federal court decisions was found that interstate trade requirements pose “no obstacles” to FDA regulations regarding even “activities that appear to be fully intrastate.” The question then becomes: at what point will the FDA object to the Maine self-regulation project?

Given the FDA for a long time the opposite for raw milk (one of the main products distributed on local farms under MFSA), the FDA may be more willing to challenge the food sovereignty movement. For example, in response to a failed 2010 lawsuit against the FDA that sought to reverse the state’s ban on raw milk, the government respond that “there is no historical tradition ‘rooted in’ about unlimited access to all types of food.” His argument rejects the right to choose food to be bought and consumed. The FDA is also explicit be warned towards raw milk consumption but noted that it tolerates intrastate distribution.

The Maine food sovereignty movement could eventually become a victim of its own success – if it grows enough to affect interstate commerce and if the FDA decides to challenge it. To date, however, the most obvious threat to food sovereignty is the FDA authority which is widely interpreted and its dislike of raw milk.


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A seaside food truck in Bangor to resume operations this week – Bangor – Bangor Daily News – BDN Maine | Instant News

Gabor Degre | BDN

Gabor Degre | BDN

Food trucks are parked on the Bangor beach on June 12, 2018, this photo file.

Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which BDN has made free for the public. You can support our critical reporting on Coronavirus with buy a digital subscription or donate directly to the newsroom.

The Bangor’s Waterfront food truck will reopen starting this week – a few weeks after their typical seasonal debut in mid-May due to the coronavirus pandemic, but just in time for warmer weather.

Five places for waterfront food trucks will start hosting vendors this weekend, according to Tracy Willette, director of parks and recreation Bangor, with Jerk Shack JJ hoping to open on Saturday, and Pompeii Pizza ’The mobile pizza oven will open on June 1. MELT, Casa Mexicana and Wild Cow Creamery will complete the formation in mid-June.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

Parks and recreation staff have met with vendors to coordinate how to operate food trucks safely and allow social distance.

“Based on current guidelines, each truck will use a curbside, grab-and-go model to start the season,” Willette said. “The presentation side of each truck has been reoriented to face the parking lot. This allows us to build a food court area for each truck to build a 6 foot service line that is included in each lane. “

Other Bangor food trucks that are not by the sea are in various stages of opening. Lobstah buoys has been open since April 1 in the Bangor Funplex parking lot, and YumBus is set to continue making crepes on Sunday at the Bangor Farmers Market in Abbott Square in June.

Watch: Food trucks come to Portland in 2013


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Think outside the Box – Editorial – Bangor Daily News – BDN Maine | Instant News

Robert F. Bukaty | The AP

Robert F. Bukaty | The AP

Mike Goodhartt and other workers at L.L. The Bean Shipping Center donated canned food to be distributed for food throughout the state of Maine, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in Freeport, Maine. Outdoor retailers, who experienced a decline in sales due to coronavirus, partnered with the Good Shepherd food bank.

Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which BDN has made free for the public. You can support our critical reporting on Coronavirus with buy a digital subscription or donate directly to the newsroom.

It is surprising title last week: “Maine will miss a $ 3 billion food program aimed at helping food kitchens.”

That’s a lot of money, and there is very concerning projections about food insecurity in Maine during the COVID-19 pandemic, so let’s say we are among those who have problems so that our country doesn’t see a successful offer for the Farmer Lunch Box program.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

The general idea behind this program, which partners with food suppliers to buy and distribute fresh products to food and other non-profit banks that serve people in need, is good. While some food suppliers are experiencing a decline in demand and food banks are seeing an increased need for their services, it makes sense to try to tackle this problem together.

But as President Good Shepherd Food Bank, Kristen Miale pointed out to BDN, despite taking some innovative steps, the program from the USDA does not match the reality of food distribution in Maine.

The fact that the program requires the use of family-sized boxes is a perfect example, if unfortunate, of a one-size approach for all.

“The development of the USDA lunch box program is hasty, confusing, and not transparent,” Chellie Pingree told BDN in a statement. “The scholarship recipients are chosen arbitrarily and chosen without showing whether they have the capacity to overcome our country’s food insecurity. The agency does not emphasize local or select contractors who will buy from Maine farmers or send to hungry Mainers. “

Miale said that while the program structure had distributors packing boxes and sending them directly to food banks could work in more urban areas, and places that had larger food distributors, but that was less applicable in Maine where Good Shepherd, The state’s largest hunger relief organization, obtains and then distributes food to many local small kitchens. Under the current requirements of the lunch box program, which can lead to inefficient dismantling and repackaging of the box.

“The double impact of programs like this is that we think we can support Maine businesses and feed Maine people,” Miale said last week after Maine received zero successful bids. “To not be able to use one of these federal dollars is cause for concern.”

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry is also concerned about Maine which is basically not included in the funding of this lunch box program. Department Commissioner Amanda Beal writing a letter to the USDA on Thursday asking for a second round of offers and increased flexibility in the program.

“We ask the USDA to strongly consider reopening the bidding process for this fall, which will give distributors and partners in Maine sufficient time to develop plans to implement this program,” Beal wrote.

Miale said Good Shepherd worked with Pineland Farms in Aroostook County to develop offerings, and also wanted to see more flexibility in the program, especially the ability to skip steps that included aggregation and packing in boxes. We agree. The USDA needs to think outside the box – literally – and allow more focus on the products and people involved, and less on packaging.

“In addition, we suggest that the USDA consider increasing design flexibility

“assembling boxes to enable local producer boxes, filled with state-produced vegetables, dairy products and meat that can be distributed in smaller regions in each state,” Beal added in his letter here. “Local partners know firsthand how to maximize efficiency reducing food safety issues and streamlining labor and distribution methods. “

The lunch box program aims to help farmers, food distributors and people who feel food insecurity at the same time. But without adjustments, it won’t help anyone in Maine. It was also just a piece of a large farm, the puzzle of hunger and hunger during the pandemic that was included $ 16 billion in direct assistance to farmers. Pingree believes that the creation of defective USDA regulations has basically placed this support “beyond the reach of local and regional farmers.”

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King helped introduce Agriculture Support for State Law in the Senate last week, which will provide $ 1 billion in food and agricultural assistance to the state. Pingree has sponsored a law in the House of Representatives.

In addition to the USDA moving forward with the second round, more flexible than the lunch box program, Congress must act to provide more direct assistance to countries so they can work with farmers, food distributors, food banks and others to target funds in ways that better reflect local reality.

Continuing to help food producers and food insecure people through this pandemic will require more thought, and the presentation of flexibility and healthy understanding that the challenges of the food system currently felt in Iowa or Florida are not necessarily the same as those here in Maine.


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The latest about coronavirus and Maine – State – Bangor Daily News – BDN Maine | Instant News

Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN

Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN

Lindsey Thomsen (CQ) faces spring weather with Blue, her eight-month-old Australian Shepherd, at Broadway Park in Bangor on May 20.

Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which BDN has made free for the public. You can support our critical reporting on Coronavirus with buy a digital subscription or donate directly to the newsroom.

Today is Monday and Remembrance Day. Another major died when health officials on Sunday confirmed that 42 more cases of coronavirus had been detected in Maine.

There have now been 2,055 cases throughout the state of Maine since the outbreak began here in March, The Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Sunday.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

The number of victims in the entire state reached 78.

This is the latest news about coronavirus and its effects in Maine.

– “This Remembrance Day, veterans will not come to Bangor – or any community – to march in marches. Clapping spectators will not march on the streets to entertain them. Thousands of people will not gather at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, in honor of the war of the dead nation. “- Abigail Curtis, BDN

– “Older workers now find themselves confronted with questions about how long they want to work and how it intersects with their finances in the post-coronavirus world. That will depend on how quickly the economy bounces back from the economic turmoil that left more than 100,000 Mainers out of work. “- Jessica Piper, BDN

– “Since construction has been considered an important business during the Maine Maine corona-related economic shutdown, work continues more or less as is usual for thousands of workers, but with additional safety measures, personal protective equipment and social distance.” – Eesha Pendharkar, BDN

– “Two more detainees tested positive for COVID-19, the Maine Corrections Department said on Saturday. The men, convicts at the Maine Penitentiary in Windham, were the third and fourth detainees in the state who were diagnosed after the facility began testing on the entire campus last week after the first positive case was confirmed. “- Abigail Curtis, BDN

– “This year’s Remembrance Day will pay homage not only to those who died on the battlefield but also to soldiers who have fallen recently. And as a reminder of how coronaviruses are changing the lives and traditions of America, many Remembrance Day meetings are usually canceled or restricted – remembering a pandemic that has killed more than 90,000 people in the U.S. “- The Associated Press

– “It’s spring in Maine and we run the Corona River. Nobody checked this river before, nobody could tell us what lay ahead. “- Geoff Gratwick, guest opinion column

Watch: Who can make reservations at the Maine hotel next month?

– On Monday morning, the corona virus had sickened 1,643,499 people in all 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the US Virgin Islands, and caused 97,722 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Drug.

– Elsewhere in New England, there were 6,372 deaths from the corona virus in Massachusetts, 3,693 in Connecticut, 608 in Rhode Island, 209 in New Hampshire and 54 in Vermont.


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The Maine Museum is closed – but you can still experience it at home – Arts & Culture – Bangor Daily News – BDN Maine | Instant News

Lauren Abbate | BDN

Lauren Abbate | BDN

The Maine Center for Contemporary Art moved to Rockland in 2016 to become part of the city’s thriving arts community. Next month, CMCA will host the opening of its first online exhibition.

Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which BDN has made free for the public. You can support our critical reporting on Coronavirus with buy a digital subscription or donate directly to the newsroom.

ROCKLAND, Maine – When a pandemic forced cultural institutions to close their doors in March, people at the Farnsworth Museum of Art and the Maine Center for Contemporary Art knew that they still needed to give Mainers a way to immerse themselves in art.

The idea of ​​art as a way to establish relationships between people and to help people express themselves during a period of mental hardship is the driving force behind the decision to take this famous art institute be a virtual space for now.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

“We are somewhat interested in the idea that self-expression is an important component of health and well-being and that is an important thing about art and being in a museum. “People use art all the time to express the things they face or the difficulties of dealing with and how difficult it is to be in such a world,” said Farnsworth’s Head of Progress Ann Scheflen.

Second Farnsworth and CMCA have their collections available online before the forced closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But now the museum offers a powerful online program around the volume of this artwork for all viewers.

Involving children in art is a top priority for both institutions. After closing, one of Farnsworth’s art educators arranged a green screen in his home and began recording online lessons for use by teachers. Under normal circumstances, Farnsworth works with around 17,000 students across the state through the Arts in Education program.

“The classroom is still in a meeting [virtually] and has a kind of curriculum but art is rather low on the priority list, “Scheflen said. “But for teachers who work with us, they know how important art is at a time like this.”

At CMCA, age-detailed lesson plans are made around each of their past exhibitions – available for viewing via virtual tours on their website. An art camp scheduled for an April break instead of being moved to Facebook Live, where they also hold Saturday’s art-making workshops for all ages.

In an effort to keep their follower community connected and involved, Farnsworth began publishing bulletins that came out twice a week. It contains everything from curator talks centered around the museum’s collection to interviews with local artists and artmaking activities at home.

Gabor Degre | bdn

Gabor Degre | bdn

Farnsworth Art Museum in Downtown Rockland.

The list of newsletter subscriptions has doubled week after week, Scheflen said, and inspired strangers to give donations to the museum with gratitude.

“Art is about expressing the things you see and feel. We know it is something that leads to better health and well-being, “Scheflen said. “Just because the building is closed, there is still art around. By switching online, we feel we really help people. “

The museums must also think about ways to maintain the social aspects of art when people cannot gather to celebrate. Next month, CMCA will host the opening of its first online exhibition. The virtual tour of artist Erin Johnson’s new exhibition will launch on June 6, followed by a reception held through the Zoom video conferencing platform, where Johnson and others will speak.

“We just ask everyone to pour a glass of wine for themselves and have some useful snacks and such have a festive atmosphere from everyone who gathered for the virtual opening,” said CMCA Executive Director Suzette McAvoy.

While the closure has caused challenges, there are also some unexpected benefits for the museum. With an online presence, Maine art that is in the spotlight of every museum is now reaching a national audience.

McAvoy said that they followed Facebook and Instagram has increased over the past two months and reaches a younger audience than they usually see.

“This allows us to expand our audience in ways we did not expect. “Our reach is not only in the entire state, it is far outside,” McAvoy said.

In addition, with the complicated summer galley canceled, museum staff have more time to launch projects that they could not do before. The CMCA included launching a 10-week art history course led by one of the museum association curators. With a registration limit of 20 people, the course – held weekly through Zoom – is almost full with 19 participants.

In its current position, Farnsworth hopes to reopen in June and CMCA hopes to reopen July 1. However, social distance guidelines must be upheld and there will be a limit on the number of people who can visit the museum at one time.

“There is no substitute for being in the presence of physical art,” McAvoy said. “We will all be excited to do that when we can safely gather again.”

Watch: Janet Mills outlines her plans for reopening


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