A growing number of states are reimbursing schools for buying locally grown and produced foods in an effort to improve children's diets while supporting local farmers. Before the pandemic, eight states and the District of Columbia had programs that subsidize local food purchases at schools — seven more states have added these programs since 2020.
House Agriculture chairman Glenn Thompson acknowledged on Monday that time is tight for enactment of the new farm bill by Sept. 30, when current law expires. But he stuck to his frequent forecast of a bipartisan and bicameral bill "on time," which might mean a floor vote in the House.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources on Thursday killed a proposal by a Norwegian-backed company to build two massive salmon farms in the middle of pristine Frenchman Bay, next to Acadia National Park. The decision ended a long-running saga that had generated considerable opposition in the community over fears that the farms would foul the water and ruin the local fishing and shellfish industries.
Voters in Maine approved a constitutional amendment establishing a right to food in a landslide on Tuesday, despite disagreement over what it would mean, according to unofficial results. The amendment, the first such constitutional guarantee in the nation, was ahead by a 3-to-2 margin with votes counted in 507 of 571 precincts statewide.
Global food company Danone has given a year's notice to 79 organic dairy farms in the Northeast that it will stop buying their milk on Aug. 31, 2022. The decision is just the latest squeeze on organic dairy producers, who face rising costs and pressures to consolidate.
A proposal by a Norwegian-owned company to build two massive salmon farms in the middle of a pristine bay next to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine, has the community in revolt over fears that they will foul the water and ruin the local fishing and shellfish industries.(No paywall)
In March 2020, Covid-19 forced the Preble Street soup kitchen in Portland, Maine, to close its dining room for the first time in 39 years. But, as Christian Letourneau reports in FERN's latest story, published with Eater, the soup kitchen staff went mobile, tracking and delivering meals and other services to the growing ranks of the hungry and homeless who scattered across the city as shelters and other aid operations shut down or restricted access. (No paywall)
The debate about how to address climate change hasn't always portrayed agriculture as a tool for mitigating the effects of excess carbon in the atmosphere. But a new bill introduced Wednesday by Rep. Chellie Pingree brings farming into the climate spotlight with an ambitious goal of reaching net zero emissions in the agriculture sector by 2040.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage said it was “extremely disappointing” that the USDA denied his request to ban the purchase of candy and sugary drinks with food stamps on grounds it would help prevent obesity, reported the Bangor Daily News.
Three days after offering states more latitude in running the food stamp program, the Agriculture Department approved a two-year test in Arizona to reduce trafficking of benefits. The waiver could be the first in a series; Maine, for example, wants to bar purchase of candy and sugary beverages, including soda, through the anti-hunger program.
Fifth-term Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, a leading advocate in the House for small farmers and farmers’ markets, is considering a run for governor of Maine in 2018, says the Portland Press Herald.
More women are joining Maine’s lobster fleet, breaking down the old stereotype that women are just the fisherman’s wife. Last year, women held 434 of the state's 5,500-plus lobster licenses, hauling in a catch so physically demanding it has long been considered man's work, says NPR.
In 2010, the contraction of stressed eel fisheries in Europe and Japan touched off a gold rush for U.S. eels, and led to a multi-state smuggling effort that has produced 11 guilty pleas and is still unwinding in the courts, according to the latest story from The Food & Environment Reporting Network, in partnership with National Geographic.
The Obama administration gave a cold shoulder to Gov. Paul LePage's proposal to bar Mainers from spending food stamps on soda and candy. LePage "is optimistic the new administration will approve his revived proposal," says The Associated Press, adding that lawmakers in Tennessee and Alabama are pursuing the same idea.
Fishermen in Maine are experimenting with a new kind of trawl net that catches ample flatfish like flounder and sole, but leaves the plummeting cod population alone, says NPR. New Englanders once claimed they could walk across the water on the backs of cod, because they were so plentiful. But the fish is now struggling after decades of overfishing and rising water temperatures. Fishermen who catch them accidentally as bycatch are dinged by a quota manager.
With lucrative species like clams and lobsters moving northward to find cooler waters, climate change could be the final blow for East Coast fishermen, says The Associated Press. The industry has already been battered by overfishing, pollution, regulations, and foreign competition, but climate change is another level of challenge altogether.
Escalating a feud with the federal government, Gov. Paul LePage said Maine would pull out of the food stamp program, potentially cutting off benefits for 190,000 residents, if not allowed to ban purchase of junk food. An aide said LePage "did not threaten to end the program, he threatened to stop administering it ... so the feds would be forced to administer it in Maine."
Photographer Glenn Charles made 40 stops on a 16-day bicycle trip from Bridgeport, Conn, to Portland, Me, to follow fresh food from the field to the table.
A court decision in Maine over unlicensed sale of milk by a small farmer may carry implications for food sovereignty advocates.