A year’s subscription is just $22.00. That's four quarterly issues with in depth investigative reporting.Please send your Name, Address, and a check or money order to:
Ramona du Houx, PO Box 311, Solon, ME 04979.
Maine Insights is a non-profit 501(c)4 corporation and an associate member of the Maine Press Association. Contributions to help support this publication — dedicated to growing Maine communities — are very appreciated. Please click here for a Paypal link..
“Maine is at the forefront when it comes to small, local farms,” said Rep Adam Goode. “We should be doing all we can to make sure more people have the opportunity to buy food grown in Maine by our local farmers.”
But according to the 2010 Census, nearly one in seven Mainers is considered “food insecure,” meaning there is a limited or uncertain food supply. The bill would bring together several local and regional groups working on food policy throughout the state, as well as farmers and other interested parties. Today the State Senate unanimously passed a measure to establish a food policy council to develop a plan to increase access to locally grown and sustainable food for more Mainers across the state.
“Quite simply, we can do more to help hungry Mainers. We have the local resources to produce much more food in Maine, and feed many more Maine people. While we struggle with this food crisis, we have farmland ready for production and a labor force ready to work,” said Senate President Justin Alfond, the bill’s sponsor.
Alfond’s bill establishes the Maine Farm-to-Plate Commission, tasked with developing a strategic plan for agricultural economic development and identifying methods and the funding necessary to strengthen links among producers, processors, and markets.
A genetically modified organisms (GMO) labeling bill passed in the Maine legislature Wednesday, making it the second state, after Connecticut, to put a bill forward that would require food products to be labeled if they contain GMOs.
Maine’s House of Representatives approved LD 718 with 141 to 4 vote on Tuesday. The state’s Senate passed an GMO bill after amendments unanimously Wednesday. The differences between the two bills are currently being negotiated and will require further votes in the House and Senate before going to Governor Le Page for his signature.
The GMO labeling bill will not go into effect until two other Northeastern states enact labeling laws. New Hampshire and New York are currently considering GMO labeling legislation.
The US Senate version of the farm bill, passed yesterday. The legislation contained a number of provisions that originated in a bill written by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Senator Sherrod Brown designed to reform the nation’s farm policy.
The bill—a reauthorization of the Farm Bill—included provisions that promote and expand local agriculture.
“Local farming is good for the economy because the money consumers spend on food ends up staying in the community,” said Pingree. “And local food is also good for families who can put healthy, high quality food on the table.”
Unfortunately the Senate bill cuts money for food stamps by $4 billion over the next decade. The House version calls for cuts five times that size.
Fruits, vegetables and perennial herbs will be incorporated into the landscape of Capitol Park under a measure that became law May 29,2013.
Across America gardeners are transforming their home landscapes into edible gardens, reconnecting to gardening as a source of food that is beautiful to grow- and to eat. Tomatoes, arugula, squash and their other vegetable brethren have now found new homes nestled beside roses, marigolds and violets. Herbs and edible flowers are also harvested and added to salads, sandwiches and even ice creams. Once that harvest is in many, in Maine, share the bounty with neighbors.
“Gardens grow much more than food,” said Rep. Brian Jones, a co-sponsor. “They build community.”
The legislation sponsored by Rep. Craig Hickman became public law without the governor’s signature as it had a 2/3 rd’s majority.
“I want people, especially children, to see local agriculture when they visit the State House,” said Hickman. “I want them to see how beautiful food-producing plants can be.”
Chris Hamilton the Associate Director of MOFGA discussing the GMO labeling bill at the Capitol. photo by Morgan Rogers
Maine may become the first state to pass legislation that would require the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMO plants are grown from seeds that are altered to resist insecticides and herbicides.
Over 30 citizens gathered at the State House the morning of May 30th to tell their representatives that they want GMOs in food labeled. A poll conduced by Pan Atlantic SMS Group has shown that 91.1 percent of Mainers support labeling of food that contains GMOs.
“When there is scientific uncertainty associated with something, our position is that consumers deserve a label so they can make their own choices and manage their own risks,” said Logan Perkins of Maine Organic Farmers Growers Association, (MOFGA), who coordinated the citizen’s lobby day.
LD 718, “An Act to Protect Maine Food Consumers’ Right to Know about Genetically Engineered Food and Seed Stock,” sponsored by Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington, was voted in favor 8-5 in the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and is now being sent to the full legislature for vote. If the bill passes in Maine it also must pass in four other Northeastern states to enact the labeling law. Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York are currently considering legislation that would require the labeling of GMO food products.
Citizens in Maine protest against Monsanto and GMO’s in food on May 25, 2013 in Portland, Maine. photo by Morgan Rogers
Over 600 Mainers participated in a protest against the agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto May 25th in Portland. The event happened simultaneously around the world in 52 countries and 436 cities, according to organizers.
“With this kind of corporate power that has been growing the whole concept of ‘We the people,’ is now in danger of becoming a footnote in our history instead of the foundation of our nation’s existence,” said Malory Shaughnessy, co-chair of the Greater Portland Move to Amend Group.
Protesters gathered at Monument Square, listened to speeches, and marched in a rally to bring awareness to the health hazards surrounding genetically modified plants and to push for genetically modified organisms (GMO), food labeling. GMO plants are grown from seeds that are altered to resist insecticides and herbicides.
The rally against GMO’s and Monsanto in Portland, Maine. The event was one of hundreds around the world today. photo by Morgan Rogers
Over 600 Mainers participated in a protest against the agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto earlier this afternoon at 2pm in Portland. The event happened simultaneously around the world in hundreds of cities.
Protesters gathered at Monument Square, listened to speeches, and marched in a rally to bring awareness to the health hazards surrounding genetically modified plants. GMO plants are grown from seeds that have been altered and enhanced chemically to resist insecticides and herbicides.
Maine is currently considering legislation that will require labeling of GMO’s in foods as the chemical alterations to the seeds has been brought into question. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) was represented at the rally. MOFGA is asking for citizens to attend a lobby day Thursday, May 30th, at the Capitol, to show support for LD 718, An Act to Protect Maine Food Consumers’ Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Food and Seed Stock. The proposed legislation is currently up for vote in the House and Senate.
Similar legislation was introduced to Congress with a bill cosponsored by 1st district Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.
A number of significant reforms that Congresswoman Chellie Pingree authored as part of her Local Farms Food and Jobs Act were adopted this week by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. The Committees, controlled by Democrats in the Senate and Republicans in the House, voted in favor of two versions of a Farm Bill that contain Pingree’s reforms designed to open new markets for sustainable farmers and increase consumer access to local food. The Farm Bill passed the Senate Committee on Tuesday and the House Committee late last night.
“Farm policy in this country has been skewed in favor of big agribusinesses but in the last year we’ve made some significant progress in reforming it in favor of local, sustainable farms,” Pingree said. “These ideas are rapidly becoming more mainstream as consumers realize that local food isn’t just good for their families but it’s good for the local economy too.”
Pingree first introduced the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act in the House in 2011 with Senator Sherrod Brown. Since then, many of the proposals in her bill were adopted as part of the Farm Bill, the 5-year funding bill that determines national farm policy.
Over a hundred people protested in favor of a bill before the legislature demanding labels on ford that has been grown by seeds that have been genetically changed.
The Maine Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry (ACF) Committee voted this afternoon to support LD 718, An Act To Protect Maine Food Consumers’ Right to Know about Genetically Engineered Food. The vote came three weeks after a public hearing in which almost 100 people submitted testimony in favor of labeling foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
“We are thrilled and inspired by the ACF’s vote this afternoon,” said Heather Spalding, Interim Executive Director at MOFGA. “We fully expect pushback from the biotech industry and recognize that they are already throwing their weight around in Maine. But we will not be bullied by an industry that hides the truth from the public. If their technology is so safe and has such promise, why don’t they let the world know about it with simple labeling?”
Despite overwhelming public support for labeling, and a record 123 legislative co-sponsors of the bill, the ACF Committee waited to hear the opinion of the State’s Attorney General Janet Mills. Today she asserted that, if enacted, the law would be certain to face legal challenges on constitutional grounds. However, she did not say unequivocally that the bill was unconstitutional. Rather, she cautioned that the Legislature carefully consider first amendment, commerce clause, and preemption concerns that the biotech industry would use in a lawsuit against the state.
A Consumer Reports Investigation: Talking Turkey released April 30,2013 revealed an alarming percentage of fecal bacteria in ground turkey products.
“In our first-ever lab analysis of ground turkey bought at retail stores nationwide, more than half of the packages of raw ground meat and patties tested positive for fecal bacteria. Some samples harbored other germs, including salmonella and staphylococcus aureus, two of the leading causes of foodborne illness in the U.S. Overall, 90 percent of the samples had one or more of the five bacteria for which we tested,” states the report.
In the report most of the 257 turkey samples that were tested proved positive for harmful strains of bacteria, which has alarmed many consumer groups. The industrial agriculture practice of frequently feeding animals antibiotics can make germs more resistant to them.
Farms that support a smaller number of animals in less stressful environments lead to healthier animals. Maine is one state that has grown small family farms and is leading the nation with the most organic producers per capita.
If you are interested in advertising with Maine Insights in print or here online, please get in touch via our contact page.
Click here to view our rate card to see our current advertising offerings.
Discounts are available for nonprofits and long term advertising. We reach all Maine’s large cities and towns across the state. Please, inquire. I’m sure we can work out something to accommodate your needs.
Maine Insights is a non-profit 501(c)4 corporation and an associate member of the Maine Press Association. Contributions to help support this publication — dedicated to growing Maine communities — are very appreciated. Please click here for a Paypal link. We look forward to continuing to serve you as we have for the past seven years! Thank you for your insights and support.
“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” — Thomas Jefferson, 1787