Welcome to the conversation about the past, present & future of the Maine food system!    

Big Question: Feast or Famine?

* We know we need to grow as much of our food within Maine as possible - for our environment, our economy & for our health!
* So how can Mainers take cooperative systemic action to make it happen sustainably?
80/20 BY 2020
Since 2006, Maine food policy has set an ambitious goal of getting Maine to produce 80% of its calories within Maine - leaving 20% needing to be imported from outside of Maine. 
Currently, Maine only produces 20% of its calories with Maine - leaving 80% needing to be imported.
Some scoff at this goal calling it impossible.  However, whether we achieve 80/20 by 2020 or 50/50 by 2050, this is the direction we need to take for our environment, our economy, and for our health.
This policy recognizes that it is aiming very high and that new infrastructure, new farmland, new processing facilities, new distribution systems, and new labor systems will be needed.
We need a good process that is wholly transparent and wholly inclusive to create a whole Maine Food System.  This will require more than one or two people; more than one or two organizations; and more than one or two meetings.  It will require connecting everyone from the grassroots to the top-level policymakers in the state.  It should involve lots of small face-to-face meetings as well as conference calls, tele-meeting sites, web meetings and and a state-of-the-art website to truly and fully engage Maine.  This is a project which goes beyond ideology and cuts across all lines of division.  This project offers us the opportunity to draw upon the best of the old and the best of the new. 
Many Mainers are still with us who remember when we were a primarily agriculturally-based state.  We have a system of Grange Halls across the state which have been struggling to survive.  What a perfect symbol and what a perfect setting for many of the meetings and events which will be required for this project!
We need everyone talking with everyone - producers & consumers, farmers & non-farmers, retailers & non-retailers, wholesalers & non-wholesalers, distributors & non-distributors ...
We need to gather our best experts for advice on economics, environment, land use, real estate, finance, transporation, labor, business, technology, and agriculture.
The process needs to be driven by the grassroots with these fine experts, which Maine is blessed to have, serving the process with information and perspective.