Posts Tagged ‘food sovereignty’

Food Sovereignty is Now the Law of the Land in Maine

Heather and Bonnie, among many others, at one of our events during the long struggle to reach this day!


On June 16th at 10 am in the morning, Gov. LePage signed LD 725, an Act to Recognize Local Control Regarding Food Systems, it now becomes a law in the state of Maine!

I sit at my computer with tears of joy running down my face. This has been a six year struggle against the corporate food monopolies to protect and enhance the traditional food-ways in our state. The law takes effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns this session.   


 
We at Food for Maine’s Future and Local Food RULES encourage towns that may have been fence-sitting to get out and pass the Local Food and Community Self Governance Ordinance. Let us know if you are working on that or thinking about doing it, give your town officials the good news!  If you know people who might be interested in other towns, encourage them.  We are prepared to help people get it done.

The vote in the Senate was unanimous. Not so much in the House. Check out the roll call results here: <http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/rollcall.asp?ID=280063572&chamber=House&serialnumber=189&gt;  And, if you have a mind to, drop a note to the governor and thank him for signing this, oh so important, bill.

Quoting Bonnie Preston’s email. “Thank you to the sponsor, Sen. Troy Jackson for introducing it and guiding it through the process; as Minority Leader in the Senate, it was work on top of a very busy session and he gave us more time than we had expected.  Co-sponsors Rep. Michelle Dunphy, Rep. Craig Hickman, Sen. Brian Langley, Rep. John Martin, Sen. David Miramant , and Rep. Ralph Chapman also deserve thanks.  We could not have done this without Rep. Hickman, who was a knowledgeable, inspiring and persuasive leader whose own bills over the years moved the work along; Rep. Chapman, an astute legislator who gave us tremendous support and encouragement and met with us several times to teach us strategy and process and sponsored LD 835, which we still hope to see pass; and Sen. Langley, who proved to be an excellent listener as we met with him on an issue he had not been familiar with and was especially helpful in bringing the Republican legislators into the fold.  The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund paid for the lobbyists we had the last two sessions, Hillary Lister and Betsy Garrold.  (They did not get $500.00 a day (or whatever) like the corporate lobbyists!)  There were countless people in the [20] towns who passed the ordinance, doing amazing work.  And of course there were all of you, responding to our near constant pleas to write to people.  Grassroots democracy at its best!”

Below is the bill as it will be entered into the law books.

APPROVED

JUNE 16, 2017 BY GOVERNOR

CHAPTER

215 PUBLIC LAW

STATE OF MAINE
_____
IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD TWO THOUSAND AND SEVENTEEN _____

S.P. 242 – L.D. 725
An Act To Recognize Local Control Regarding Food Systems

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 7-A MRSA §101, sub-§2-B is enacted to read:

2-B. Local food system. “Local food system” means a community food system within a municipality that integrates food production, processing, consumption, direct producer-to-consumer exchanges and other traditional foodways to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health and well-being of the municipality and its residents.

Sec. 2. 7-A MRSA §201-B is enacted to read: §201-B. Local authority to regulate food systems

Pursuant to the home rule authority granted to municipalities by Title 30-A, section 3001 and by the Constitution of Maine, Article VIII, Part Second, and pursuant to section 201-A, and notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a municipal government may regulate by ordinance local food systems, and the State shall recognize such ordinances.

An ordinance adopted by a municipality pursuant to this section must apply only to food or food products that are grown, produced or processed by individuals within that municipality who sell directly to consumers.

Any food or food products grown, produced or processed in the municipality intended for wholesale or retail distribution outside of the municipality must be grown, produced or processed in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations.

[With thanks to Bonnie Preston whose email I freely plagiarized to write this post. Bonnie is one of our most stalwart volunteers and has put in more hours than you can count on this issue. Especially thanks to Heather Retberg, our farmer leader, who, I swear to the Goddess, does not sleep. And to her farming and life partner Phil for sparing her to us for this fight.]

Heather and Phil Retberg at their farm, Quill’s End, in Penobscot, Maine.

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2nd Installment

Hi, there still here at CommonBound!   The second workshop I attended this morning was about storytelling.   Here is what I learned.  The five elements of a good story: conflict, characters (hero, villain, victim), imagery/show don’t tell, foreshadowing, underlying assumption.    Very, very good workshop.   A few good exercises.  “People will only go where they have first been in their minds (and I would add in their hearts).”   The presenter , Christine Cordero from the Center for Story Based Strategy, (gotta love that their website is called “beautifultrouble”) very dynamic young woman.   A workshop that was well worth my time and worth sitting in a very crowded room full of sweaty people.

So I was sitting here eating lunch and writing this blog and I hear a group of folks behind me talking about working with their state agriculture committee and the GMO labelling bill.   Turned around and put in my two cents worth.   In the first workshop I attended this morning a question was asked about “right sizing” regulation in the banking and food industry.   The panelist could answer the banking piece but I spoke up about the food sovereignty movement and our efforts in Maine to get legislation passed that regulates small farms differently from big agribusiness.   This weekend is all about serendipity and being where you are, when you are with whatever information you may have and sharing that with the folks around you.    It’s a great concept.

Oh, and we got a video greeting from Elizabeth Warren.   Very nice.

Maine State Legislature Says the “S” Word

Went to a board meeting for Food for Maine’s Future on Saturday.   As usual we did a lot of great planning for the next year of activity.   More about that later.  I did want to share this bit of good news.  It happened in June but is worth mentioning again.  The Maine State Legislature passed  the following (proposed by Aaron Libby District 139):

JOINT RESOLUTION EXPRESSING THE SENTIMENT OF THE LEGISLATURE FOR FOOD SOVEREIGNTY

WHEREAS, according to the Declaration of Independence, all people “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”; and

WHEREAS, food is human sustenance and is the fundamental prerequisite to life; and

WHEREAS, the basis of human sustenance rests on the ability of all people to save seed and grow, process, consume and exchange food and farm products; and

WHEREAS, it is our obligation as elected representatives of the people of Maine to protect the fundamental freedoms as enshrined by the Constitution of Maine and the United States Constitution and to protect agricultural, ecological and economic diversity and sustainability for a free and healthy society; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED: That We, the Members of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Legislature now assembled in the First Regular Session, on behalf of the people we represent, and in recognition of our State’s proud agricultural heritage, take this opportunity to oppose any federal statute, law or regulation that attempts to threaten our basic human right to save seed and grow, process, consume and exchange food and farm products within the State of Maine.

Maine Legislative Pages: http://www.legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/bills_125th/billpdfs/HP117601.pdf