Maine could feed itself and become the food basket of New England. But just because this could happen, doesn’t mean it will happen.
New initiatives around the state are creating ways to get more Maine food onto more Maine plates. Particularly welcome are the innovative efforts designed to help our most food insecure neighbors access more local farm products. New infrastructure and training help some of our smaller farms tap into larger markets such as supermarkets, schools, and hospitals. And farms of all sizes want help navigating the future through business planning that improves their financial and market resiliency.
Many of these initiatives are in the beginning stages, and need ongoing support in order to create real change in our food system.
For farming to be viable in Maine, we need successful farmers. These services help farmers thrive.
Working one-on-one, or with a team of specialists, we can help you improve your financial and market resilience, consider new products or markets, explore collaborations with other farmers, and respond to farm business challenges. Learn More.
If you are a farmer interested in selling (or selling more) to institutions, distributors, food hubs, or other wholesale markets, we provide high-level training and ongoing, substantive technical assistance to a group of 20 to 30 farms each year through our Farming for Wholesale program. If you are a farmer interested in growing across a longer season, we provide Four Season Farming workshops and technical assistance, in partnership with Clara Coleman. Learn More.
If you have occasional need for a seedbed cultivator or a mulch layer (or several other pieces of farm equipment), you may want to check out this service, which we operate in partnership with MOFGA. Learn More.
Maine farms often operate on the financial edge. If disaster strikes your farm, this fund may be able to offer you some support. Learn More.
MARKET DEVELOPMENT & LOCAL FOOD ACCESS
New forms of infrastructure and consumer outreach are needed to grow demand for local food and to expand markets for Maine farmers. At the same time, we see ways to increase farming while simultaneously reducing food insecurity.
Whether you are a farmer, a retailer, or a SNAP shopper, this program could benefit you. Maine Harvest Bucks enables low-income shoppers to bring home more locally grown fruits and vegetables at participating markets. The wins are three-fold: low-income shoppers access more healthy food; Maine farmers gain new customers; and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Learn More.
We lead this coalition of Maine organizations committed to growing access to local food in various ways. The current priority is to provide low-income customers at farmers markets, farm stands, and CSAs with nutrition incentives called Maine Harvest Bucks. Learn More.
We operate Veggies For All, a “food bank farm” that works to relieve hunger by growing vegetables for those in need. To date, over 130,000 pounds of high quality, nutritious food has been distributed through 11 partner food pantries. Learn More.
In partnership with the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, we support both farmers and consumers by helping farmers markets obtain Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) machines, which are necessary for markets to redeem SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps). This enables farmers to sell more and makes farmers markets more abundant and robust—a benefit to all consumers. Learn More.
Are you part of an organization thinking about creating your own food hub? Or a local official exploring what your community could do to support the farmers in your area by creating new infrastructure? We provide guidance and technical assistance to entrepreneurial organizations and communities exploring new ventures to grow our local food system. Learn More.
If you are a farmer looking for new markets, you may be interested in learning more about the Unity Food Hub, which aims to complement existing structures of distribution by creating new and more viable markets for Maine farmers. Beyond this, the Unity Food Hub increases food access for low-income consumers in a USDA-designated “food desert”. Learn More.
Are you in a position to develop or expand a compelling food-related project on the Blue Hill Peninsula? Each year, MFT awards grant funds for projects that promise to increase food sustainability and improve the health and well-being of Blue Hill Peninsula residents. Learn More.
Contact us if you are…
A farmer interested in business planning assistance or help “scaling up” to reach wholesale markets.
A food retailer or farmers market that wants to do more to help SNAP recipients access local food.
A food pantry operator wanting to distribute more local farm products.
An organization or community considering ways to create new markets for farmers through aggregating products, processing, or other methods.
Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.
Our work in Farm Viability must keep pace with the renewed interest in local farming, and the growing involvement of young farmers, if we are to retain and build new markets and get more Maine food onto more Maine plates. If you are not already an MFT member, please join today. If you are already a member, please consider a gift to support these critical and highly innovative Farm Viability programs.