Lyndsey Marston is the Director of MFT's Stewardship Program, and monitors MFT's farm easements in…
Now’s the time to dig in and support Maine farms and our local food economy. Over the last few weeks it’s been amazing to see how farmers and the food and farm community have pivoted and adapted in the face of unprecedented uncertainty. MFT and our partners are working with farmers and are committed to providing support as Maine farm businesses weather the current storm.
You can help make sure farms are supported and push for a resilient food system that can nourish all Mainers. Here’s how:
1. Buy local food: Many farms are doubling down or pivoting to direct to consumer sales and are finding creative, low-exposure ways to get food to their communities. Seek out your local farm stands, pop-up markets, farm delivery services, buying clubs, etc. Sign up for a CSA share or stock up on bulk meat and dry goods. This is typically a leaner time of year for many farmers, as they plant and prepare for the summer growing season, so be understanding of where farmers are at and double check availability and offerings before you venture to a farm. Many natural food stores and food co-ops offer a full array of local products and are taking extra precautions to create a safe shopping experience, and many restaurants that use local ingredients are offering take-out and delivery options. Over the last few weeks some great resources have cropped up to help you find food from local farms right now: Maine Farm Product & Pick-Up Directory / Local Food Anywhere / Maine Organic Farms
2. Advocate for Maine farms: Sign up for our policy email list so you can stay up to date on actions that you can take at the state and federal levels. So many of you called your members of Congress last week, and thanks to you, the Senate and House passed an aid package that includes relief for farms, which the President has signed into law. It’s just the first step — now we need to push for that money to be allocated in ways that will best support Maine farmers. MFT has been working with farmers and partners across the state, Maine’s congressional delegation, and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to ensure that funding is available for the producers in Maine who need it, and that there is support for Maine farmers and food businesses to address market disruptions, labor issues, safety needs, local food access for low-income community members, and all of the other issues that have resulted from this pandemic. Here’s the latest. + Sign up here to receive our action alerts.
3. Support our work to help farmers through the crisis: MFT’s programming helps farmers grow thriving businesses. You can support our work to help farmers modify and adjust business plans in response to Covid-19, to amplify the needs of farmers to the broader community, and to advocate for policies and programs that work for Maine farmers. Every bit helps.
4. Invest in a resilient local food system: Covid-19 will not be the last threat Maine farms face. We can only anticipate more disruption as climate change impacts the global supply chain and economic factors compound. This crisis underscores the urgent need to work together to grow a vibrant local food system that honors the land, the farmers, farmworkers, and nourishes all of us and our communities. You can invest in a brighter, resilient future now by supporting our work.