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New Guide for Towns Working to Encourage Local Farming

New guide released this week by Maine Farmland Trust and American Farmland Trust

After years of decline, farming in Maine is on the rise. But farmers still face challenges, and communities can help farmers address them.  A new guide released this week by Maine Farmland Trust and American Farmland Trust provides specific examples and suggestions of what local officials and residents can do to support farming in their communities.  “There is great opportunity at the local level,” explained John Piotti, executive director of Maine Farmland Trust. “Some communities have made a real difference by enacting farmer-friendly land-use ordinances, encouraging farmers to enroll in current use taxation programs, or committing funds to farmland protection projects,” he said. Piotti should know.  In addition to his work on agriculture statewide, he is from Unity, where farming has been the centerpiece of local community development efforts for the past fifteen years.  During this period, Unity’s land-use ordinance was recast to include several provisions to support farms and protect farmland, while a grass-roots organization named Unity Barn Raisers began a farmers market and a community meals program that showcases local food. The newly published guide, Cultivating Maine’s Agricultural Future, describes some of what’s been done in Unity and many other Maine communities, including Turner, Cape Elizabeth, Monmouth, and Bowdoinham. Beyond this, the guide provides a set of tools from which a town can chose those best suited to its circumstances and situation. For an online copy of the guide: CLICK HERE

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