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RECENT RESEARCH

Farmer Engagement Report

During an engagement effort that was coordinated by a group of agriculture organizations and farm business owners between August 2018 and January 2019, farmers across the state were asked to share their ideas about what is needed to strengthen farm businesses and grow Maine agriculture. The purpose of this statewide engagement process is to inform state policy development and the programmatic offerings of agriculture service and education providers. A report synthesizing the feedback received through this process was finalized in June of 2019.

Learn more and read the full report here.

Research efforts underway for the Natural Climate Solutions Initiative

In recent years, land-based natural climate solutions have emerged as an important strategy to increase climate change resilience on farms and in our communities, while also improving farm profitability. Natural climate solutions include farmland protection, healthy soils practices, and other land management practices that increase carbon storage, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and improve water quality. Natural climate solutions can be adopted by farmers with operations of all sizes and production methods and can contribute to the financial viability of a farm, helping to both increase yields and save money over time.

MFT is leading the Maine Climate Table’s Natural Climate Solutions Initiative (NCSI), in collaboration with the University of MaineAmerican Farmland TrustWolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment, and other partners. Check back for updates soon.

Unity Food Hub Case Study

The Unity Food Hub (UFH) was a business that aggregated, marketed, and distributed food from Maine farms and food businesses from 2015 through 2017. UFH was owned and operated by Unity Food Hub Management, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of MFT. This Case Study documents the history, mission, and structure of UFH, the services it provided, and the changes it underwent while in operation. Based upon interviews with UFH staff and stakeholders, some market impact analysis, and exploration of the work of other food aggregators, the Case Study also describes UFH’s business model and its position within the local food economy, including the impact its services had on some of its farm partners. Through reviewing the challenges that UFH faced and the changing circumstances in which it operated, this Case Study also explains the reasoning behind the ultimate decision to cease its aggregation and distribution operations in 2017. Full Case Study HERE.

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