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Let’s grow the Future for Farming.

Much is at stake. Our economy.  Our environment. The viability of our rural communities. Our ability to feed ourselves and help feed others.

We recently launched our largest campaign ever, Securing a Future for Farming. This campaign will raise funds to:

  • protect 100,000 acres of Maine’s farmland
  • provide 1,000 farm families individualized services and support.

It’s going to take a whole lot of hard work to protect more farmland, help farmers thrive, and increase access to local food. We need your help.

A critical period of transition

Despite long-term promise, farming in Maine is hindered by current realities.
Today, the most profitable use of a 10-acre parcel with prime farm soils is all too often to drop a new house in the middle of it. Supermarkets and institutions often purchase “food from away” rather than Maine food based on savings of only pennies on the dollar. As a result, many Maine farm products do not now find their way to Maine consumers. Over time, more Maine farm products will become cost competitive, as more of the real costs of imported food are incorporated into the price. Over time, the highest economic use of Maine farmland will clearly be to grow food. But we are not yet there.

Meanwhile, farming in Maine also faces a demographic crisis.  The ownership of up to 400,000 acres of our best farmland will be in transition this decade, given the advanced age of many farmland owners.   The same is true of vast stretches of former farmland that could be returned to farming with the right forward-looking strategy. Someday, we will want and need all of this land for farming, both the land that is currently being farmed and other good land that could be farmed again. Yet if we don’t take action, much of this land could be converted to new uses that remove the possibility of farming. If—during this critical time of transition—we lose much more land to short-sighted development, or if we lose farming knowhow because we aren’t helping existing farmers remain in business or new farmers get started, then farming will never realize its promise.

For farming in Maine to continue to grow and for the local food movement to realize its full potential, we need a dedicated community of people who are passionate about Maine food and farms. Maine could become New England’s food basket. Together, we can grow the future of farming.

 

How? We need to:

Protect more farmland.
 Farmland is a resource every eater depends on every day. Protecting Maine’s precious farmland is the only way to ensure we will have farmland far into the future. Agricultural conservation easements protect farmland from subdivision and often allow the sale of land at a more affordable price.
Help farmers thrive.
 The growth of the local food movement depends on farmers who can turn farmland into working, vibrant farms. Innovative business planning, land search assistance, and help finding capital can enable farmers of all experience levels adapt and grow successful farm businesses.
Increase access to local food.
 For farmers to be successful, more people need to eat local food. Food hubs and community infrastructure can bring local food to the next level, allowing farmers to pool their products and gain access to larger, untapped markets like supermarkets, schools, and hospitals. But becoming New England’s food basket also means getting more Maine food into the hands of Mainers who need it most – through innovative projects that support farmers while distributing healthy food to some of our most food insecure neighbors.

Help us raise the next $1 million for the Future for Farming.

If you + 1,999 others give $10/month for 25 months we can raise $500,000.
The money raised will be MATCHED dollar-for-dollar by two generous donors.
So your $10/month will help us raise $1 million!

Donate Now

 

Campaign Press:

http://wabi.tv/2014/01/07/maine-farmland-trust-announces-second-phase-fundraising/ http://bangordailynews.com/2014/01/07/news/state/maine-farmland-trust-aims-to-raise-50-million-to-help-state-become-new-englands-food-basket/ http://kennebecvalley.wcsh6.com/news/news/930953-mood-upbeat-maine-agricultural-trades-show http://www.kjonline.com/news/Pittsfield__Palermo_farmers_value_land_protection_program_.html http://www.pressherald.com/news/LePage_says_children_should_have_work_option.html http://www.onlinesentinel.com/opinion/239490281.html

 

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