MOFGA director: No Maine farm should go out of business during this pandemic

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We have to have community, sustainable agriculture a lot more than at any time. Here is how to make that transpire.

By Sarah AlexanderSpecial to the Push Herald

As we determine out how to offer with day-to-working day life in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, we can be positive of a person thing: We all have to have access to wholesome, nutrient-dense foodstuff to aid keep our particular well being.
Each and every working day we get crystal clear symptoms of the gaps in our nearby foodstuff procedure – vacant store cabinets, hungry youngsters who depend on faculty foods and farmers who are anxious that they could possibly go out of business simply because dining establishments are closing.

Farms are still making foodstuff just about every working day – cows are getting milked, greens are getting grown, seeds are currently being planted – but Maine’s essential processing, distribution and industry devices are not set up to adequately get domestically developed food into the fingers of Mainers. Virtually 90 per cent of the food stuff that Mainers take in will come from exterior of our location, generating us susceptible to countrywide and global interruptions in our meals source.
Mainers should do two items suitable away to enable make sure we have reputable resources of nutritious food stuff now and in the future.
The initial factor we can do is aid our neighborhood food producers. Lots of farmers marketplaces are adopting security protocols and relocating outdoors so that they can be safe and sound pickup details for area meals. Even though you must follow social distancing and deliver someone else to select up food stuff for you if you are ill, be sure to proceed to aid these area marketplaces.
Several farms are also placing up “no touch” farmstands where we can order instantly from them and select up a prepackaged bag of food items at the farm. You can obtain the latest on mofga.org. Please verify on the internet first in advance of likely to a farm to guarantee they’re open and discover out what treatments they’ve put in place.
In addition to supermarkets and foodstuff co-ops distributing additional community items, eating places that are doing takeout meals may also grow to be a order and distribution point for regional foodstuff.
The 2nd urgent motion we have to have is for Gov. Mills and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, as nicely as our congressional delegation, to make unexpected emergency funds offered to farms so that not a single Maine farm goes out of organization all through this pandemic. The Small Organization Administration financial loans that have been publicized presently are not readily available to agricultural firms.

The condition really should also raise the money that are going into the Mainers Feeding Mainers application, to assure that all those who need high-quality food items the most can accessibility it, and that our producers are paid out a fair price tag for their items.
The point out should also allocate crisis cash to ramp up the aggregation, processing and distribution channels for Maine items. Natural milk producers have to ship all their milk outside the house of Maine to be processed. We have to have condition-funded processing to make sure that Maine-generated foodstuff feeds Mainers.
Maine was the breadbasket of New England for a lot of our 200-12 months record as a point out, but over the final 50 a long time, we’ve allow our neighborhood foods process decay. As companies consolidated their control of the food items market, it turned more affordable to create processed foods from manufacturing facility farms and monocultures in the Midwest. Not only did this shift from a area and regional foodstuff economy to a world wide food stuff procedure hurt our farms, but it hurt our general public wellness.
As we see how vulnerable our foodstuff process is, now is the time to double down on supporting nearby farms. This virus will not be the very last risk to feeding Mainers that we confront, especially as the impacts of local weather improve and similar environmental troubles compound. When we appear out of this emergency, not only really should each and every Maine farm nonetheless be in enterprise, but our point out also need to be generating the variety of investments wanted to make sure that we have a trusted meals technique able of supporting local producers and nourishing all Mainers in the upcoming.

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