PHOTO COURTESY OF SÉAN ALONZO HARRIS AND MAINE FARMLAND TRUST
The story of the Maine food system is rich and multi-layered. At the convergence of land, sea and marine abundance, Maine has a distinct brand and heritage of producing high quality, authentic food and beverages. This commitment has resulted in visitors and locals alike clamoring to experience the world-class restaurants that are committed to providing locally, sustainably and responsibly sourced and harvested food. This is the story behind the plate, where attendees will go forward with a renewed and inspired perspective of Maine’s advantages, challenges and innovation in the food sector and answers the question, “Why Maine Food?”
The food sector in Maine has had a long and rich history in growing, harvesting and processing food and beverages. This has been built off of the natural amenity advantages of abundant land, water and marine resources. A significant and growing number of people across all corners of the state are employed or business owners in the food sector from production, processing, transportation and distribution, to retail in the form of farmers’ markets, co-ops, markets, grocery stores and restaurants. When restaurants and individuals source and purchase their food locally they are making an investment in Maine’s economy and people.
From farmers, to fishermen, to foragers, to chefs, Maine has earned the brand of producing high quality food and beverage. That brand of quality has resulted in Maine ranking 2nd in the United States for growth of young farmers, who have infused an entrepreneurial and innovative energy into a heritage industry. That innovation is being seen across the farmland, up and down Maine’s robust coastline in the fishing and aquaculture sectors, to what is on our plates.
On a Maine Food for Thought tour, we look forward to shining a light on the ingenuity, adaptability, and grit of those that work tirelessly on behalf of the Maine food sector to better the health of local economies, ecosystems and communities. We encourage you to learn more here about some of Maine’s producers and nonprofit and research organizations whose efforts will ensure a sustainable Maine future.