Farm to School programs come in many shapes and sizes unique to the communities that build them. After exploring the resources and existing programs on the left, contact your state Farm to School lead for additional information and assistance specific to Maine:
Ellen (Ellie) Libby
Maine's current farm to school movement consists of many diverse, grassroots projects including an annual Maine Harvest Lunch, seasonal tastings of Maine-fresh food, ongoing school purchasing relationships with farms, and several school garden and greenhouse projects. Many of these efforts are linked with school curriculum and often incorporate local foods into school meal programs through systematic direct purchasing. Organizations including community development organizations, health coalitions and professional associations, schools, and farms have taken the lead on developing farm to school projects in their local communities. In September, 2007, more than 200 schools participated in the first statewide Maine Harvest Lunch event!
This local grassroots energy is catalyzing ideas toward more formal organization and promotion of policy that supports foodservice programs interested in buying locally and farmers interested in the school market. Maine farm to school groups are working on better coordinating their efforts around the state. The state Department of Agriculture and Department of Education provide support to these groups and also helped launch a statewide farm to school email listserv. In addition to a series of statewide farm to school networking meetings organized by the Western Mountains Alliance, Healthy Acadia, and recent networking discussed in conjunction with the Eat Local Foods Coalition, broad interest in farm to school has been demonstrated at workshops and conferences sponsored by the Maine Department of Education, Maine Nutrition Network, Cooperative Extension, local ag groups, GrowSmart Maine, the Maine School Food Service Association, the Maine Chapters of the American Association of Pediatrics and Family Practice, Maine School Nurses Association, and the Coordinated School Health Program.
A compilation of Maine farm to school resources, including information on sourcing, preparing, and teaching about local foods is available on the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) website at http://www.mofga.org/Resources/MaineHarvestLunch/tabid/817/Default.aspx. For additional information please visit the following websites:
Maine School Food Service Association (MSFSA)
WMA Eat Smart Eat Local
Maine Department of Education (Agriculture Education and Child Nutrition Services Programs)
Maine Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITCA)
Focus on Agriculture in Rural Maine Schools (FARMS)
See Existing Programs for more information on farm to school efforts in Maine.