Agricultural and Food Policy Articles in Maine Policy Review


Sustainability of Maine’s Emerging Wine Industry

Michaela Murray, Mark Haggerty, and Stephanie Welcomer

Maine Policy Review 29(1): 32-44

Consumers, businesses and business sectors, and policymakers are increasingly concerned with sustainability, and the global wine industry has long acknowledged concerns about the social, environmental, and economic sustainability of their industry. Several wine regions, including France, Australia, and South Africa, have developed workbooks and policies for sustainable wine production, but Maine’s emerging wine industry has yet to explore the concept of sustainability as it relates to its operations. In this project, designed in collaboration with the Maine Winery Guild, we interviewed the owners of 10 Maine wineries and analyzed how they define and enact sustainability along with the obstacles they face in sustainability efforts. This research aims to provide baseline information that will help the guild and policymakers formulate actions that enable Maine’s wine industry to grow and compete with other sustainability-conscious wine regions.


Using Cooperation Science to Strengthen Maine’s Local Food Economy

Authors: Afton Hupper, Sujan Chakraborty, and Timothy M. Waring

Maine Policy Review 28(2): 23-33

While Maine’s food system has enjoyed a recent surge in demand for local food, this opportunity for economic growth has been impeded by a difficult business climate for farmers, small business owners, and institutions. We believe this difficult business climate necessitates policy interventions to sustain the local food economy. Cooperation science can be used to tackle the social dilemmas persisting in Maine’s local food economy and buttress the argument for increased support from the state. In this article, we implement the framework of cooperation to address the key concerns of farm viability, business succession, and increased food sourcing in local institutions from local producers in Maine.

Circular Food Systems in Maine: Findings from an Interdisciplinary Study of Food Waste Management

Authors: Skyler Horton, Hannah Nadeau, Andrew Flynn, Taylor Patterson, Shayla Rose Kleisinger, and Brieanne Berry

Maine Policy Review 28(1): 59-71

This paper explores challenges and opportunities for reducing food waste in Maine through five distinct, yet interrelated, case studies. Our research focuses on how Maine might create and support a more circular food system that can reduce waste and promote the use of surplus food in agricultural and industrial processes. This stakeholder-engaged research identifies potential policy interventions across scales, but also highlights the need for more interdisciplinary research opportunities for students. Our research adopts an interdisciplinary approach, and our team members represent diverse academic backgrounds, including nursing, the human dimensions of climate change, environmental engineering, ecology and environmental sciences, biomedical engineering, and anthropology. This interdisciplinary team acts as a model for future groups interested in finding long-term answers to problems that require complex understanding and analysis.


Sharing Isn’t Easy: Food Waste and Food Redistribution in Maine K–12 Schools

Authors: Berry, Brieanne, and Acheson, Ann

Maine Policy Review 26(1): 47-58

Approximately 30 percent of food in the United States is wasted. When food is landfilled instead of eaten, the economic and natural resources used to produce and transport that food are also wasted. At the same time, however, food insecurity remains a pressing issue both in the United States and within the state of Maine. This paper explores efforts to reduce food waste and address food insecurity in Maine’s K–12 school system, with an emphasis on food redistribution. Research indicates that schools produce substantial amounts of food waste, but little is known about strategies that schools employ to address food waste, either through formal policy or grassroots efforts. Based on an analysis of school board waste policies and interviews with school officials in Maine, this study suggests that the adoption of specific types of practices to reduce food waste is influenced by multiple factors.

Maine’s Artisan Cheesemakers: The Opportunities and Challenges of Being an Artist, Scientist, Agriculturalist, Alchemist, and Entrepreneur

Authors: Welcomer, Stephanie; MacRae, Jean; Davis, Brady; and Searles, Jacob

Maine’s artisanal cheese sector has grown rapidly in the last six years. Maine cheesemakers take a variety of approaches including those based on farmsteads and operations sourcing milk from local dairies. This study examines cheesemakers’ business operations and their approaches to sustainability, opportunities, and threats. Cheesemakers report that they derive several benefits from their enterprise, but that they face challenges to ensure their long-term sustainability.


A Smiling Face Is Half The Meal: The Role of Cooperation in Sustaining Maine’s Local Food Industry

Authors:  Tremblay, Ethan; Waring, Timothy

Maine Policy Review 23(2): 43-50

The U.S. is experiencing a renaissance in local food production, and Maine is among the states leading that resurgence. This renaissance is influenced by many factors, and has both economic and social dimensions. This article examines the role of cooperation in the local food industry across a range of local food organizations. The authors conclude that cooperation plays different yet crucial roles in all local food organizations, and is an important part of the success of the local food industry as whole. The article considers the policy implications of these findings, and suggests that while the prevalence of cooperation is a healthy sign for a young industry, it does not guarantee the strength or longevity of the industry.


Farming’s Future Depends on Continued Innovation

Authors:  Piotti, John

Maine Policy Review 23(1): 90-91

Farming is on the upswing in Maine, with many innovative practices and institutions described in this article.


Place-based Approaches to Alternative Energy: The Potential for Forest and Grass Biomass for Aroostook County

Authors: Johnston, Jason; Cardenas, Soraya

Maine Policy Review 21(1): 66-75

Teams at the University of Maine Presque Isle and the University of Maine at Forth Kent are engaged in evaluating the potential for forest and grass biomass energy in Aroostook County, funded through Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative. The article discusses how this potential is being evaluated and the possible ways in which expanding grass and wood biomass might benefit farmers and residents of The County. It suggests that using some of Maine’s farmland for fuel might be sustainable with appropriate management and with consideration for potential environmental and socioeconomic drawbacks


Education on Food, Fisheries and Agriculture

Authors:  Anderson, Molly

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 210-214

This article describes the important role of education in helping the growing workforce in food-related industries, as well as the general population. The author notes that education in Maine about food, fisheries, and agriculture is provided in a wide variety of venues: formal degrees at colleges and universities; Cooperative Extension; farm-to-school programs; the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA); and even educational farms. A sidebar by John Rebar discusses the work of University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Maine’s Food System: An Overview and Assessment

Authors:  Beck, D. Robin; Carleton, Nikkilee; Steinhoff, Hedda; Wallace, Daniel; Lapping, Mark

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 18-34

From an agrarian and seafaring past, Maine’s food system has seen profound changes over the past two centuries. Grain, milk, livestock, fish, potatoes, vegetables and fruits used to come from small, family farms. Today, most people in Maine don’t know where their food comes from. Many are dependent on federal, state and local “emergency food systems” such as food stamps, food pantries, and childhood nutrition programs. Food-processing facilities, distribution systems, and value-added products are in short supply. Nevertheless, Maine has a diversity and abundance of food prod­ucts. In this article, the authors provide a historical overview and current analysis of Maine’s food system, highlighting encouraging trends and opportunities for the state.

It’s Growing Season for Maine’s Food System

Authors: Felder, Deborah

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 12-16

In the introduction to this special issue, guest editor Deb Felder lays out the elements of a sustainable food system. She notes that the increased interest in more ecologically sustainable, safe, humane, and economical community-supported food systems has “put Maine in the forefront of the food movement.”

Bringing Local Foods to the Farm Bill

Authors:  Pingree, Chellie

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 10-11

U.S. House Representative Chellie Pingree addresses the importance of revising the Federal Farm Bill to provide greater support to small, local farms if Maine and the nation are to have a sustainable food system..

Economic Contribution of Maine’s Food Industry

Authors: Gabe, Todd M.; McConnon Jr., James C.; Kersbergen, Richard

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 36-45

Using existing state and federal data and Maine IMPLAN, a state-of-the-art economic modeling system, the authors present an overview of the economic contributions of Maine’s food industry. This includes food makers (farms, fisheries, food-processing companies) and food sellers (grocery stores, direct sales, restaurants). Each play a unique, but interconnected, role in the Maine economy and add up to significant economic impact.

Economic Impact of Organic Farming in Maine

Authors:        Beach, Jed

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 46-47

Maine’s organic farm sector is growing, and as described in this article, is contributing to the state’s economy and communities in many positive ways.

Growing Maine’s Foodscape, Growing Maine’s Future

Authors: Lindenfeld, Laura; Silka, Linda

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 48-52

Maine is experiencing a culinary renaissance. Creativity and entrepreneurship linked with culture and tradition are making Maine a food destination and a unique “foodscape.” Laura Lindenfeld and Linda Silka explore this convergence and its poten­tial to create jobs, protect assets, and support commu­nity values.

Farms and the Working Landscape

Authors:        Piotti, John

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 57-60

After years of losing farms and farmers, Maine is seeing an increase in the number of acres being farmed due partly to a resurgence of interest in farming and new tools that help preserve working landscapes. These tools include agricul­tural easements such as those offered by the Land for Maine’s Future, the Buy/Protect/Sell program at Maine Farmland Trust, local ordinances, and several federal programs

An Abundant Food System

Authors:        Libby, Russell

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 61-65

Russell Libby imagines what an abundant food system would look like for Maine and what it would take to get there. His recommendations include expanding the production and financing base, encouraging year-round production systems, building up mid-sized markets, and integrating farms into the ecosystem

Getting What We Pay For (and Other Unintended Consequences): An Overview of Federal Agricultural Policy

Authors: Hayes, MaryAnn

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 66-76

The reauthoriza­tion of the Federal Farm Bill in 2012 means that activity is heating up to reform U.S. agricultural, nutrition, and energy policy. Mary Ann Hayes provides an overview of the Farm Bill’s history, its intended and unintended consequences, and what can be hoped for in 2012.

Maine’s Dairy Relief Program

Authors: Drake, Tim

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 77-78

This short article looks at Maine’s dairy-relief program, which is viewed as national model of good public policy that can save jobs, support traditional industry, and keep a critical link in our food system

By Land and By Sea

Authors:  Beal, Amanda

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 105-105

This short article discusses the results of the By Land and By Sea project, in which Maine fishermen and farmers came together to discuss common concerns and to forge new solutions aimed at re-envisioning a unified food system.

Healthy Food Access and Affordability: “We Can Pay the Farmer or We Can Pay the Hospital”

Authors: Schumacher, Gus; Nischan, Michel; Simon, Daniel Bowman

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 124-139

The authors provide a history and overview of federal food assistance efforts, especially food supplement programs, and the policy implications for Maine and national nutrition-incentive programs. They present a profile of the work of Wholesome Wave, which aims to increase affordability and access to locally grown food.

Historical Perspectives on Resource Use in Food Systems

Authors:   Jemison, John; Beal, Amanda

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 163-171

No one would deny that industrial agriculture and fishing have been highly productive—but at what cost? This article explores the historical development and contemporary impact of food production on the environment, availability of water and other resources, energy, food safety, and even our waistlines

Resource, Environment and Energy Considerations for Maine Food Security in 2050 and Beyond

Authors:  Beal, Amanda; Jemison, John

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 172-182

This article discusses some of the expensive “externalities” produced by industrial agriculture and fishing. These include impaired watershed quality, soil degradation, pollution, reduction in biodiversity, and impacts on human health. The article also includes a discussion of transgenic crops and how they relate to sustainable agriculture.

Maine’s Food-Related Workforce: Characteristics and Challenges

Authors:   Carter, Valerie J.

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 190-208

As described in this article, people who produce, process, transport, sell, prepare, and serve food are a key part not only of the food system but the economy overall. In Maine, by a conservative estimate they are almost 17 percent of the total workforce and range from farmers and fishermen to truckers, cooks, waitstaff, and cashiers. Some work in food-related enterprises, while others perform food-related tasks in other kinds of organizations, such as schools or hospitals. Although the food-related workforce is diverse, the author points out that the majority of workers and entrepreneurs are poorly paid; many work only part-time; few have health insurance or other benefits; and many work under hazardous conditions. Sidebars in the article discuss sub-groups of this workforce: refugee agriculture (Amy Carrington), migrant workers (Juan Perez-Febles), and the increase in young farmers in Maine (Elizabeth Banwell).

Local and Regional Food Systems: A USDA Priority

Authors:  Manuel, Virginia

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 227-227

Virginia Manuel gives examples of innovative Maine food production, distribution and processing projects and businesses and the ways USDA rural development is financing them.

Farm to School

Authors:        Winston, Amy

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 233-236

Farm to school programs aim to link institutional purchasing to local food producers. This article describes how these programs in Maine have the potential to not only benefit food producers and communities economically but also to improve the health of schoolchildren and to reduce the carbon footprint of food production.

Kitchen Gardens: From the White House to Your House

Authors:  English, Jean; Fox, Douglas

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 237-237

This short article discusses how having small “kitchen gardens” can reduce fossil inputs, keep food and energy dollars in local communities, and add resilience for individuals and local economies in the face of economic downturns.

Unity Food Hub: Creating New Opportunities for Local Farms

Authors:  Gold, Michael

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 239-239

Unity, Maine, as described in this case study, has grown into a “food hub,” as defined by the USDA. With support from the Maine Farmland Trust, a number of local development options are being explored.

Franklin County: Agriculture as a “Sleeping Giant”

Authors:        Swain, Tanya

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 240-240

Franklin County, Maine was once a major farming area. This case study describes efforts underway to revive and grow agriculture in this rural area in the state’s western mountains


Genetically Modified Food: What Are Mainers Thinking?

Authors:  Teisl, Mario F.; Garner, Luke; Roe, Brian; Vayda, Michael E.

Maine Policy Review 13(1): 56-67

Whether to allow genetically modified (GM) foods in Maine, and if so, under what circumstances, has been hotly debated in recent years. The authors explore one aspect of the issue—Mainers’ attitudes about the labeling of GM foods. They point out that labeling GM foods is more complex than simply whether to label. Policy decisions need to be made about whether labeling should be mandatory, what pieces of information should be on the label, who should be in charge of monitoring compliance, and even what foods should be labeled. The authors discuss the potential benefits of GM food labeling, and conclude that simply labeling foods as “genetically modified” would be of relatively little use since there would not be enough information for consumers to make informed decisions about what they buy.

Reinventing Rural Regions

Authors: Drabenstott, Mark

Maine Policy Review 13(2): 88-97

Rural areas across the United States have been undergoing a fundamental transformation away from their commodity and resource-based economies. This edited keynote speech addresses the question of what’s next for rural areas. Mark Drabenstott, vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and director of its Center for the Study of Rural America, presents the top 10 ways to reinvent rural regions. He emphasizes competitive niches, cluster development, local amenities, reinventing local governance and, most important, thinking regionally. His remarks were given at a fall 2004 conference sponsored by the University of Maine’s Department of Resource Economics and Policy.


Regulatory Updates: Maine Milk Commission

Authors:        Townsend, Ralph

Maine Policy Review 3(2): 94-95


Sustainable Agriculture and Public Policy

Authors:        Smith, Stewart

Maine Policy Review 2(1): 68-78

This article is an adaptation of Stewart Smith’s recent presentation on sustainable agriculture to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee of the Maine Legislature.

Maine’s “Other” Commissions: The Maine Milk Commission

Authors:        Townsend, Ralph E.

Maine Policy Review 2(1): 82-83

Maine Policy Review has taken a particular interest in the activities of Maine’s key regulatory agencies, such as the Public Utilities Commission and the Board of Environmental Protection. The state also has a number of regulatory agencies with jurisdictions over relatively narrow interests or industries. Because of their narrow mission, these agencies often do not attract regular media attention. Beginning in this issue with the Maine Milk Commission, MPR will highlight one of these “other” regulatory boards, providing readers with general and contextual information about these bodies.

Regulatory Updates: Maine Milk Commission

Maine Policy Review 2(2): 100-100

Maine Policy Review has taken a particular interest in the activities of Maine’s key regulatory agencies, such as the Public Utilities Commission and the Board of Environmental Protection. The state also has a number of regulatory agencies with jurisdictions over relatively narrow interests or industries. Because of their narrow mission, these agencies often do not attract regular media attention. In this issue, MPR continues its policy of highlighting these “other” regulatory boards, in this case the Maine Milk Commission, providing readers with general and contextual information about these bodies.