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selling local, small farm products in Sedgwick Maine just got easier

Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2676
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  72
From Tilth Producers of Washington which promotes ecologically sound, economically viable and socially equitable farming practices that improve the health of our communities and natural environment.

March 7, 2011

MAINE TOWN PASSES LANDMARK LOCAL FOOD ORDINANCE

Sedgwick becomes first town in Maine to adopt protections
 
SEDGWICK, MAINE - On Saturday, March 5, residents of a small coastal town in Maine voted unanimously to adopt the Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance, setting a precedent for other towns looking to preserve small-scale farming and food processing. Sedgwick, located on the Blue Hill Peninsula in Western Hancock County, became the first town in Maine, and perhaps the nation, to exempt direct farm sales from state and federal licensing and inspection. The ordinance also exempts foods made in the home kitchen, similar to the Michigan Cottage Food Law passed last year, but without caps on gross sales or restrictions on types of exempt foods.

Local farmer Bob St.Peter noted the importance of this ordinance for beginning farmers and cottage producers. "This ordinance creates favorable conditions for beginning farmers and cottage-scale food processors to try out new products, and to make the most of each season's bounty," said St.Peter. "My family is already working on some ideas we can do from home to help pay the bills and get our farm going."

Mia Strong, Sedgwick resident and local farm patron, was overwhelmed by the support of her town. "Tears of joy welled in my eyes as my town voted to adopt this ordinance," said Strong. "I am so proud of my community. They made a stand for local food and our fundamental rights as citizens to choose that food."

St.Peter, who serves on the board of the National Family Farm Coalition based in Washington, DC, sees this as a model ordinance for economic development in rural areas. "It's tough making a go of it in rural America," said St.Peter. "Rural working people have always had to do a little of this and a little of that to make ends meet. But up until the last couple generations, we didn't need a special license or new facility each time we wanted to sell something to our neighbors. Small farmers and producers have been getting squeezed out in the name of food safety, yet it's the industrial food that is causing food borne illness, not us."
 
"And every food dollar that leaves our community is one more dollar we don't have to pay for our rural schools or to provide decent care for our elders," adds St.Peter. "We need the money more than corporate agribusiness."
 
Three other towns in Western Hancock County will be voting on the ordinance at or ahead of their town meetings in the coming weeks. Penobscot, Brooksville, and Blue Hill all have the ordinance on their warrants.
 
Click here to view a copy of the Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance of 2011.

http://savingseeds.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/localfoodlocalrules-ordinance-template.pdf 


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John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6596
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
That is good news.  It sounds like a very strong community (unanimous vote!).  With each food dollar that stays within the community, they will get stronger every day, and that strength will trickle down to the non-food sectors as well.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3099
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
sounds pretty great.  I think I'll show that to my town council.


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bunkie weir


Joined: Nov 05, 2009
Posts: 109
Location: eastern washington
    
    1
i was just reading about this and think it is awesome! hopefully the saying "as Maine goes, so goes the nation", will come into fruition.
                                  


Joined: Sep 17, 2010
Posts: 40
I've been trying to spread this awesome news as far as I can.  I hope this law stands up to challenges and every city in America passes the same ordinance.
 
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subject: selling local, small farm products in Sedgwick Maine just got easier
 
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