A New England Food Vision describes a future in which our regional food system supports healthy food for all, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities. Maine is a state rich in scenic beauty and natural resources with the potential to produce an abundant amount of food. Today, the number of farmers in the state is increasing, and market opportunities for farmers and fishermen are opening up with innovation throughout the food system and support from consumers that value and enjoy increasing access to a wide variety of fresh, healthy, locally and regionally produced foods.
A food system includes how food is produced, consumed, and disposed of in all its material and social dimensions. Food is produced on the land and in the ocean, processed into forms in which it is distributed to consumers at markets, stores, and restaurants, prepared, and eaten.
Waste at any stage can become a pollutant or can be recycled. Health in one part of the system can be linked to health in other parts.
In A New England Food Vision, a holistic food system is guided by four core values: everyone has access to adequate food, everyone enjoys a healthy diet, food is sustainably produced, and food helps build thriving communities.
Beyond Buying Local: Maine Food Strategy
Calls for Collaboration to Strengthen and Secure the State’s Food System
The Maine Food Strategy Framework
A Tool for Advancing Maine’s Food System
The Maine Food Strategy (MFS) offers a clear vision to create a sustainable, and more balanced food system through the Framework, a model to focus and coordinate individuals and groups working towards widespread food systems change. The Framework is based on input from stakeholders who identified priorities particularly important to the future of Maine’s food system. Pursued together, these activities enable economic development opportunities while also contributing to a healthy and resilient environment, enriching our communities and expanding access to healthy food to more people.
Producing food for the 14.5 million people who live in New England requires about 16 million acres—the region’s agricultural footprint. The green bars show reported acres of cropland and pasture in New England, while the yellow bars represent estimated acres outside the region. New England currently has half the acreage required to produce its vegetables and a quarter of the acreage for its fruits.
The data do not specify how New England’s pasture and forage are used, but the dairy herd accounts for most of New England’s livestock. These cows, which supply about half of New England’s dairy consumption, must account for about 85% of the farmland within the region. New England produces only a small fraction of its beef, pork, and poultry—beef alone accounts for almost half of the total acreage (mostly outside New England) that is required to feed the region today. New England produces just 2.5% of its grain, vegetable oil, sugar, beverage crops, and other food. All in all, measuring by acreage, New England farmland supplies a little more than10% of the food New Englanders eat.