The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is working to ensure that state-funded institutions spend at least 20 percent of their food budget on local food by 2025. Approximately 25 percent of Maine people rely on state-funded institutions, including healthcare facilities, colleges, universities, and correctional facilities for some, or all of their meals. Ensuring that institutions purchase Maine foods is important to ensuring that Maine people, regardless of their background or income level, are able to enjoy locally grown food.
There are many examples within Maine’s food supply chain that demonstrate effective farm-to-institution systems. Farms are growing specific types and quantities of produce specifically to meet institutional needs, processors are lightly processing vegetables so they are easy for cafeterias to use year-round, distributors are ensuring that more local food are being delivered to colleges and universities, and institutions are preparing delicious meals with local produce, meat, eggs, dairy, flour, and other Maine grown and produced ingredients.
So far this year, Mountain View Correctional Facility, in Charleston, has far exceeded the 20 percent goal and spent 44 percent of their food budget on local Maine food!
To learn more about Maine’s Local Foods Procurement Program, and how to help Maine’s state-funded institutions achieve farm-to-institution goals, reach out to Brittany Peats, Maine DACF Institutional Market Development Coordinator: email@example.com.