Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Up and down votes for local food and self governance ordinances

Penobscot and Sedgwick, Maine have passed a rights-based Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance at their annual town meetings, although it was defeated in Brooksville.

The ordinance gives people the right to purchase food from a local family farm that has not been processed in a licensed and inspected facility. It also protects local farmers' markets and community events such as church suppers and school bake sales. It was necessitated by the recent attempts to enforce USDA standards created for large-scale agribusiness on small farms that have no way to pay for the new facilities they would need.

The Brooksville vote was a narrow defeat, but there are questions as to whether a bylaw review committee improperly recommended that the article be voted down. A fourth town, Blue Hill, will vote on the measure in April and a state legislator has proposed a similar bill that would cover all of Maine. You can read more at this previous post, including links to media coverage.

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